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Join the Great Backyard Bird Count!
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Join the Great Backyard Bird Count!

[caption id="attachment_21694" align="alignleft" width="150"]Ted Cheskey Senior Conservation Manager – Bird Conservation, Education & Networks Ted Cheskey
Senior Conservation Manager – Bird Conservation, Education & Networks[/caption] In 2015, nearly 150,000 individual checklists were submitted that documented over 18 million birds observed during the 4 day long Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). This citizen science initiative is a great way to watch birds at your feeders, keep track of what you see, and contribute to our knowledge on the distribution and abundance of birds. In 2016, the GBBC runs from February 12 through 15.  Participating is fun, simple and easy so get the whole family involved! Image of birds at a feederHere’s how it works: All you need to do is count the number of individuals of each species you see during a single counting session, and submit a checklist for each counting session. A counting session can take 5 minutes or 30 minutes, however much time you wish to observe.  You can do multiple counting sessions over a day or over all four days. From each session, you record the maximum number that you observe at any one time for each species. You can count in more than one location—but you submit a separate checklist for each location each time you count. The birds you count don’t need to be just at your feeder, but can be flying over, or anywhere that you can observed them from your observation point. Organizers of this event are predicting a large number of unusual observations, with the El Niño weather phenomenon warming Pacific waters to temperatures matching the highest ever recorded. Information gathered and reported online at birdcount.org will help track changes in bird distribution, some of which may be traced to El Niño storms and unusual weather patterns. Image of birds eating out of a handThough rarities and out-of-range species are exciting, it’s important to keep track of more common birds too. Many species around the world are in steep decline and tracking changes in distribution and numbers over time is vital to determine if conservation measures are needed. Everyone can play a role. Learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count at birdcount.org. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.   Email Signup

Climate change pushing birds to extinction: report
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Climate change pushing birds to extinction: report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 9, 2014 (OTTAWA, ON) — Climate change seriously threatens bird species across Canada and the United States according to a new groundbreaking report released today by Nature Canada’s partner organization, the Audubon Society.  The report concludes that half of all birds studied could see their populations drop dramatically on account of climate change. According to the report, habitat disruption brought on by climate change is one of the main factors pushing bird populations into areas to which they are not adapted. The report finds that climate change is happening so fast that many species simply cannot keep up. It concludes that this is likely to lead to the decline of bird populations across North America and, in some cases, outright extinction. “Canada needs to prepare itself for an influx of climate refugee species displaced by warmer temperatures, habitat loss, drought or extreme weather,” said Stephen Hazell, Nature Canada’s Interim Executive Director. “Iconic species like the Chestnut-collared Longspur and the Ivory Gull need our support right now to ensure that they have the habitat they need to survive next year but also in coming years due to worsening climate change.” Audubon’s report echoes the findings of the State of Canada’s Birds report, produced in partnership with Nature Canada, showing that many bird species are declining dramatically in Canada. For 75 years, Nature Canada has worked to protect habitat for species at risk in Canada and internationally. “All the evidence suggests that habitat loss due to climate change is going to hit hard,” said Ted Cheskey, Senior Bird Conservation Manager at Nature Canada. “To help mitigate the impact of climate change, Nature Canada and our provincial affiliates are working with local field naturalist groups and First Nations communities to steward and conserve the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Canada identified as globally significant.”

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[one_third][separator headline="h2" title="Media Contacts:"] Paul Jorgenson Senior Communications Manager 613-562-3447 ext 248 pjorgenson@naturecanada.ca Monica Tanaka Communications Coordinator 613-562-3447 ext 241 mtanaka@naturecanada.ca [/one_third] [one_third][separator headline="h2" title="About Nature Canada:"] Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, we’ve helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and the countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, we represent a network of over 45,000 members & supporters and more than 350 nature organizations in every province across Canada. Nature Canada is a Canadian co-partner in BirdLife International, a global partnership of conservation organizations that conserve birds, habitat and global biodiversity. The Audubon Society is the American partner in BirdLife International. Read the full report here. [/one_third] [one_third_last][separator headline="h2" title="Multimedia resources:"]
[caption id="attachment_16133" align="aligncenter" width="125"]image of Ivory Gull Click for full-size image of Ivory Gull for media use[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16134" align="aligncenter" width="125"]image of Chestnut-collared Longspur Click for full-size image of Chestnut-collared Longspur for media use[/caption]
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Canadian and American IBA Programs Have Much in Common – An Interview with John Cecil, National Audubon
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Canadian and American IBA Programs Have Much in Common – An Interview with John Cecil, National Audubon

As a follow-up to Mara Kerry's post on the National Important Bird Areas meeting in Port Rowan last week, Ted Cheskey, manager of bird conservation, shares his thoughts on the meeting and speaks with John Cecil of National Audubon about the Canadian and American IBA Programs. IBA Canada partners have been working hard to engage volunteers – called IBA Caretakers – to care for and be the "eyes, ears and feet on the ground" for Canada's IBAs. These volunteers were a focus of the National IBA meeting in Port Rowan last week. Between presentations on monitoring protocols for IBA Caretakers, and animated discussions on habitat definitions, John Cecil, Manager of the Important Bird Area Program with National Audubon sat down with me to discuss his impressions of the Canadian program and the potential of collaborating more closely on bird conservation. John was a very welcomed full participant in the two-day workshop, held at the spectacular Bird Studies Canada headquarters in Port Rowan, Ontario. He provided us with a good overview of the IBA program history in the USA. We compared notes on challenges and opportunties, and came away feeling motivated to share more – we have much in common with our American IBA colleagues. We had scheduled the workshop for late April, to avoid the "field season", for many of the participants from across Canada, but still take advantage of migration in this internationally famous World Biosphere Reserve and Globally significant IBA. I really wanted to interview John outside, but Mother Nature had the last word, throwing high winds and rain at us for most of the workshop, allowing us to happily toil inside without regrets. For the interview, we were able to find a quiet spot in the excellent BSC library to chat for a few minutes. There were some brief moments during the workshop when the weather was more accommodating. We went on a brief trip on the trail to a lookout over Long Point Bay, and saw thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of ducks, Ruddys, Scaup, Redheads, Canvasback, Buffleheads, Mergansers, Coots, and many more species, all milling about in the bay. The build up in late April was a sign that things were still frozen much further north, where most of these birds breed. Somehow they know this. . . . Moments like these - being fascinated and inspired by the birds and habitats like Long Point, or sharing and learning from colleagues - are what motivate us to protect our IBAs, and the birds that depend upon them and the surrounding landscapes and habitats.
Workshop attendees, including Ted Cheskey (front row, second from left), Ian Davidson, Nature Canada's executive director (front row, third from left), and Mara Kerry, Nature Canada's director of conservation (back row, 8th from left)

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