Nature Canada

Conserva Aves Finally Takes Flight

The Canadian Government announces a landmark investment in international bird conservation through a $15M grant to Birds Canada for work in Latin America.

In front of a friendly audience at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Minister of International Affairs, the honorable Ahmed Hussen, chose May 22, International Biodiversity Day, to announce a whopping $15M of funding over three years for international bird conservation from Canada. Birds Canada, our Canadian partner organization in BirdLife International, is the deserved recipient of the funding, though most of it will go to protecting habitat in Latin America. This amazing announcement puts Canada front and centre as a major player in protecting bird populations in the Americas.

Billions of birds move across the continents each spring and fall. Canada is a nursery to billions of birds of all types — songbirds, shorebirds, waterfowl, seabirds, raptors, etc. — most of whom migrate beyond our borders each fall. The vast majority stay in the Americas for their non-breeding seasons. Birds elsewhere in the Americas face the same familiar threats to birds in Canada: habitat loss, pesticide poisoning, predation from cats, window collisions, light pollution, plastic pollution, disturbance by human activities, and so on. Protecting key habitats in Latin America and the Caribbean from these threats is critical to protecting populations of our shared species of birds and those that are resident in the countries to the south. The funding will result in the creation of 100 new protected areas in Latin America and the Caribbean protecting at least two million hectares.

Conserva Aves is a partnership of organizations determined to protect bird populations in Latin America and the Caribbean including the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds (REDLAC), BirdLife Americas, National Audubon, the American Bird Conservancy and now Birds Canada. Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Central America are currently the focus of this work which will include significant engagement of, and support for, local communities including Indigenous communities and women-led initiatives.

This support from Canada is a game changer for biodiversity in this incredibly important part of the world. One of the three species of birds that has “Canada” as part of its official name, the Canada Warbler, spends most of the year in the mid-slopes of the Andes mountains in Colombia, and adjacent countries. Interestingly, many Colombians are more familiar with this discreet forest species (threatened in Canada) than Canadians are, and have a strong argument to call it the “Colombian Warbler.” But that species underlines the overwhelming need to work internationally to protect and restore bird populations in Canada. Conserva Aves is a great step in that direction and we applaud the Government of Canada and Birds Canada for this announcement and the work that will come.  Nature Canada is proud to be a partner of Birds Canada in this initiative. More to come about that part of the story.

Ted Cheskey, Naturalist Director at Nature Canada and Patrick Nadeau, President & CEO of Birds Canada

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