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By Stu Mackenzie, Director, Migration Ecology, Birds Canada

For more than 20 years, bird observatories across Canada have been banding birds and carrying out other meaningful research and monitoring activities as part of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network. The network is a collaboration of 29 independently operated observatories, Birds Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. Its goals are to: influence conservation by conducting and facilitating research on bird populations and migration ecology, make research results broadly accessible, and engage the public in bird science and conservation.

Member observatories undertake annual migration monitoring through daily visual bird counts and banding during seasonal migration periods. They also conduct and support research, train students and professionals, and educate the public. Most observatories participate in a Trend Monitoring Program. Trends calculated for Boreal-breeding birds are a uniquely valuable output of this program, since they account for species arriving at observatories from all parts of the breeding range, not just the more accessible parts of the Boreal that are covered by the Breeding Bird Survey or Breeding Bird Atlasses.

Birds Canada supports the Network in several ways, including data management and trend analysis, and financially through the Great Canadian Birdathon and James L. Baillie Memorial Fund. Birds Canada also operates two observatories: Long Point and Thunder Cape.

Million birds banded

Original research publications

The Canadian Migration Monitoring Network recently published a 20-year report celebrating its journey to the well-established program it is today. Collectively, network observatories have banded over 2.5 million birds and contributed data to more than 150 original research publications on migration alone since 1998. The next decade will bring further refinements in programs and products, and efforts to secure the long-term sustainability of the Network and its member observatories.

Birds Canada extends congratulations and thanks to all across Canada who have helped to make the Network a success. You are making an important difference for birds, and touching many people’s lives as well!

Please join us in celebrating 20 years of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network by reading the report at I also encourage you to visit, contribute to, or become part of the community at an observatory of interest to you (see map)!

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