Birds Canada, with you, our supporters, have been working hard to make inroads throughout 2022. We continue to keep an eye on the health of Canada’s bird populations, while also driving conservation action for our species and bird groups most at risk. Together with you, we are working locally, nationally, and globally for birds and our precious biodiversity. As a member organization of BirdLife International, we’ve been emphasizing to world leaders that their decisions at COP15 Biodiversity Summit in Montréal are critical to the health of our planet. And it’s not just at the summit that our work can be seen. Here are just a few of the amazing things you have helped accomplish in our six program areas. Let’s take a moment to reflect and pledge that together we’ll keep improving the future for bird conservation.
Snow Buntings Photo: Susan Nagy
Species of Highest Concern
The Chimney Swift Chimney Restoration Fund was launched in the spring and work has begun in several locations to ensure vital habitat for these aerial insectivores is not lost. Monitoring continued, providing vital data on species such as Common Loon, Dunlin, Long-billed Curlew, and more. Exciting new work is underway for Black Swifts too! We also launched a special Warblers podcast series called The Wake-up Call to provide a deep-dive into some of the most at-risk species: Marbled Murrelet, Bicknell’s Thrush, Leach’s Storm-Petrel, and Piping Plover, with more to come in 2023.
Assessing the State of Canada’s Birds
The State of the World’s Birds 2022 also noted the essential contributions of volunteers who participate in breeding bird atlases, the Christmas Bird Count (learn about the Christmas Bird Count from this podcast episode), submit checklists to eBird Canada, and provide support in other ways.
The Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas was launched in 2017 and this year, volunteers gathered in Saskatoon to celebrate the conclusion of their data gathering. The work of analyzing the data and publishing the atlas is now underway. The volunteers in Newfoundland and Ontario are preparing for their next season of atlassing. Grassland bird monitoring is providing new insights including the finding of a Common Poorwill in Manitoba. It’s exciting to note that more than 20 million observations are added to the Birds Canada NatureCounts platform annually!
Celebrating Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas volunteers at a special event in Saskatoon Photo: Joshua Budhanlall
Important Places for Birds
After decades of surveys, species assessments, and data collection, leading conservation science groups launched Canada’s Key Biodiversity Areas Program. Birds Canada is proud to be a member of the Secretariat leading this program to identify hundreds of sites in Canada with exceptional value for biodiversity. You will find the latest on KBACanada.org.
We’re also involved in developing tools that help conservation efforts such as the Bird-Friendliness Index, being used for grassland conservation work. For home owners, birdgardens.ca has become an essential resource for creating bird habitat where we live. Working with land owners to help them help birds is having positive results such as Ontario Woodlot Owners, who log bird sightings, and ranchers who are keeping grazing lands, essential for grassland birds, rather than converting them to croplands.
Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO)
The Long Point Peninsula and Marshes has been designated as a KBA. The area hosts 43 species that “trigger” a KBA designation, 36 of which are birds. Thanks to our supporters, Birds Canada has been a steward of this area for over 60 years.
It was a big year for LPBO. Countless research projects with partners such as Western, Guelph, McGill, and Acadia universities are hosted by Birds Canada at LPBO. With COVID restrictions easing and much needed renovations completed, it was a great time for the podcast crew to visit and capture some of what happens at a banding station. It was also exciting to see the return of the Young Ornithologists’ Workshop after a two-year COVID-induced hiatus.
Participants in the 2022 Young Ornithologists’ Workshop at Long Point Bird Observatory Photo: LPBO
Migration Science and International Collaboration
The collaborative Motus Wildlife Tracking System operated by Birds Canada has established a strategy so that by 2030, Motus will comprise a network across 30 countries of 2500 strategically placed infrastructure arrays, supported and maintained by 20 regional coordination centres and 100 local champions. The science will contribute to identifying previously unrecognized mechanisms of population change for 20 species, and will inform conservation actions taken by 25 conservation agencies and coalitions.
2022 also saw the launch of Bird Migration Explorer, the result of Birds Canada and nine partner organizations working together. This platform consolidates migration data for 458 bird species found in Canada and the U.S. It is an important new tool for conservation and Birds Canada is proud to have contributed expertise and big data from Motus and other projects using other tracking technology. The Explorer is free for anyone to use. What fun to explore where birds in your neighbourhood go throughout the year! More importantly, you can discover the challenges birds face, efforts to conserve them, and steps anyone can take to help.
Mobilizing People in Canada
More than 74,000 people volunteer for Birds Canada programs across the country. Thank you, all! In addition to bird surveys, counts, and monitoring programs, you supported efforts like The Warblers podcast, which was recognized with a Nature Inspiration Award by the Canadian Museum of Nature. Support of the Toronto and Vancouver Bird Celebrations is helping to introduce more people to the benefits of looking up and appreciating urban birds. You also responded to advocacy efforts for the Fraser Estuary, Ontario’s Bill 23, West Mabou Beach, and Migratory Birds Regulations. Your support of the Great Canadian Birdathon helped raise funds for bird research and conservation projects. Hundreds of volunteers have increased our understanding of Common Loons so we can find ways to improve their survival rates. You’ve taken actions at home to help birds like participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and using the tips in our Guide to Helping Birds.
Your support has made this work achieved to date possible, and provides our team with inspiration for continuing forward into 2023. Let’s stay focused on ensuring there are bird-filled years ahead. Together, we are Canada’s voice for birds.