The Canadian BirdLife International co-partners Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada are pleased to announce the release of the first-ever State of Canada’s Birds report. The report draws on 40 years of data to present an overview of how Canada’s birds are faring. It summarizes the status of Canada’s bird populations for eight regions, including the boreal forest, prairies, Arctic, and oceans.
The report shows that Canada’s bird populations have been dramatically influenced by human activity, and finds that there are fewer birds now than in the 1970s. Overall, more species are decreasing (44% of species in Canada) than increasing (33%). Some groups have severely declined, including grassland birds, migratory shorebirds, and aerial insectivores (birds that catch insects in flight).
Other species have increased as a result of successful conservation efforts. The ban on pesticides in the 1970s has helped raptors like the Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, and Bald Eagle recover. Effective management of wetlands has aided waterfowl (ducks and geese).
Birds are crucial indicators of ecosystem health. Changes in bird populations signal changes in the ecosystems we depend on for vital environmental services such as food, clean air, and water.
Bald Eagle © Bill Rudden, from the surfbirds galleries.
“This report is unprecedented. Its findings are both troubling and inspiring,” said Bird Studies Canada’s President George Finney. “Partnerships, increased investment, Citizen Scientists, and the volunteer programs offered by Bird Studies Canada and our partners have contributed immensely to our conservation goals for some species. We need to build on these existing efforts, as it is clear that many other species are in serious trouble. A world without birds is not an option.”
“The State of Canada’s Birds report is a measurable indicator of how well we are fulfilling our shared responsibility as stewards of our nation’s wildlife and wilderness areas,” said Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada. “Clearly there is much we can do to ensure we have healthy ecosystems for years to come, and this report provides a path to do so.”
The State of Canada’s Birds report is a collaborative effort of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative partners in Canada, whose members include Environment Canada, Bird Studies Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Nature Canada, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and Wildlife Habitat Canada.
The State of Canada’s Birds is available online at www.stateofcanadasbirds.org.