Snowy owls — a Quebec symbol — are now threatened with extinction. Photo: Nature Canada.

Snowy owls — a Quebec symbol — are now threatened with extinction. Photo: Nature Canada.

Letters to the Editor: Our feathered friends

World Migratory Bird Day reminds us to help protect birds all year long

Dear Editor,

There is nothing that says “spring” more than the song of birds: starting an hour before sunrise, waking you from your sleep, and getting you into an argument with your partner about whether bird song is a good thing or not.

Well, in case you had any doubts, we at Nature Canada are on the side of the birds (and those who love them).

Bird migration is part of the Canadian fabric. Every fall, nearly 80 per cent of the species and over 95 per cent of the individual birds leave our borders to fly south where there is adequate food and shelter to sustain them. The survivors return in the spring, when nature withdraws her cloak of snow and ice, and food becomes abundant enough for the birds to raise a brood or two. It’s an amazing, mystical phenomenon that we still don’t fully understand. It deserves celebration!

Sadly, the spring chorus is not like it used to be, as more and more of our bird species are pushed to the brink by human actions.

A recent “State of the World’s Birds” report published by Birdlife International ( confirms that 40 per cent of the world’s 11,000 bird species are in decline, and one in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction.

Two Canadian provincial emblems—the Snowy Owl (Quebec) and the Atlantic Puffin (Newfoundland-Labrador)—are now globally threatened with extinction. More than one-third of North America’s native bird species need urgent conservation action. Among them are the musical Wood Thrush, Bobolink, and the Canada Warbler.

Can you imagine these birds disappearing forever?

In Canada, more than 65 per cent of designated Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas lack legal protection, leaving these areas and birds vulnerable to industrial development, intensive agriculture, and urban sprawl.

These factors, combined with generic threats in wintering grounds and along migration routes like domestic cats and windows, are just a few of the reasons why Nature Canada partnered with the Environment for the Americas to promote and celebrate World Migratory Bird Day on May 12. There were dozens of local events across the country put on by local nature groups.

This year’s World Migratory Bird Day theme of “Conservation” focused on the actions you can take to help birds right in your backyard, 365 days of the year.

Ted Cheskey

Naturalist Director

Nature Canada

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Environment Canada is forecasting up to 20 centimetres of snow on the Coquihalla Highway Friday, April 9, 2021. (File photo)
Snowfall warning in effect for Coquihalla Highway

Environment Canada is forecasting up to 20 cm of snow to fall on the Coquihalla Friday

The Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols put in place by the Provincial Health Officer on Nov. 19. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Interior Health doesn’t echo B.C.’s daily COVID record

80 new cases reported Thursday, April 8, compared to 91 the day prior

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

A death at Cottonwoods Care Centre in Kelowna was reported in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak April 7. (Google Maps)
Death at Kelowna care home among Interior Health COVID numbers

91 new cases, outbreak over in one unit at Kelowna General Hospital

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read