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 (http://bit.ly/2JZXGV3) 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.