With some exceptions, Canadian bird populations in decline, says report
According to a report released in late June, there are now fewer birds in Canada than there were the 1970s. On average, Canadian bird populations have declined by 12 per cent.
Based on data going back 40 years, The State of Canada’ s Birds has found that while some species are doing well, more species in Canada are decreasing (44 per cent) than increasing (33 per cent).
Some groups have severely declined, including grassland birds, migratory shorebirds and aerial insectivores (birds that catch insects in flight). These groups have all decreased by more than 40 per cent, on average, and some individual species in these groups have decreased by more than 90 per cent.
However, 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. And effective management of wetlands and hunting has aided waterfowl (ducks and geese).
Primary blame for the decline goes to habitat loss, resulting from clearing forests, converting grassland to farms, over-harvesting and general urban and industrial development. Climate change is also a factor.
“This report illustrates that direct conservation efforts can have a positive impact,” says Dave Howerter, national manager for Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research. “Nevertheless, many threats to wetlands and upland habitats remain, so it is important that focus on these important habitats is maintained to ensure waterfowl populations continue to thrive and populations of other bird groups can be conserved.”
The State of Canada’s Birds report is a collaborative effort of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative in Canada (NABCI-Canada), whose members include federal, territorial and provincial governments, conservation non-government organizations (NGOs), and private sector organizations.
Click here to read the report online.
This article was originally published on Juse 29, 2012