Friday, December 7, 2012
Good news in the boreal forest! Boreal leaders are learning from conservation successes in Australia, bird science is on the move, and the Canadian government has released a habitat restoration plan. Celebrate with a plush Common Loon as a boreal-themed stocking stuffer!
Boreal Leaders Get Advice from Down Under
This fall, a group of Australian Indigenous Rangers toured through Canada to speak with federal, First Nations, and provincial leaders. Their goal was to share information about Australia's Indigenous Rangers program, in which the government partners with members of native communities to manage their traditional territories. In doing so, important areas are preserved while native communities are revitalized. This successful approach to indigenous land stewardship is a true inspiration. We hope it can be a model for First Nations and the federal government to work together in support of Canada's boreal forest and the aboriginal communities that have valued the land for millennia.
Find out more from our partners at the Pew Environment Group >
Read The Globe and Mail article about the tour >
Read the Winnipeg Free Press article about the tour >
Enjoy dispatches from Pew Australia tour member Patrick O'Leary >
Increasing Our Knowledge About Birds
Though fascinating mysteries still surround many avian lifestyles, we flightless humans are learning more about birds all the time. Emerging technologies and citizen science are often at the fore of new discoveries. We thought you'd enjoy some bird-learning yourself:
BSI Senior Scientist Jeff Wells blogs at National Geographic about satellite tracking that offers insight into previously unknown Whimbrel migrations >
Rural birders band together to compile astonishing amounts of data for the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas >
Birders' reporting networks tip off scientists about Evening Grosbeak irruptions that indicate Eastern Spruce Budworm outbreaks >
When is a seagull not a seagull? Dr. Jeff Wells explains how marine-friendly birds also rely on land in Canada's boreal forest >
Invite a Common Loon Home for the Holidays
Who isn't entranced by the Common Loon? The naturalist John Muir, who knew the Common Loon during his early years in Wisconsin, described its call as "one of the wildest and most striking of all the wilderness sounds, a strange, sad, mournful, unearthly cry, half laughing, half wailing." Expert divers, loons have eyes that can focus both in air and under water and nearly solid bones that make them heavier than many birds; they can dive as far as 200 feet (60 meters) below the surface. Adopt this plush loon - which makes its famous cry when squeezed! - for your loved ones this holiday. It's the perfect stocking stuffer for the birders in your life. Proceeds benefit the Boreal Songbird Initiative and our efforts to protect Canada's boreal forest on behalf of billions of birds.
Order by December 14 and your bird will arrive by December 25, in both Canada and the U.S. >
Govt. Plan Includes 2/3 Mandate for Habitat
Out of our concern for the billions of birds that rely on Canada's boreal forest, we keep a close eye on woodland caribou. This iconic species is an indicator of intact forest, because of its need for large tracts of undisturbed habitat. Where caribou are thriving, there is healthy habitat to support our birds. But where caribou are in trouble, so are birds. (One could say that caribou are the canaries in the coal mine.) So we were pleased in October when Canada's federal government released a plan to protect woodland caribou, and it included a key figure we've been advocating: that caribou habitat must be at least 2/3 intact - which means both conservation and restoration efforts are needed. However, many officials still view killing wolves as a better strategy for protecting sensitive herds, despite science indicating otherwise. We will continue to watch the government's plan unfold, and to advocate for the health of the forest, the caribou, and of course the birds.
TAKE ACTION: Tell the Canadian govt. to stop killing wolves >
Read the Winnipeg Free Press article about the govt. plan >
Read a policy brief on caribou from our partners at the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel [PDF] >
More about the Science Panel >