World Mi­gra­tory Bird Day on May 12 re­minds us to help pro­tect birds all year long

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - TED CHESKEY, NAT­U­RAL­IST DI­REC­TOR, NA­TURE CANADA

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 per­cent of the species and over 95 per­cent 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 2018 State of the World’s Birds Re­port pub­lished by Birdlife Internatio­nal con­firms 40 per­cent 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 onethird 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 over, 65 per­cent 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 is part­ner­ing with the En­vi­ron­ment for the Amer­i­cas to pro­mote and cel­e­brate World Mi­gra­tory Bird Day this Satur­day, May 12. There are dozens of lo­cal events across the coun­try put on by lo­cal na­ture groups.

This year’s World Mi­gra­tory Bird Day cel­e­bra­tion events can be found at bird­day.ca. This year’s theme of “Con­ser­va­tion” fo­cuses on the ac­tions you can take to help birds right in your back­yard, 365 days of the year.

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