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Bird Studies Canada Newsletter March. 2016

Notre infolettre en français : Dernières nouvelles

This Week's

International News

Great Backyard
Bird Count

Cuban Shorebird

Rusty Blackbird

IBAs in Danger

National News

Great Canadian

Status of Birds
in Canada Website

Cats and Birds

Regional News

Go Wild, Grow Wild



Bird Studies

Main Page


11 March 2016 
Download a Printable PDF Version 



2016 Great Backyard Bird Count Results
Photo: Gary Meuller

11 March 2016 – An amazing 5589 species were reported in the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count – topping 50% of the world’s bird species for the first time! Over 150,000 checklists were submitted and 149 countries participated. Despite the frigid weather, Canadians contributed an astounding 13,447 checklists. Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Québec exceeded their previous checklist records. The Canadian species total was 245. Thank you to everyone who helped create this historic snapshot of bird populations around the world!
   Check out the “Explore a Region” tool to see the number of checklists and species reported in your province or county, or to view maps of species distribution. Or view fantastic images from the count on the photo contest page.
   The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada, and is supported in Canada by Armstrong Bird Food and Wild Birds Unlimited.

Cuban Shorebird Surveys

2 March 2016 – We’re pleased to share exciting news for shorebirds that breed in North America and over-winter in warmer climes. In January and February, 2016, 104 Piping Plovers were counted on Cuban shorelines, up from 89 in 2006. This species is threatened or endangered throughout most of its Canadian and U.S. range.
   Across Cuba, more than 52 localities were censused, and Piping Plovers were found at 12 sites. Other shorebirds of conservation concern recorded include 60 Red Knots, 193 Wilson’s Plovers, and 26 Snowy Plovers.
   The surveys were undertaken by a team from the University of Havana and Environment Canada, led by Dr. Ariam Jiménez (University of Havana), and funded by Environment Canada through a grant to Bird Studies Canada to meet local expenses in Cuba.
   In recent years, the Bahamas have been surveyed for Piping Plovers, with considerable success. Now a second area of huge significance has also been surveyed. Over three decades, Bird Studies Canada has sponsored a variety of bird projects in Cuba and other Latin American countries.

Be Part of the Rusty Blackbird Blitz

1 March 2016 – Have you heard a squeaky-hinge song lately, or seen a flash of rust-tipped feathers under a bright yellow eye? Although occasionally overlooked as ‘just another blackbird,’ Rusty Blackbirds face an unfortunate and remarkable notoriety: this species has endured a decline more severe than that of any other once-common landbird.
   March 1, 2016 marks the beginning of the final year of the Rusty Blackbird Working Group’s three-year Spring Migration Blitz, and you can help ensure a strong finish. It’s easy! Bird as you normally do during the Blitz window (March 1 to June 15) and submit your sightings to eBird using the “Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz” observation type. To learn when Rusties might be passing through your area, see the target dates page. You can also revisit Areas of Interest and help assess the consistency of Rusty Blackbird habitat use and migratory timing.

IBAs in Danger
Western Sandpipers Photo: Catherine Jardine

16 February 2016 – There are 12,000 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) worldwide, and nearly 600 in Canada. BirdLife International has recently released an updated list of 422 sites that are considered “IBAs in Danger.” These critically endangered sites are of international significance for the conservation of the world’s birds and other nature, but face pressing threats of damage or destruction.
   You can explore all the IBAs in Danger, including four in Canada, using BirdLife’s new interactive Story Map
   In Canada, we’re working hard to ensure that our IBAs continue to support the birds we all cherish. To learn more, watch a short video on Canada’s IBA Program or visit our website for ways you can get involved.

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Join the Great Canadian Birdathon!

11 March 2016 – Bird Studies Canada recently invited Great Canadian Birdathon participants and our Facebook friends to help us choose the 2016 Birdathon t-shirt design. The winning design by PRBY Apparel is shown above.
   Register now for the Great Canadian Birdathon and receive your t-shirt! The funds you raise will support bird conservation across Canada. Participating is easy: simply register, ask your friends and family to support your effort, choose any day in May, and go birding.
   Participants have a chance to win some really great prizes! Bird Studies Canada gratefully acknowledges our wonderful Great Canadian Birdathon sponsors: Armstrong Bird Food, Eagle-Eye Tours, Eagle Optics Canada, Celestron, and Vortex Canada

Updated Status of Birds in Canada Website

1 March 2016 – Environment Canada has recently released a new version of its Status of Birds in Canada website. The website now includes accounts on the status, distribution, and conservation needs of each of the roughly 450 bird species that breed in or regularly visit Canada. The revised assessments are based on the best information available up to 2014 from a wide variety of bird monitoring programs. We are extremely grateful to all of the dedicated birders, both volunteer and professional, who have participated in bird survey programs such as the Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Counts that help us assess species to benefit their conservation.

Taking Care of Cats and Birds

29 February 2016 – When pet cats roam freely outdoors, they are exposed to a variety of threats, and they also make up Canada’s most significant human-linked cause of death for birds. The evidence shows that keeping cats from roaming free is best for native wildlife, and for the health of pets.
   Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives encourages Canadians to take a pledge in support of cat and bird safety. The initiative is the first step in a larger awareness campaign that will include the Angel Catbird series of graphic novels by Margaret Atwood, to be released starting later this year.
   To learn more about the campaign, and to pledge your support, please visit
   This new national awareness campaign is being led by Nature Canada, with support from a coalition of partners concerned about the well-being of cats and birds, including Bird Studies Canada.

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Go Wild, Grow Wild Expo

7 March 2016 – The upcoming Go Wild, Grow Wild expo in London, Ontario invites adventurers, gardeners, nature lovers, and families to discover and celebrate the unique nature in southern Ontario’s Carolinian Zone.
   Stop by Bird Studies Canada’s booth to learn about local birds and ways you can participate in our programs. Or join our nestbox building workshops to learn how you can help monitor birds through Project NestWatch! The event takes place at the Western Fair Agriplex on Saturday, April 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Prairie Conservation

29 February 2016 – The 11th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference was held in Saskatoon, SK from February 16-18. The conference is held every three years, and rotates between the three Prairie provinces.
   Bird Studies Canada’s Dr. Christian Artuso (Manitoba Projects Manager) presented on the results of the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas in relation to at-risk grassland bird species. Dr. Kiel Drake, our Senior Waterbird Scientist (Prairie & Northern), gave a poster presentation on the upcoming Saskatchewan breeding bird atlas.
   The event was a great success and drew participants from a wide variety of disciplines, providing a rare opportunity for producers and conservationists to discuss their common interests.

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Bird Studies Canada is Canada’s leading national organization dedicated to bird science and conservation.
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