Protecting Seabird Colonies
2016 – Introduced species are among the greatest threats to seabird populations worldwide. This year, Bird Studies Canada staff travelled to the Englefield Bay Important Bird and Biodiversity Area in Haida Gwaii to learn about the raccoon threat there. These small offshore islands support over 100,000 pairs of seabirds, which have declined since the 1940s when raccoons were introduced to start a fur trade.
Remote cameras baited with sardine cans were placed on five of the islands between May and September. The great news is that they did not show any signs of raccoons. However, this could be due to sporadic and temporary residency of raccoons on the islands. Spotlight surveys along the shore of the nearby and larger Moresby Island revealed numerous raccoons less than 100 m away. As Moresby is likely the source of animals, a cull is planned there in 2017 to promote recovery of important seabird populations.
This project was undertaken with the financial support of the
Government of Canada.
Training Future Leaders in Bird Research
2016 – On November 5-6,
Long Point Bird Observatory
North American Banding Council
bander and trainer certification session. Ten long-term volunteers and
associates of Bird Studies Canada were put through a rigorous evaluation process by six NABC
trainers. In the end, all candidates were certified (seven as banders and three as trainers).
Candidates were mostly Canadian (from Ontario, Québec, and British Columbia), but also included
trainees in our
Latin American Training Program
from Peru and Brazil.
Swan Surveyors Needed in Delta, BC
2016 – Bird Studies Canada is piloting a new winter swan count in the Fraser River
Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) to monitor swan numbers. The main goal of the study is
to assess habitat use by the birds, and relate this to the availability of suitable land. This IBA is
exceptionally valuable to wildlife, but faces increasing pressure on the land from development. A
secondary goal of the study is to raise the IBA’s public profile and highlight Delta’s importance for
Counts will happen once a month from November to March, and will consist of a coordinated
effort by a team of observers over the whole IBA, following the
eBird IBA Protocol.
interested in signing up to help with this survey, please email our BC Program Manager Dr. David
Restoring Long Point’s Marshes
2016 – Bird Studies Canada recently hosted the 10th anniversary reception of the
Long Point Causeway Improvement Project.
This partnership has been helping to restore the
health and function of Long Point’s marshes, and reducing wildlife mortality along the causeway
traversing them. Over $2.5 million from government and non-government resources in Canada and
the U.S. has funded the installation of wildlife fencing, two water culverts, and 12 wildlife transit
tunnels (eco-passages) over the past 10 years. Previously, the 3.5-km road was one of the deadliest
for reptiles and amphibians in North America, but studies show roadkill is down 80% since the
Bird Studies Canada’s long-standing advisor on the project, Jon McCracken, notes, “The
Causeway was built in 1927. If such a road – which spans some of the world’s most important
wetlands – was proposed today, it would be an elevated roadway. Our only choice now is to try to
mitigate impact and minimize roadkill losses. This project has been doing exactly that. We’ve also
been restoring important ecological wetland connections on both sides of the road, which are good
for birds and fishes too.” This is an excellent example of the many advisory roles our staff perform