Notre infolettre en français : Dernières nouvelles

This Week's

International News

BirdWatch Canada

National News

Bird Year Pledge


Regional News

Québec Breeding
Bird Atlas

Leach’s Storm-
Petrel Study

BC Volunteers

Piping Plovers
in Manitoba


Bird Studies

Main Page




19 August 2016 
Download a Printable PDF Version  



Bird Research and Conservation News in BirdWatch Canada

19 August 2016 – The Summer 2016 edition of BirdWatch Canada (No. 76) includes reports on the Christmas Bird Count in Canada, the Great Backyard Bird Count, the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, and more. Visit our website to view the table of contents, and to read our special feature on the 2016 State of North America’s Birds report.
   Published by Bird Studies Canada, BirdWatch Canada reports the latest results from our programs, and includes topical feature articles about the world of birds. By donating $35 or more annually, members and supporters provide valuable funding for bird research and conservation, and receive a subscription to our magazine, free participation in any of our Citizen Science programs, and a charitable tax receipt for the full amount of the contribution. Please donate today! Make an online membership donation or call us toll-free at 1-888-448-2473.

 Return to Top of Page



Take Birds Under Your Wing!

16 August 2016 – Canada and the United States are celebrating the 100th anniversary of our migratory bird treaty – one of the world’s most successful examples of international cooperation for conservation.
   A new awareness campaign from Environment and Climate Change Canada invites Canadians to find meaningful ways to protect birds, and have fun doing it! Sign the Bird Year Pledge and take action for bird conservation. There are many ways to ‘take birds under your wing.’ Bird-friendly choices you can make at home include making your yard a haven for birds, avoiding the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, making your windows bird safe, keeping cats from roaming freely outdoors, and making ‘greener’ consumer choices. Consider trying The Messenger Blend coffee – it’s shade-grown, organic, and certified bird-friendly, and Birds and Beans donates 10% from each bag sold to Bird Studies Canada for conservation!
   Volunteering for one of our Citizen Science programs is an excellent way to make your bird observations count. Please consider joining our efforts. If you already volunteer or donate, or both, thank you very much!

Young Ornithologists of 2016

Photo: Jody Allair

16 August 2016 – Six young field biologists joined Bird Studies Canada and Long Point Bird Observatory for our 2016 Doug Tarry Young Ornithologists’ Workshop. This year’s participants were: Hayden Bibly (London, ON), Cole Gaerber (Vancouver, BC), Tessa Gayer (Toronto, ON), Robin Moore (Edmonton, AB), Peter Simons (Barrie, ON), and Hannah Stockford (Stayner, ON). These young naturalists enjoyed a week of skill-building and training through ornithological, scientific, and natural history excursions, presentations, and activities. The week’s birding highlights included a Yellow-throated Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Short-billed Dowitcher, and a Big Day total of 96 species! Other special sightings included the elusive Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, rare Comet Darner dragonfly, and endangered Fowler’s Toad.
   The program had its start in the 1970s. Thanks to the generosity and foresight of the late Doug Tarry, it has operated continuously since 1994 as the Doug Tarry Young Ornithologists’ Workshop. To date, more than 150 teenagers from across Canada have taken part. Many thanks to all the staff and friends who helped deliver the successful 2016 workshop.

 Return to Top of Page



Collaborative Project in Ungava

American Golden-Plover Photo: Ron Ridout

18 August 2016 – In June, four ornithologists from the Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment and Climate Change Canada) travelled to northern Québec and Nunavut to collect data for Arctic PRISM (a research program focused on Arctic-nesting shorebirds), and for the Québec Breeding Bird Atlas. The team started off in the heart of the Ungava Peninsula, then worked from the Inuit villages of Puvirnituq, Akulivik, and Ivujivik, before continuing to Mansel Island (Nunavut).
   Notable finds included the first confirmed breeding of American Golden-Plover and Red Phalarope for Québec. Other species of interest that exhibited breeding evidence included the White-fronted Goose, King Eider, Harlequin Duck, Pacific Loon, Golden Eagle, White-rumped Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Red-necked Phalarope, Parasitic Jaeger, Long-tailed Jaeger, Iceland Gull, Snowy Owl, Northern Wheatear, and Hoary Redpoll. Finally, breeding evidence allowed the nesting range of several species to be extended northward, including that of the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Blackpoll Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, and Fox Sparrow.

Monitoring Survival of Leach’s Storm-Petrels

Photo: Laura McFarlane Tranquilla

15 August 2016 – The Leach’s Storm-Petrel is a dusky-coloured seabird of elfin proportions. The species is globally abundant, but breeding populations appear to be declining, including at the world’s largest colony on Baccalieu Island, Newfoundland (previously >3 million pairs). Reasons for its decline are unclear, but may include predation at breeding colonies, contaminants such as mercury, fatal attraction to night lights and bright flares from offshore oil and gas operations, and climate-driven changes in diet.
   For the fourth consecutive year, Bird Studies Canada’s Atlantic Program Manager Dr. Laura McFarlane Tranquilla has assisted Dr. April Hedd (Environment and Climate Change Canada) in a week-long marathon of petrel burrow-grubbing in the thick fern-and-fir undergrowth of Baccalieu. Hedd’s study is designed to monitor storm-petrel survival and try to understand region-wide population declines for this species. The study also uses miniature tracking devices to assess encounters of risks at sea, both within colony foraging ranges, and on year-round migration routes. The results will help guide seabird conservation in Atlantic Canada.

BC Volunteers Wanted

15 August 2016 – The 18th season of the British Columbia Coastal Waterbird Survey begins on September 11. We are seeking volunteers for several sites in Vancouver, Tofino, and Ucluelet. This long-term monitoring program helps identify population and distribution changes in overwintering waterbirds. Volunteers conduct counts of ducks, loons, grebes, gulls, and other waterbirds on the second Sunday of each month throughout the winter. We welcome all our new and returning volunteers, and hope you enjoy the surveys!
   Bird Studies Canada is also seeking Citizen Scientists to assist with the B.C. Beached Bird Survey. Volunteers walk along local beaches and look for bird carcasses. It may sound grim, but observations from this monitoring program provide crucial baseline information on causes and rates of seabird mortality. The results are a good indication of marine ecosystem health, and can help scientists detect changes in ocean conditions. Surveys are conducted anytime during the last week of each month, and all survey equipment will be provided.
   To learn more about or volunteer for either of these projects, please contact Karen Devitt at or 1-877-349-2473.

Piping Plovers Fledge in Manitoba

15 August 2016 – In addition to this season’s remarkable success stories from the Great Lakes region, we’re happy to share good news from Manitoba, where a pair of Piping Plovers has fledged three chicks. It was the species’ first nesting attempt in the province since 2012, and the first successful nesting since 2010.
   Volunteers Wally Jansen and Jake Peters sent a report to Bird Studies Canada’s Manitoba Program Manager Dr. Christian Artuso, who followed up and located the nest. As is often the case for Piping Plover nests, this nest was in a precarious position. The late date of hatching, and the fact there were only three eggs, suggested they might have been re-nesting following a failed nesting attempt earlier in the season. Bird Studies Canada therefore acted quickly, teaming up with the Manitoba government to monitor progress and prevent disturbance.
   This pair beat the odds and became Manitoba’s first successful nesting pair in six years, a small but significant step in the fight to stave off local extirpation. We thank the dedicated team of Bird Studies Canada and Manitoba government staff, and volunteers from the former Manitoba Piping Plover Guardian Program, for their efforts.

  Return to Top of Page


Please visit our website if you wish to change your subscription preferences or unsubscribe.

If you receive duplicates of this email, or if you do not wish to receive it, contact
For questions about the news items or for media inquiries, please email

Bird Studies Canada is Canada’s leading national organization dedicated to bird science and conservation.
Charitable registration number 11902-4313-RR0001.