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6 May 2016 
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Panama Welcomes the Motus Wildlife Tracking System

Photo: Karl Kaufmann

6 May 2016 – Last week, BirdLife International partner organizations from throughout the Americas converged in Panama for biennial meetings on bird conservation in the Western Hemisphere. Our president Steven Price represented Bird Studies Canada, participating in important sessions on key conservation priorities of the Americas Partnership and co-presenting a workshop on the Migratory Birds and Flyways Program.
   He also signed a memorandum of understanding confirming a unique international partnership between the Panama Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada to monitor migratory bird movements through Panama using the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. In early April, Bird Studies Canada, SELVA, and the Panama Audubon Society installed four Motus receiving stations along the Canal Zone. The first birds detected by the newly-deployed receiving stations were four Swainson’s Thrushes.
   The thrushes were radio-tagged in Colombia in the winter by Ph.D. student Ana Gonzalez as part of a collaborative research project of the University of Saskatchewan, Environment Canada, SELVA, and Bird Studies Canada. The birds began their northern migration in mid-March, and the first thrush was detected in Panama on April 14. Learn more on our website and view the thrushes’ journeys from Colombia to Panama on our animated map.

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Join the Great Canadian Birdathon!

6 May 2016 – During the month of May, thousands of Canadians from coast to coast will participate in the Great Canadian Birdathon. Visit the Birdathon page of Bird Studies Canada’s President Steven Price to show your support! You can join Steven and the rest of our loyal Birdathoners by registering yourself. By becoming a participant or supporter, you’ll raise the critical funds we need for conservation, and encourage more Canadians to discover the fascinating birds around us.
   Birdathoners have chances to win incredible prizes! Our grand prize is an amazing birding vacation from Eagle-Eye Tours. Additional prizes from our generous sponsors Armstrong Bird Food, Celestron, Eagle Optics Canada, and Vortex range from bird seed to optics.
   Sign-up is easy. Just visit our website to get started on your personal webpage today!

Help Monitor Loons and Lake Health

6 May 2016 – Common Loons are returning to their territories on inland lakes. Do you spend at least one day a month in summer (June-August) on a Canadian lake where loons breed? If so, you could help monitor loons and lake health for Bird Studies Canada’s Canadian Lakes Loon Survey
   For three decades, our volunteers have supported loon and lake conservation by reporting on loon chick survival. Our 30-year report outlines key program findings. The graph above shows how the number of chicks per pair has decreased over time across Canada.
   This iconic species is facing significant threats. The Canadian Lakes Loon Survey supports lake stewards by providing materials such as conservation tips and articles, nesting platform instructions, and signs that can be posted in areas where loons nest.
   Survey participants are needed for 2016. Visit our lake activity map to view survey locations. To join, please register as a Bird Studies Canada member and opt into the loon survey. Active members can sign up by emailing Kathy Jones (

Spring Updates from COSEWIC

2 May 2016 – At its spring meeting last week in Kelowna, BC, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) reassessed the conservation status of the McCown’s Longspur and the Red Crossbill (percna subspecies).
   In Canada, the longspur is restricted to grassland habitats in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta. Grassland habitat is declining across North America. McCown’s Longspur was assessed as Special Concern in 2006, and numbers continue to decrease. The Canadian population has declined by 98% since 1970. COSEWIC reassessed this species as Threatened.
   The percna subspecies of Red Crossbill was previously thought to occur in small numbers only on the island of Newfoundland. COSEWIC assessed this subspecies as Endangered in 2004, but it has now been reassessed as Threatened, owing to the recent discovery of a previously unknown small subpopulation of birds on Anticosti Island, Québec.
   Visit the COSEWIC website to learn more about the recent status assessments of Canada’s wildlife.

Schoolyard Bird Blitz – New for Educators!

2 May 2016 – Bird Studies Canada is excited to launch Schoolyard Bird Blitz, our new national education program! Participation encourages nature exploration, and promotes awareness and appreciation of local birdlife. Throughout the month of May, students of all ages and grades across Canada conduct bird surveys by identifying and counting all birds in their schoolyard. Observations are submitted through the Schoolyard Bird Blitz website and contribute to Citizen Science for bird research and conservation.
   To learn more and find program resources, visit our website or contact
   Schoolyard Bird Blitz is supported by the Canadian Wildlife Federation and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

Participate in Project NestWatch!

25 April 2016 – As spring emerges, many birds have returned to Canada to nest, and another breeding season is just around the corner. If you’re one of the lucky few who comes across a nest while out exploring the natural world this season, please consider participating in Project NestWatch.
   Nest observations collected through this program (and stretching all the way back to the 1800s!) help scientists follow the health of bird populations through long-term monitoring of nesting activity. Birds are great indicators of the condition of their habitats, and NestWatch data provide valuable information on changes in the environment, as well as shifts in nest timing due to climate change. Participation in Project NestWatch is fun, easy, and free! After reading about how to minimize disturbance to nesting birds, you will be able to safely record the location and breeding activity of any nests you find, and submit your data online.
   For more information about this program and how nest monitoring supports conservation, visit our website or email

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The Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas is Here!

6 May 2016 – Bird Studies Canada is pleased to report that the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of the Maritime Provinces has arrived! This new publication is the most comprehensive and current information source on the status of the breeding birds of the Maritimes – their distribution, abundance, habitats, and conservation. The book is beautifully illustrated by some of the finest Maritimes wildlife photographers, and includes detailed maps.
   Over 1300 volunteers contributed 48,000 hours of survey effort, and 260,000 records for 222 species of breeding birds. Bird Studies Canada thanks all our atlas partners, the project’s many generous donors, and the huge atlas team of enthusiastic Citizen Scientists. This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.
   The Maritimes breeding bird atlas is now shipping. Those who have purchased copies should receive them within one to two weeks. Those who opted for pick-up in the Maritimes or Ontario will be contacted soon with details about upcoming events. A limited number will be available for new sales (in English or French) at a price of $72. For more information, contact our Atlantic Program Manager Laura Tranquilla at

BC Breeding Bird Atlas Complete!

6 May 2016 – We are delighted to announce the completion of the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Columbia, Canada’s first online bird atlas! More than 1500 high-quality maps and graphs show precisely where each species occurs, how common it is, and which types of landscapes it breeds in. The atlas is packed with innovative, user-friendly features, and is an entirely free new resource designed for almost everyone – from environmental professionals and researchers to birdwatchers, educators, and students.
   With 630,000 records of 320 species, it is now the go-to source of bird information for environmental assessments, and is informing purchase and management priorities for conservation and industrially-managed lands. The dataset is also being widely used for academic research.
   Special thanks to the 30 authors, 20 editors, 45 coordinators, 1300 dedicated field volunteers, 30 photographers, and 150 generous partners and supporters! This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Vancouver Celebrates Bird Week

6 May 2016Vancouver Bird Week opens this weekend! There will be bird-related events from May 7-14. Bird Studies Canada is excited to be part of the festivities with our Vancouver partners!
   Our BC program manager Dr. David Bradley is leading several free guided bird walks, including “Birds and Plants: A Walk in the Garden” at the UBC Botanical Gardens (Saturday, May 7 at noon); “Dawn Chorus Walks” at Queen Elizabeth Park (morning of Sunday, May 8), and an “Owl Prowl” at Pacific Spirit Regional Park (Monday, May 9 at 8:30 p.m.). We are also celebrating International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, May 14 by holding a “Big Day” birding event with Nature Vancouver.
   Join us for a very special gathering on Wednesday, May 11 when Bird Studies Canada hosts an exclusive screening of the documentary The Messenger at the Rio Theatre! David Suzuki will be there to introduce the film. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session featuring our president Steven Price.

2016 Nightjar Surveys

27 April 2016 – Bird Studies Canada is collaborating with WildResearch on the Nightjar Survey, a Citizen Science survey program for Common Nighthawk, Common Poorwill, and Eastern Whip-poor-will.
   Volunteer nightjar surveyors are wanted in six regions across Canada. Signing up for a route will require about two hours of surveying and one hour of data entry, must be completed once per year between June 15 and July 15, and will follow a new standardized national nightjar survey protocol. Most routes are along existing Breeding Bird Survey routes. Data will be made publicly available on Bird Studies Canada’s NatureCounts portal.
   Visit the survey website to learn more or volunteer, or contact your Regional Coordinator.

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