Birds play a vital role in keeping forests healthy through their roles as seed dispersers, pollinators, and pest control. Likewise, Canada’s forests provide important breeding and nesting habitat for bird species, with as many as six billion breeding or migratory birds passing through Canada’s boreal region annually.

Birds are abundant in the boreal because of its vast size and the variety of habitats that it provides. The area is dominated by coniferous forests and interspersed with vast wetlands and taiga, and a huge variety of waterbirds, hawks, owls, grouse, woodpeckers, songbirds, and more can be found breeding there. The overall long-term population trends of most boreal bird species are either stable or increasing, but populations of some common bird species – such as the rusty blackbird and Canada warbler – are in decline. Population dynamics are complex as often there is no single cause that leads to a species decline, especially for migratory birds, which may spend more than half the year outside of Canada. Environmental factors that are hypothesized to be related to population decline include environmental changes, food scarcity, or habitat loss/degradation.

The Canadian forestry sector has an important role to play in maintaining quality habitat for these bird populations and other wildlife. Actions include maintaining adequate coarse woody debris — such as logs, stumps and trees that have died but remain standing — and leaving buffers along lakes, streams and other waterways that are used as nesting and breeding habitat by birds. In addition, members of the industry are working closely with on-the-ground conservation groups to conduct bird surveys, monitor and map bird population distributions, and take protective actions for forest stands with high nest densities. Learn more here.

You can join Earth Rangers and the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) in conserving another important forest-dwelling species, the moose, by visiting www.earthrangers.com/Canada150.

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