The Boreal Forests of Canada

Canada’s Boreal Forests
Why should U.S. birders be concerned?

Window strikes, free roaming cats, automobile collisions, pollution, these are just a few reasons for declining bird populations. But the biggest impact leading the decline is loss of habitat across the Americas and worldwide.

The Boreal Forest region that stretches across all of Canada is the largest intact forest on the planet and is vital to the abundance of bird life in the U.S. and Canada. Nearly half of all North American birds (325 species) rely on the Boreal, and over 300 of those species regularly breed there.

During spring migration up to 3 billion birds fly through the U.S. to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Boreal Forest. Up to 5 billion birds (adults and offspring) fly south from the Boreal each fall. 60% of these migrants spend the winter in the U.S. — making it the largest wintering grounds for boreal birds such as Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-crowned Sparrows, Rusty Blackbirds and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

The responsibility of the Boreal in sustaining some bird populations is startling:

  • 80% of the waterfowl species of North America, 63% of the finch species, and 53% of warbler species breed in the Boreal.
  • For nearly 100 species, 50% or more of their entire breeding populations occur in the Boreal.
  • Over 80% of the North American populations of 35 species occur in the Boreal.

The Boreal Forests are under extreme pressure from logging, mining, and oil production including the developing tar sands region. Some bird specie’s populations that breed in the Boreal Forests have already declined by as much as 90%. Birds have no international borders or state-lines and when it comes to the conservation of bird habitats, neither should we. 

Find out more about the Boreal Forests of North America at: Boreal Birds

 

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