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Help Protect Billions of Migratory Birds


Guest Blog by Dr. Jeff Wells

Tonight, tomorrow night, and every night this week, one of the largest and most fascinating natural phenomena on Earth will be taking place right over our rooftops as we sleep. Billions of migratory birds that spend their winters everywhere from the U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean all the way down to the southern tip of South America are currently streaming north through southern Canada. They have their sights set on Canada’s vast boreal forest—their summer home and breeding grounds that will provide next year’s crop of migrants. Tens of millions of birds may be crossing the U.S.-Canadian border on any given night.

The number and variety of migratory birds that rely on the boreal forest is as impressive as the long journeys they embark on with only their wings and occasional tailwinds for assistance. Between 1 to 3 billion birds migrate to the boreal each summer, the number swelling to 3 to 5 billion once the young have been hatched, fledged, and readied for their fall expedition back south. An estimated 325 species—nearly half of all bird species found in the U.S. and Canada overall—rely in part on the boreal for their existence.

This treasured continental ‘bird nursery’ is in need of our help, however. Although much of Canada’s northern boreal region is still relatively intact and free of industrial disturbance, the southern portion has already been heavily eroded. And with each year, development continues to encroach further north into the remaining pockets of untouched forest.

That is exactly why a new campaign called Boreal Birds Need Half has sprung up. The campaign, of which CPAWS is an endorser, seeks to see at least half of North America’s boreal forest protected from industrial development, with the remainder under sustainable management. Because many boreal-breeding birds—especially songbirds and raptors—breed over r widespread distributional ranges, we need to protect large portions of the boreal forest to preserve enough habitat for these birds to  thrive for generations to come.

Today, we’re asking for your help. Harnessing the power of birders and other nature-lovers, our goal is to get 25,000 signatures for the Boreal Birds Need Half petition to help inform government and industry alike on the need to protect this critical bird nursery. 

Help us ‘chirp up’ for boreal birds and add your name today:

Sign the Boreal Birds Need Half petition

Dr. Jeff Wells is senior scientist for the Boreal Songbird Initiative, one of the organizations spearheading the Boreal Birds Need Half campaign.