One of my favorite and most important web sites is the Boreal Songbird Initiative. Habitat loss is the most significant threat to native bird and animal specials. North America’s boreal forest, which spans the northern portion of the continent from Alaska all the way to Newfoundland, covers an astonishing 1.5 billion acres, making it larger than all but 6 countries, including India.

This great track of land is of vital importance to a great number of birds. 325 North American bird species rely on the boreal forest for nesting or migratory stopover habitat. How important? 80% of North American waterfowl species, 63% of finch species, and 53% of warbler species breed in the boreal.

A recent post on their web site provides more information on the importance of the Boreal Forest and recent successes in protecting this vital area.

An excerpt of the article follows, visit their web site for the complete story. Bonus points if you can tell if this is a Long-billed or Short-billed Dowitcher.

dowitcher in boreal forest

“Two provincial governments, Ontario and Quebec, have actually committed to protecting at least half of their northern boreal regions. Succeeding in this will require a commitment to work with Indigenous governments and communities. The Moose Cree First Nation in Ontario, for example, wants to ban mining from the North French River—one of North America’s most impressive undammed and uncontaminated rivers. But achieving this requires buy-in from the provincial government—something they are still working to achieve.

As a signatory, Canada is committed to meeting Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Among these is a requirement of protecting at least 17% of the nation’s land by 2020. Although Canada’s current pace indicates it may not meet this by that year, the most logical place to start would be in the Boreal Forest.

It requires a shift in thinking, and one that sees the forest rather than just the trees. Given recent successes, the Boreal’s prospects are certainly looking up. The billions of birds that depend on the Boreal are sure hoping this momentum continues; after all, it may be their last hope.”

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