Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Great News for Boreal Birds...including Loons!

This week Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced a landmark commitment to protect 225,000 square kilometers – 55 million acres – of Boreal Forest in the northern area of that province. This move will protect the habitat for as many as 300 million Boreal birds - most of which migrate across the U.S. and are greatly appreciated by millions of Western Hemisphere birders.
McGuinty's pledge is exactly what the fairly new "Boreal Songbird Initiative" has consistently advocated to Canadian government leaders. Premier McGuinty's pledge also reforms Ontario's Mining Act; implements new land use planning; and accommodates First Nations' interests.
In addition to being the essential breeding area for enormous numbers of birds, Canada's Boreal Forest is an important carbon sink that helps mitigate the effects of global warming; is a refuge for some of the world's largest herds of caribou, plus grizzlies, and wolves; and a vital Aboriginal home land. It is inspiring to see a Canadian leader with the foresight and conviction to protect this vast and unique natural resource. Wouldn't it be a welcome change to see similar leadership in the U.S.?
You can learn about the Boreal Songbird Initiative here: .

The Senior Scientist for BSI is Jeff Wells, formerly head of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program in the U.S. Jeff has recently published a very important book that may be of interest to bird lovers - Birder's Conservation Handbook - 100 North American Birds at Risk. As the name implies, this detailed and well-written reference summarizes population information and threats for many, if not all of the most seriously at-risk species across the entire continent.

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