Bird and Habitat Conservation by Amanda Kelly (@AJaquesKelly)

The beauty in nature has led conservation biologists, researchers and nature lovers alike, to contribute to the conservation of our Canadian landscape. Every year thousands of volunteers, ranging from families and students to birders and scientists, contribute to an annual mission. For over one hundred years, that mission has been to assist species at risk and enforce conservation action. Birds are great predictors of the state of our environment. It is crucial to be aware of and address both the needs and threats to our local birds and habitat. Organizations such as Audubon, Bird Studies Canada, and Ontario Nature have significantly contributed to the awareness and assessment of our bird population’s health status.

Wildlife census by field observations has collected significant data, offering valuable information into the scope of environmental challenges. Christmas Bird counts and Bird Feeder counts are among the many programs that provide important information for bird conservation on a local level. Volunteers and scientists have extensively added to the State of Canada’s Birds Report, while also contributing to the long-term study of the health and status of bird populations in North America. These long-term perspectives are vital to our environment and species, allowing conservationists to prevent, protect, and to be proactive in identifying environmental issues. Annual bird counts collect data that provide awareness of local trends in bird populations and habitat. The field data that is collected can signal many threats such as local contamination and climate change, as well as identify rare species. Reports are then used to help scientists and policy-makers push for change.

Here are seven things that have become known due to bird counts, according to the Audubon website: the bald eagle is back, the Endangered Species Act works, familiar birds are in serious decline, more hummingbirds are staying in Canada and the US over the winter, house finches have been moving west for 60 years, the spread of West Nile virus can now be determined in speed and distance, and birds indicate environmental problems that can affect people. All the efforts made by bird counters, compilers, and regional bird count editors, through the annual mission to protect and conserve our birds and natural habitat, are truly appreciated for their dedication and contribution. There is currently no Brantford Christmas Bird Count, however; it is in the works. In order to spearhead a count in Brantford, it is required that local ‘Citizen Scientists’ volunteer in the conservation efforts to get Brantford on the map!

For more information on Brantford’s effort to spearhead a Christmas Bird Count, visit Amanda Kelly on Twitter @AJaquesKelly.

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