Bird conservation partnerships
Only 22% of Canadian bird species spend the whole year in Canada. We share “our” birds with many other countries. Canada, through the Canadian Wildlife Service, participates in many partnerships, both at home and abroad.
The goal of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) is to improve the conservation of birds and their habitats in North America. This is a coordinated effort between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Canada has played a primary role in NABCI’s development.
Coordination of this effort in Canada occurs through the NABCI Canada Council. It is chaired by one of the Directors General of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Council members include representatives from provincial and territorial governments, non-government organizations, industry associations, and other interested parties.
NABCI in Canada:
- enhances coordination among partners
- fosters cooperation among the nations and peoples of the continent
- builds on existing partnerships such as the joint ventures, and stimulates new initiatives and mechanisms
NABCI's initial phase focused on development and laying a strong foundation. The next phases will integrate bird conservation into strategic initiatives to provide benefits to many other wildlife species.
Priority-setting and planning within Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) provide a biologically-based framework for bird conservation. Issues identified through this process are addressed through partnerships in each BCR.
Our 3 nations have come together through NABCI to implement our shared vision for bird conservation for the next century.
By working cooperatively for conservation, Canada, the United States and Mexico hope to protect shared species.
Approximately 220 species of landbirds occurr in Canada, including species of:
- birds of prey (hawks, eagles, falcons and owls)
- upland game birds (partridges, grouse, and quail)
- pigeons and doves
- swifts and hummingbirds
- songbirds or passerines
Many of these species have been showing steady declines over the last 40 years. We work with Partners in Flight and the North American Bird Conservation Initiative to identify and address issues facing landbirds. Loss and degradation of wildlife habitat are likely the primary causes of these declines.
Partners in Flight is a partnership of conservation organizations across the Americas. With a particular focus on landbirds, the mission of Partners in Flight is:
- to help species at risk
- to keep common birds common
- to foster partnerships for birds, habitat, and people
Partners in Flight publications include information on landbirds of conservation concern, reasons for their decline and recommendations on how to help protect them:
- Partners is Flight Landbird Conservation Plan
- Saving Our Shared Birds: The Partners in Flight Tri-National Vision for Landbird Conservation
- North American Landbird Conservation Plan
Thirty-five waterfowl species spend part of the year in Canada, including species of:
Today populations of many waterfowl species are healthy but some issues still exist:
- sea ducks continue to decline
- overabundant Snow Geese threaten other wildlife
- Canada Geese clash with people, particularly in urban areas
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) is a trinational partnership working to protect wetland and upland habitats, and waterfowl populations by connecting people with nature. Through NAWMP, we work both internationally and in Canada with provinces, territories and non-government organizations, to meet the goals found in the latest plan.
Waterfowl conservation needs both monitoring and setting hunting regulations to ensure that hunting is sustainable. We review hunting regulations every two years and carry out a national consultation process when changes are proposed.
There are 47 species of regularly-occurring shorebirds in Canada, including species of:
- avocets and stilts
- sandpipers, curlews and snipes
Canada has a unique responsibility with respect to shorebirds as more than half of the breeding range for many species occurs in Canada. They nest in the arctic tundra, the boreal forest, beaches, agricultural fields and urban areas.
Canadian shorebird populations have declined considerably during the last 40 years mainly due to habitat loss and alteration. Most species migrate great distances and come across many threats along their long journey. International cooperation is vital to address threats and conserve shorebirds throughout the annual cycle. We work with partners to develop flyway conservation programs and strategies, including the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative and the Pacific Americas Shorebird Conservation Strategy.
In addition, there are many international partnerships that identify important places and tackle threats to shorebirds throughout their life:
- Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network program
- Arctic Migratory Bird Initiative
- support for local partners in order to ensure habitat conservation of important stopover sites in Central and South America
- Pan American Shorebird Program
- U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan
- Western Atlantic Shorebird Association
- U.S.F.W.S. Shorebird Sister Schools Program
In Canada, the following publications include information on shorebird conservation issues and ways to address them:
- Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan
- Northern Shorebird Conservation Strategy
- Pacific and Yukon Shorebird Conservation Plan
- Prairie Canada Shorebird Conservation Plan
- Ontario Shorebird Conservation Plan
- Quebec Shorebird Conservation Plan
- Atlantic Canada Shorebird Conservation Plan
Canada is home to a diversity of waterbirds that use oceans, inland waters and wetland habitats, including:
- auks (puffins, murres, razorbills and guillemots)
- seabirds (gannets, albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, fulmars, kittiwakes, gulls and terns)
- inland waterbirds (herons, rails, coots, bitterns, cranes, loons and grebes)
Threats to waterbird conservation include:
- habitat loss and degradation, particularly for wetlands, islands and coastal habitat
- fisheries by-catch
- marine oil pollution and litter
- introduced predators on nesting colonies
Several initiatives work on addressing the many threats that waterbirds face in Canada and abroad:
- Canada's Progress Report on the Implementation of Key Actions Taken Pursuant to the National Plan of Action for Reducing the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (March 2007)
- identifying areas and seasons of seabird congregation in order to facilitate risk management decisions related to birds at sea
- addressing chronic oil pollution in the marine environment
- responding to and preventing damage to wildlife during uncontrolled or accidental releases of hazardous substances
- North American Wetlands Conservation
- Waterbird Conservation for the Americas
Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 Blvd. St. Joseph, 15th floor
Gatineau Quebec K1A 0H3
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