Look for & Protect Landbird Species at Risk in the Backlands

Rusty BlackbirdAt a recent talk given to the Nova Scotia Bird Society, ornithologist Cindy Staicer described a developing program to enhance conservation of Landbirds Species at Risk in Forested Landscapes. The program is based at Dalhousie University and is being conducted in collaboration with the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.

The immediate focus is on five species: Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Rusty Blackbird, Common Nighthawk, & Chimney Swift.

For the first four of these species, there is suitable habitat in the Backlands and for the Canada Warbler, Rusty Blackbird and Common Nighthawk, there is either recent or historic observation of their breeding in or close to Backlands (see Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas and Williams Lake Wildlands Birding Project). All have declined between the first MBBA survey (1986-1990) and the second (2006-2010).

Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Rusty Blackbird breed in wet forest of types found in the Backlands. The Common Nighthawk prefers dry, open areas with bare ground, with a close proximity to a body of water, such as afforded by barrens in the Backlands.

Information about these species and what you can do to help is available on their website at http://landbirdsar.merseytobeatic.ca

There is also a specific program to scour the landscape for Rusty Blackbirds during this species’ northward migration. For Nova Scotia the target dates are mid-April through mid-May. Read more

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