MANITOBANS TO TURN EYES TO THE SKIES IN FIRST PROVINCEWIDE BIRD COUNT


The Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas will be a comprehensive gathering of information that will help preserve our unique avian populations, said Manitoba Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, Rod Bruinooge.

“The Breeding Bird Atlas will be one of the largest citizen scientist volunteer efforts ever conducted in this province,” said Minister Blaikie.  “The first project of its kind in this province, Manitobans will be invited to participate in monitoring the abundance and distribution of bird species.”

“The Government of Canada is pleased to support Breeding Bird Atlases across Canada.  This year, as we celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity - the abundance and variety of life on Earth - we understand that good information and good science are the foundation of good decision-making when it comes to conservation.” said MP Bruinooge.  “As we take action to protect our natural heritage in Manitoba and across Canada, this project will help to shape future conservation actions for migratory birds and species at risk.”

The five-year project will be launched today at FortWhyte Alive.  The health, distribution and abundance of bird species that breed throughout Manitoba will be tracked and recorded. The province will be divided into regions, and nature enthusiasts and volunteers will record all birds seen and heard in each on.

The information will help conservation efforts by:

  • tracking Manitoba’s bird populations;
  • identifying local biodiversity hotspots and distribution patterns to update provincial status ranks for birds;
  • adding to the Conservation Data Centre’s information on rare birds, particularly in under-surveyed areas of the province; and
  • contributing to the development of a website with interactive maps in conjunction with Bird Studies Canada that will allow for viewing by a specific region, or by provincewide results for any given species.

In addition, Manitoba Hydro has provided financial support to the project over a five-year period.

Breeding bird atlases have been produced in many European countries and throughout North America.  The information will be available for use by scientists, environmental assessors, biologists, municipal planners and students.

The project is a partnership between federal and provincial governments, non-government organizations, private corporations, individual citizens and communities.  The steering committee partners include Environment Canada, Manitoba Conservation, Bird Studies Canada, Nature Manitoba, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Manitoba Museum.

“The Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas will build a spirit of environmental co-operation that will leave a lasting legacy for every Manitoban,” said Blaikie.

Today’s launch at FortWhyte Alive will take place from 7 to 9 p.m.  For more information on this project, visit the web at www.birdatlas.mb.ca.

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