A lot happened for birds in 2021, for example, Andrés found the Razorbills... Now, seriously, In this minisode, we cover some of the good news stories that we didn’t have a chance to touch on in our last episode, such as the strengthening of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and significant funding for Indigenous stewardship programs in Canada.
Jody Allair is an avid birder and naturalist who enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for the natural world. He is the producer of the Warblers Podcast and the Director of Community Engagement at Birds Canada and has written numerous articles on birds, birding and connecting with nature. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram at @JodyAllair.
Out of Christmas coffee? Want to help create more positive news stories for birds? grab some certified bird-friendly coffee for The Warblers now => at Birds and Beans.
The Great Backyard Bird Count runs from February 18-21, 2022. Register or learn more here: https://www.birdcount.org/
More about the Bird Names for Birds movement.
Please remember we would love to hear from you, let us know what you think about the podcast here or which topics you will love -> firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Gress studied Renewable Resource Management at the University of Saskatchewan. She pivoted towards birds, after an internship in South Africa. Upon returning, she worked with Piping Plovers in Saskatchewan and now coordinates the Ontario Piping Plover Conservation Program for Birds Canada. Follow her work at @ontarioplovers
Andrés Jiménez is a Costa Rican wildlife biologist with a keen interest in snakes, frogs, birds and how human relationships are interconnected with the living world. He studied Tropical Biology in Costa Rica and has a Masters in Environmental Problem Solving from York University. He is Birds Canada's Urban Program Manager and you can follow him at @andresjimo
You're listening to the world of birds Canada podcast.Andrea Gress:
Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the Warblers podcast. In our last episode, we kind of had a recap of the 2021 birding highlights of the year. So we wanted to touch on a few more that maybe we missed out. We've got our producer Jody lair joining us. And before we get into it, Andres, I want to know if you went to see the RazorbillsAndres Jimenez Monge:
oh my god, I'm so excited about this Minisode because it's been one of the most popular episodes the year and birding was so popular, and I learned so much from it. So Mike Burrell was kind enough to say, hey, you know, the Razorbills are still in Niagara. And then I was like, oh my god, I jumped in the car the next day, and I went down to Niagara. And I saw three razor bills for the way. Well done. Yeah, I know. And Mike was so kind to just let me know that they were there. He went out of the blue and send me an email. So this is to say that we need to have very good birding friends in order to find out about birds we want to watch. But besides that, I decided to use another of my very good birding friends, which is joining us today. Mr. Jody Alarie. Judy, what did you tell me to do the last weekend?Unknown:
Yes, get up to Algonquin Park and enjoy some amazing winter birding in, in central Ontario. How did that go? Yes.Andres Jimenez Monge:
Oh, it was awesome. So this is another continuation of the previous episode because it was, you know, the winter eruption of the ages. Right. And so I said, Well, you know, Mike said that this was supposed to be a good year as well. I don't know if this guy's going to be here. And I decided to jump in the car. But before that, I talked with Jodi and he gave me three or four spots to hit. And so I did. And I got three Yes, three lifers and remarkable photos that I will be posting with this minisode on Twitter and Instagram for you guys to watch. I got the Evening Grosbeaks I got the pine Grosbeaks that I've decided is the most beautiful Finch in North America. I absolutely love it. And then I also got the black back woodpecker and Jody gave me the exact location I needed to hit and I hit it and it was there. What theAndrea Gress:
heck god you're you live in Alberta. Now how do you get the insider insight?Jody Allair:
Well, yeah, it's it's I haven't been to Algonquin in many years. But I you know, I grew up in Peterborough, Ontario and I spent a lot of time in Algonquin Park as a kid camping and canoeing with my parents and, and and I burden it a lot. And for a lot of these, you know, winter finches, and especially some of the Boreal specialties like boreal chickadee and spruce grouse and blackpack woodpecker, there's there's fairly reliable locations to sort of look for these birds. Year after year, you still have to have a bit of luck so so and I'm really happy that that one of those spots worked out for you, Andres, congratulations on the three lifers. And it's so beautiful up there, isn't it? I missed, I missed that area.Andres Jimenez Monge:
Winter Wonderland. But, but for our dear listeners, we're going to go beyond Ontario, on this Minnesota. And we're going to be talking about the big news that birds got that were left out of our previous episode. So I'm going to get us started. One of the big news that we had was the restoring the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and making it stronger. So the Biden Harris administration restored some of the protections that were lost after the Obama era on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that protects and God can explain more the migratory bird species in North America, but they also announced a regulatory framework for industry, so they that they could be compliant with the law. And I think this is one of the biggest wins for less for 2021. For birds,Jody Allair:
a lot of us and, you know, in birds Canada was, in our previous president, Steven price, you know, had written an article in The Globe and Mail about the changes to that act, were going to have a real negative impact on the on the on the ability to develop on important nesting habitat for a lot of our migratory birds across Canada in the US. And there were a lot of groups in the states that were opposed to this as well and and we were all very relieved that very early on in the new administration in the US that they decided to walk back those changes and and to reinstate the original treaty act. So really good news that that we didn't have to that we didn't have to deal with the the real terrible outcomes that would have come from those changes. So yeah, I was very, we were all very pleased for that.Andrea Gress:
And then on top of that really good news. There was also An interesting study that came out a year ago study from the UK this year. It said two thirds of British people had their lives enriched by watching birds. And by hearing birdsong. Two thirds,Jody Allair:
that is incredible. I think we, we talked so much about, you know, pandemic impacts on birding and birding is really having its time with the pandemic, so many people coming to it, but, man that the results of that survey is, you know, in terms of pandemic impact. That's incredible. And it'sAndres Jimenez Monge:
wicked that they capture Birdsong, right. There's so many people that cannot engage with birds by watching them, but that he only engaged by listening to birds. And that was wicked, which also reminds me that even Forbes, Forbes published an article on how more birds make you as happy as more money.Andrea Gress:
Absolutely. I mean, even yesterday, I was at walking in a forest near home, and there wasn't a lot of bird song so much as there were just a lot of crows, but actually, just the sound of them calling away really put me at peace, like it's unreal, the impact they have.Andres Jimenez Monge:
And I hope that this gift that birds give us can be attributed to birds and that people are giving those gifts back so we can have birds around us all the time.Jody Allair:
Yeah, I love I love that sentiment, right? Like, I think, and I've said this a few times and written about this, that, you know, birds gave us and continues to give us so much during the pandemic, with all the stress and all of the challenges and and birds. Were kind of there for us. Right. And, and I hope, I hope we have a whole new cohort of birders going forward. And I hope people really take the next step and understanding that, you know, we need to do whatever we can to make sure we continue to have birds not just for us, but for themselves. Right.Andres Jimenez Monge:
Did we see this reflected on Birds Canada, Did something change on our end?Jody Allair:
Well, I think yeah, in addition to more people out there burning, you know, there's, there is a real bump in terms of volunteer participation in in our programs. And, you know, in last year alone, we had over 70,000 people participating in our monitoring programs, right, like absolutely incredible and programs like project feederwatch And great backyard, bird count and E bird all saw, you know, continuous increases in the number of people participating fills me with optimism. I think that we can. We're going to get so many people hooked on birds and wanting to make changes for toucans help conserve birds, I sort of love that.Andrea Gress:
Thank you. Thank you to everybody who got involved this year. And the great backyard bird counts coming up too right away for people who might want to dip their toes in right?Andres Jimenez Monge:
How would they do it? Jody?Jody Allair:
Great. backyard bird count is is one of my absolute favorite sort of entry level engagement programs for people wanting to get involved in counting birds and and contributing to citizen science. It's, it's really simple. You, you can visit the great backyard bird count website, you can visit our website to learn more about it. It happens over the family day, long weekend. And you basically go outside, go either in your yard or in your local green space, or even your favorite park nearby, and go out and count birds watch birds and count birds for 15 minutes, you can enter your observations on E bird. Or you can use if you're just starting out, you can download the Merlin bird ID app, which is free. And you can you could actually enter individual observations that you've identified using Merlin to the to the gbbc. And, and this is happening all around the world over a four day period. And it's this really fantastic snapshot of of how the world's birds are doing. And it's not just for experienced birders, it is 100% for people just starting out or people wanting to do this with their kids or grandkids or as a family. It is it is very user friendly. It's very, very conducive to doing your first sort of bird survey. So get out there and do it.Andres Jimenez Monge:
Thank you God. Um, we have two other big big news that birds got on 2021 One of them is the boreal you know, the boreal is home to the breeding territories of hundreds of bird species. They literally come back to eat all the insects that are around the boreal and to nest there. It's a whole bunch of space to nest and to find food and raise their young so we need the boreal for bird populations to survive, and the Canadian government pledged $314 million Canadian dollars There's two indigenous stewardship programs across Canada, which will support the creation of new Indigenous Protected areas and also the amazing indigenous Guardian program that helps protect the boreal forest. And I think that's one of the biggest news for this year as well. Yeah, that'sAndrea Gress:
huge. A lot of good work gonna come out of that.Andres Jimenez Monge:
And this is why this is good news not it's not because money is going to a boreal, that's fantastic, but it's because it's going to its traditional stewards that have kept the boreal going for hundreds of hundreds of years. And so I think that's why this is a very good news because of the way this money is going to be put to work. We'll be right back.Jody Allair:
The warblers is a podcast of birds, Canada. Our goal is to bring you the information you need to discover, enjoy and protect birds. If you like what you hear, please subscribe, leave a review and share this podcast with everyone you know, birds Canada relies on the support of donors like you to learn more, or to make a donation visit birds canada.org. And if you give, please note the podcast in the comment box.Andres Jimenez Monge:
And then the final good news, I think is the movement bird names for birds that he's really taking, that he's really lifting up the ground. And can can you tell us more about that movement? Jody?Jody Allair:
Yeah, so last year saw, like a few things happen in the bird names for birds movement, if people who are not familiar with it. It's it's a movement where they're trying to remove or we are trying to remove honorific, you know, bird names. So basically name birds that are named after people, but especially very problematic people in history that have done really quite terrible things and should not have birds, named after them, what was formerly known as McKellen's longspur was changed to thick build longspur. And, and the primary reason for that was that Macau and was was not was essentially not a good person or had a great history and, and they're essentially like removing statues. It's basically virtual statues of removing these these people who should not have birds named after them. It's a very important initiative. It had some headway. Last year, we had a big symposium with lots of experts across North America, including birds, Canada's some birds, Canada staff, where we, you know, really voiced our support for this initiative going forward. It's in the hands of the the American Ornithological Society, create a new committee to to help provide recommendations for a way forward. We are still waiting on on this to actually happen. I feel like things have stalled on this front, but hopefully, this year coming, we will make headway and we will start making these changes needs to be done. And so I hope it happens to be done. I hope it happens sooner than later.Andrea Gress:
Yeah, awesome. So yeah, learn more about that. Go read about it and voice voice your opinions. Let's let's get that let's keep that momentum going. With that. I think that was a pretty good summary of some of the things we maybe missed in our last episode, but go back and listen to that if you haven't yet. And if you've had any birding highlights yourself this year or any big news stories that you think we've missed, we'd love to hear them shoot us an email informations in the episode description and, yeah, get out there and go birding.