Ask any American what their national bird is and they'll be sure to tell you it's the Bald Eagle. Ask a Canadian the same question and they're likely to shift the conversation to the weather or last night's hockey game. Why? Because Canada doesn't have a national bird. That's about to change. And unlike in the United States, everyday Canadians are playing a role in the selection.
You find yourself breathing more deeply, taking in the sharp scent of pine and the sweet mustiness of leaves returning to dust on the forest floor beneath your feet. For a moment, the quiet is broken only by birdsong -- the notes that signalled the absence of predators nearby to generations of your ancestors -- and your pulse rate slows. Some neglected part of you is home, and you realize you've left your worries somewhere between your front door and this moment. This is the power of nature.
Stretching from Alaska to Labrador, the Boreal has more intact forest than the Amazon and nearly twice as much carbon in storage as tropical forests. It is a crowning jewel at the top of the globe. Preserving it now will make bird species more resilient as they face climate change and habitat loss along their migration routes south.
Junk food is great, but I bet you wouldn't eat it every day for a week, at the risk of feeling terrible at the end of it. You know it tastes good but it lacks nutritional content and I'm pretty sure parents don't want to feed their kids fast food every day. With that said, then why feed bread to birds?
Being something of a naturalist some of my most memorable trips have involved seeing birds such as the endangered resplendent quetzal in Costa Rica or the beautiful rose-coloured grosbeak in Alberta. So we wanted to find the facts behind the claims you often hear about just how bad wind farms are for birds and wildlife in general.This took us down a rabbit hole of research and browser tabs that landed us in the workshop of John Bowman.
Birds have long been the "canaries in the coal mine" for our destructive ways. Extinction of the passenger pigeon sparked the first large environmental movement in the U.S., and led to restrictions on hunting, as well as federal and international regulations to protect migratory birds. Now, birds face a range of new problems, most caused by humans and many serving as further warnings about our bad habits.
With the growing urgency of climate change, we can't have it both ways. We can't shout about the dangers of global warming and then turn around and shout even louder about the "dangers" of windmills. We must accept that all forms of energy have associated costs. A blanket "not in my backyard" approach is hypocritical and counterproductive. I think smokestacks, smog, acid rain, coal-fired power plants and climate change are ugly. I think windmills are beautiful. And if one day I look out from my cabin porch and see a row of windmills spinning in the distance, I won't curse them. I will praise them. It will mean we're finally getting somewhere.
When 7,500 birds died a few weeks ago at a natural gas flare in New Brunswick, there was shock and dismay among most people who heard the news. How did it happen? Could it happen again? How might it have been prevented? As tragic as these incidents are, though, they are a blip in the big picture of threats to migratory bird populations.
We can't live without birds. Beyond being fascinating and beautiful, they play a crucial role in keeping the world habitable for all life, including people. They disperse seeds, pollinate plants, control insects, provide food and are indicators of the overall health of ecosystems. One in eight -- or 1,313 -- species of Earth's birds is in danger of disappearing.