by Nancy Chang
photo by Daniel Mitev
Every spring and fall Red Rock Audubon members are treated to an explosion of visitors. Not the human type that enjoy all the great activities special to the Las Vegas area but of birds migrating to and from their nesting sites in the north. A huge majority of many bird species return each year to these boreal forests of Canada and the Northwest to raise their young. For example, 98% of Palm Warblers, such as the one above, nest in boreal forests.*
Read on to learn more about birds we love to see that are reliant on the boreal forests and how Red Rock Audubon is leading an effort to protect these critical habitats.
94% nest in boreal forests*
photo by Cathy Kozmary @ Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
"With more than 70% of its 1.5 billion acres free of large-scale industrial disturbance, the boreal forests of Canada are home to an astounding one to three billion nesting birds. Across the boreal, indigenous governments and communities steward and protect millions of acres of this essential bird habitat. Indigenous Guardians programs are being established as a part of that effort. Many of these new programs want to include bird monitoring in their work but are often hampered by lack of equipment, including binoculars.
Audubon's Boreal Conservation program is partnering with Nevada's Red Rock Audubon to reach out to other chapters who may be interested in helping close that gap."
(From National Audubon's email communication to all chapters)
63% nest in boreal forests*
photo by Paul Rodriguez @ 33 Hole
Upon hearing about this initiative and recognizing the value of monitoring birds Red Rock Audubon's Board of Directors was moved to donate four pair of Vortex binoculars. Our friend Eric Moore of Jay's Bird Barn coordinated shipping them to Alison Haugh, Executive Director of Pimachiowin Aki in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Doug Chang, our Membership Chair, took on the task of contacting other chapters to invite them to also donate to the project.
87% nest in boreal forests*
photo by Jimmy Alexander @ Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Why do we do this?
According to National Audubon, "…between one and three billion birds of nearly 400 species are estimated to nest each year in the Boreal Forest region which stretches from Alaska, the Yukon and BC in the west to Newfoundland and Labrador in the east. Species like the Blackpoll Warbler, that sings its high-pitched squeaky-brake song from scrubby spruce trees across the Boreal from Alaska to Newfoundland and makes an immense journey to South America for the winter. Or the Canada Jay, a non-migratory year-round resident of the Boreal Forest a species with a long history of interacting with Indigenous people as it searched for food around campsites and animal kills.
"Rich boreal wetlands also attract migratory birds. The Bufflehead, for instance, is a tiny, boldly patterned black and white duck that nests in old woodpecker holes around the millions of lakes and ponds that dot the boreal forest and becomes one of the most familiar winter waterfowl of calm, coastal bays along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Palm Warblers, Swamp Sparrows, Common Yellowthroats, American Black Ducks and Solitary Sandpipers are just a few of the many other birds that nest in those boreal wetlands."
75% nest in boreal forests*
photo by Jennifer Dudek in her back yard
If we wish to continue seeing our favorite visitors we must do our part to ensure their survival. Interested in donating toward more binoculars? Please contact Doug Chang at email@example.com by the end of February.
80% nest in boreal forests*
photo by Paul Rodriguez @ 33 Hole
Please join our regular meeting on March 13th to learn more about the boreal forests from our featured speaker Dr. Jeff Wells, National Audubon. You can sign up for the link to our Zoom meeting through our calendar. www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTA3OTAx
*For more information about boreal birds visit www.borealbirds.org