Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Help save the Boreal Forest

What is the Boreal Forest and why am I writing about it on a site dedicated to the wildlife of Central Park?

A Palm Warbler photographed in Central Park by Lloyd Spitalnik.

A Palm Warbler captured on camera in the Boreal Forest by Jeff Nadler

The well-being of our park's songbirds depends on the well-being of the Boreal Forest.

Stretching across Canada from Alaska to Newfoundland, the Boreal Forest of North America is a critically important breeding ground for billions of North America's birds. The Boreal is vital to the abundance of bird life in the US and Canada and contributes in a significant way to birdlife from Mexico to South America. Nearly 50% of the 700 species that regularly occur in the US and Canada rely on the Boreal for their survival. Over 300 species regularly breed in the Boreal.

During spring migration [that is, right now!] up to 3 billion of birds fly through the U.S. to their breeding grounds in the Boreal Forest. Up to 5 billion birds (adults and offspring) fly south from the Boreal each fall. 60% of these migrants spend the winter in the U.S. — making it the largest wintering grounds for boreal birds such as Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-crowned Sparrows, Rusty Blackbirds and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Some startling statistics: 80% of the waterfowl species of North America, 63% of the finch species,and 53% of warbler species breed in the Boreal.

The Boreal Songbird Initiative, along with other environmental groups like Bird Studies Canada, Nature Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, among others created a petition called “Save our Boreal Birds” a little over a year ago. This petition will be sent to the Prime Minister of Canada and many provincial leaders, and asks that vital bird habitat be kept intact despite the fact that over 30% of the Boreal Forest has already been designated for development.

They are launching the petition on May 12th, and are currently at about 60,000 signatures. They are trying to get up to 70,000 before the launch.

You can help by clicking on the link below and signing their petition: