Marine Birds: Important Bird Area expanded into the Sound
Excerpt from 2020 article
A recent report, informed largely by citizen-science data, estimated a decline of 2.9 billion birds throughout North America since 1970. There have been anecdotal reports of declining bird numbers throughout Átl’ḵa7tsem/ Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound over recent years. Extensive, regular, long-term data collected by citizen science groups and birding enthusiasts not only assists in conservation efforts but contributes important information that helps identify and confirm these types of trends.
Read the full article to see what else is happening.
Background:A surf scoter, Melanitta perspicillata flock at Worlecombe in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound. (Credit: Bob Turner)
What’s been done since 2017?
The table below reports on progress made on recommended actions from the previous 2017 article, where identified. Many of these require ongoing action.
|2017 Action||Action Taken|
|Government Action and Policy|
|Continue to support and facilitate the education, monitoring, and restoration activities of local groups in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound. Provide funding assistance and partnership opportunities where feasible.||Funding provided through the B.C. government and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation includes some grants for bird habitat. Grants from 2019 can be viewed here.|
|Legally recognize and strictly regulate Important Bird Areas as Protected Areas, especially in IBAs that do not have established legal protection (e.g., national and provincial parks). Where this is not feasible, consider conservation easements and agreements, private land stewardship, and land acquisition to ensure protection.||An IBA in English Bay – Burrard Inlet was extended in January 2019 to include part of Átl’ḵa7tsem/ Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound. However, IBAs still do not afford any legal protection.|
What can you do?
A detailed overview of recommended actions relating to climate change is included in The path to zero carbon municipalities. In some cases, no progress was identified on previous recommended actions; these remain listed below.
- Bird watching is one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America. Whether you are a beginner or advanced, you can join one of the annual Christmas Bird Counts that occur in West Vancouver, Bowen Island, Squamish, and the Sunshine Coast, or the more frequent monthly bird counts with the Squamish Environment Society or Lighthouse Park Preservation Society. It is a great way to learn from people who know more than you.
- If you are a knowledgeable birder, you can submit your observations directly through eBird, the online repository for worldwide bird observations managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Any unusual sightings require an accompanying photograph to be accepted by eBird.
- Keep your practices friendly to marine birds. During the spring and summer, stay away from offshore rocks that are nesting sites for oystercatchers, gulls and cormorants. Never take your dog to these islands.
- During the winter, do not disturb flocks of winter birds along the coastline. You may disrupt their feeding or resting and cause them to waste valuable energy.
- Collect lost nets and traps and plastics on beaches that might trap or kill birds.
Government Action and Policy:
- Increase monitoring and enforcement of illegal bird harvesting.
- Explore the possibility of increasing the size of the Skwelwil’em Wildlife Management Area or Nature Trust Conservation Area, or create more Wildlife Management Areas to increase protection.