Charting a Healthy Future for North America’s Birds

 

Innovations in technology reveal that many migratory birds fly farther and faster and take more varied routes than previously thought. These findings reshape the conventional understanding of bird flyways—the notion that most birds migrate along four predictable corridors. According to a new report, they also reinforce the fact that billions of birds start their migration in North America’s boreal forest. And they show that migratory birds depend on much bigger swaths of healthy landscape than experts realized.

 “Birds go farther and faster and have broader migratory routes than we thought. This new evidence shifts our understanding of what migratory birds need. They need landscapes to remain wild on a much larger scale,” said Dr. Jeff Wells of the Boreal Songbird Initiative. “That opportunity still exists in North America’s boreal forest—the nesting ground for billions of migratory birds.”

The report, released by the Boreal Songbird Initiative, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ducks Unlimited and Environment for the Americas, offers a 21st century approach to sustaining migratory birds. It calls for protecting at least half of the boreal forest and honouring the rights of Indigenous people—often the frontline stewards of bird ranges within the boreal forest—to conserve their traditional lands.

 
ReportEmily Cousins