Canadian Prairie landscapes are among most productive in the world for a diverse community of breeding birds, due in large part to the wide variety of wetland and upland habitats in this region. Yet, these natural habitats and the wildlife these habitats support have been under pressure from loss and degradation for years, and this represents an ongoing challenge for conservation agencies. A further complication is that most locally breeding birds migrate to distant areas during the non-breeding seasons where they are exposed to similar and unique threats, making it quite difficult to determine with certainty where, when and why populations are most limited. To illustrate interactions between land use, climate and migratory birds, I focus on our long-term studies of northern pintail (Anasacuta), a hunted duck species, and tree swallow (Tachycinetabicolor), a songbird species for which there are deep conservation concerns. I will guide you through the annual cycle of these birds and give insights into the distinctive travels and lifestyles of pintails and swallows, and some of the threats they face. I highlight information being collected – biological and socioeconomic – as part of ongoing efforts to build a case for wetland conservation and wiser use of precious water resources in the region. A key challenge is to provide decision-makers with convincing information about the full range of values that wetlands provide as well as risks associated with continued wetland destruction.
The Natural Resources & Environmental Studies Institute (NRESi) at UNBC hosts a weekly lecture series at the Prince George campus. Anyone from the university or wider community with interest in the topic area is welcome to attend. Presentations are also made available to remote participants through Livestream (Channel 1). Go to http://www.unbc.ca/nres-institute/colloquium-webcasts to view the presentation remotely.
Past NRESi colloquium presentations and special lectures can be viewed on our video archive, available here.