Canadian Boreal Initiative Bird Study

Great Grey Owl
Great Grey Owl; CREDIT: Marcelo Pinheiro

With support from the Canadian Boreal Initiative, western science and indigenous knowledge were brought together in the summer of 2004. Ontario Nature worked in partnership with the Pikangikum, Slate Falls and Cat Lake First Nations to study the breeding bird populations in Ontario's north country.

Researchers also participated in an impromptu call-in radio show in Slate Falls, and met with young students in Cat Lake to talk about careers in biology, and described their time in the communities as "an amazing cross-cultural learning experience".

Some of the rare species recorded during the joint venture include the sharp-tailed sparrow, the great grey owl and the Connecticut warbler. A couple of southern species, the eastern wood-pewee and the American goldfinch, were also recorded outside of their known range.

Data collected on breeding birds can be used to inform land-use and protected areas planning. Breeding birds are easily and accurately monitored and are indicative of the overall health of a ecosystem.


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