Bird populations significantly declining around Revelstoke says Parks Canada

Parks Canada started monitoring bird populations in the mountain parks in 2007. (Photo by Parks Canada)
The black-capped chickadee has the fastest rate of decline in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National park at more than 39 per cent a year. (Photo by Ashley Hillman)
Evening Grosbeak populations are stable. (Photo by Ashley Hillman)
A hermit thrush on Mount Revelstoke. (Photo by Don Manson)
Pine Siskins are in steep decline across North America. (Photo by Ashely Hillman)
The red-breasted nuthatch has the largest decline within the last 10 years in the Revelstoke area. However, Parks Canada noted the bird is increasing provincially. (Photo by Ashley Hillman)

Bird populations in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park are significantly declining according to Parks Canada.

Out of the mountain national parks, including Jasper, Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Park, bird populations near Revelstoke are in the worst shape, declining at more than 25 per cent annually.

“We don’t know the causes for the local decline,” said Lisa Larson, biologist with the ecological integrity monitoring program for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park.

Lisa Larson is studying bird populations in the mountain national parks. (Photo by Parks Canada)

While Parks Canada is still investigating, Larson said it could partially be due to what’s happening beyond the parks’ boundaries. The Selkirk Mountains are riddled with logging cuts and signs of industry.

“We’re a national park, we don’t have much disturbance,” Larson said.

READ MORE: ‘You’re sitting on a jewel, Revelstoke’: Wilderness society proposes new park

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Highway 1 improvements restoring fish habitat in Glacier National Park

Other reasons, said Larson could include a reduction of understory and fire suppression, which makes the forest less diverse. Also climate change. Perhaps the winter snows are melting at a different time in the spring, which in turn impacts insect and seed availability for birds.

“Maybe the timing is off,” said Larson.

More than 20 per cent of bird species in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park are declining, as are 90 per cent of bird guilds. Guilds are groups of species that use the same resources in a similar manner, such as nectar feeders, seed-eaters, and insect-eating birds.

Bird species in serious decline include chipping sparrow, fox sparrow, hermit thrush, Swainson’s thrush, varied thrush, Wilson’s warbler, black-capped chickadee, gray jay, red-breasted nuthatch and red crossbill.

Of particular concern are forest bird species, compared to alpine species which Larson said are “doing good”.

Parks Canada started monitoring bird populations in the mountain parks in 2007. (Photo by Parks Canada)

However, according to the most recent State of the Parks report, the alpine as an ecotype in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park is poor due to declining caribou populations and receding glaciers. It noted there is a lack of research regarding alpine birds.

Parks Canada started monitoring bird populations in the mountain parks in 2007. While Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park’s bird populations are characterized as poor, Jasper/Banff/Kootenay National Park birds are fair. However, even there more than 10 per cent of bird populations are declining.

Yoho is the only mountain national park where bird populations are defined as good.

A study published earlier this year found since 1970, North America has lost 3 billion birds.

That study notes birds provide important benefits to ecosystems, such as pest control, pollination and seed dispersal.

Varied thrush. (Photo by Parks Canada)

Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks are two of the only places in Canada where four different species of chickadees live: chestnut-backed, black-capped, boreal and mountain chickadees.

In total, there are 183 bird species in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park.


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Back in play: Columbia Shuswap Regional District reopening playgrounds

Signs with reminders about COVID-19 regulations will be posted

RCMP seek to identify person of interest in Salmon Arm arson investigation

Police believe a June 4 residential garage fire was deliberately set

Salmon Arm demonstrators show unity with Black Lives Matter movement

Participants speak out against systemic racism and targeting of vulnerable populations

Revelstoke, North Okanagan RCMP team up to nab Alberta man, stolen BMW

Helicopter, dogs used in North Okanagan highway arrest

Salmon Arm West bridge construction expected to begin in fall 2020

Budget for Highway 1 project up $20 million over intial 2016 estimate

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Limit gun capacity to five bullets, victims group urges Trudeau government

Current limits are generally five bullets for hunting rifles and shotguns and 10 for handguns.

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

COVID-19: Closed B.C. businesses allowed to sell liquor stock

Sales allowed to other licensees that can reopen

Trudeau to offer premiers billions to help reopen the economy safely

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Penticton Search and Rescue respond to six calls in less than a week

Two hikers rescued in early morning search near Greyback Lake latest in series of searches

Most Read