Birds of Newfoundland and Labrador

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Newfoundland and Labrador is home to a wealth of wildlife species, both native and introduced. For generations, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have taken pride and pleasure in the bountiful nature that surrounds them. Educating yourself and others about the wildlife that surrounds you is one of the best ways to feel connected to that heritage and to the natural world around you. 

 

Newfoundland is truly a bird watchers paradise. More than 360 species of birds have been spotted here, ranging from resident birds, which stay year-round, to migratory breeders to visiting species and the unusual rarities that drop by en route to other destinations.

With 35 million seabirds visiting Newfoundland every summer, Newfoundland is often referred to as the ‘Seabird capital of North America’. Among the most frequent seabird species are petrels, kittiwakes, murres, razorbills, Northern gannets and puffins.

The forested regions on Newfoundland are home to a great number of smaller bird species, like woodpeckers, blackbirds, sparrows, tits, finches and warblers.

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Newfoundland and Labrador Breeding Bird Atlas

A Breeding Bird Atlas is a project that maps the distribution and relative abundance of breeding birds over a large geographic area such as a province, state, or country. Atlases follow a standardized methodology and are designed to be repeated at 20-year intervals, which allows changes in bird populations to be tracked over time.

 

Newfoundland’s first Breeding Bird Atlas will be an open access, comprehensive digital account of the status of breeding birds on the island. The Newfoundland Atlas will provide an invaluable resource for industry, government, conservation organizations, academic institutions, and the general public, for purposes spanning the spectrum from conservation planning and environmental assessments to environmental education and research projects.

Birds are good indicators of environmental health because they are conspicuous, occur in all ecoregions and habitats, and respond quickly to environmental stressors and habitat change. As a result, Breeding Bird Atlases have tremendous potential for monitoring not just bird populations but other biological and environmental changes.

Bird atlases are large, complex, multi-year, and multi-collaborator efforts, requiring not only professional staff but large numbers of volunteers, all working together to contribute data over a large geographic area. A volunteer citizen network enables scientists to accomplish tasks that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. By collecting and submitting data in a coordinated fashion, where and when they are able, citizen scientists make a concrete contribution to conservation science for birds across the country.

Anyone with a pair of binoculars and birdwatching experience, or even a desire to learn about birds, can participate! However, it does help to have some experience and familiarity with how to identify birds. If you'd like to participate or would like to know more, please contact Dr. Catherine Dale of Birds Canada at cdale@birdscanada.org or directly through the Atlas Office at nlatlas@birdscanada.org.

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Resources

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