Thirty scientists, conservationists, and resource managers are coming together in Ottawa to apply the best, most-recent science and problem-solving to halt the decline of the threatened Canada Warbler. Nature Canada is convening the workshop with the support of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Environment Canada, BirdLife International, Swarovski Optik, and Weyerhaeuser.
Compared with the mid-1960s, today there is only one Canada Warbler where there were once three. This two-thirds population decline didn't happen suddenly. On average, the population dropped by about 2.3% per year across North America between 1966 and 2013, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. This long-term decline won't respond to short-term fixes.
"We are pleased that Nature Canada is convening this event and bringing us all together to focus on the Canada Warbler," said Andrew de Vries, SFI vice-president, Conservation and Indigenous Relations. "The SFI standard requires Program Participants to have programs in place for species at risk, so this workshop can help define what those programs may look like, and directly benefit the Canada Warbler."
The Canada Warbler is a forest-dependent species, so it bodes well that both SFI and Weyerhaeuser, an SFI Program Participant and tenure holder in Canada Warbler breeding grounds, are among the partners supporting and participating in this workshop.
One of the great challenges in helping a species recover is determining the causes of its decline and then determining what can be done to stabilize the population. Is the problem in the breeding grounds, in the wintering grounds or along its migration route around the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean through Central America? Are there one or several factors behind the decline such as changing weather patterns, food scarcity or suitable habitats?
Although more than 80% of its breeding range is in Canada, the Canada Warbler also breeds in the Appalachians of the eastern United States. Canada Warblers migrate to the forested slopes of the Andes Mountains in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, where they stay from October to April.
"We know that many issues are likely affecting the Canada Warbler in its breeding grounds. At the end of this workshop, we will know better what we must do to help this species. We also expect that in helping the Canada Warbler, we will be able to help many other species that share the same habitats," said Ted Cheskey, Senior Conservation Manager, Nature Canada.
This workshop is part of the Canada Warbler International Conservation Initiative. Participants will be coming from across Canada and the eastern United States.