Annual Life Cycle Conservation

The boreal forest supports the greatest number of breeding birds in North America, an estimated 3 to 5 billion birds annually. However, most of these species spend a significant portion of their year outside the boreal region, with the vast majority being long-distance migrants that winter in the Caribbean Islands, and Central and South America. These migrant populations are affected not only by factors on the breeding grounds, but also by factors along their migratory routes and on their wintering grounds. In fact, populations of long-distance migrants are faring less well than boreal residents, which suggests that non-breeding ground factors are important population drivers. 

Currently, BAM is evaluating the relative contributions of climate and land-use changes on the breeding and non-breeding grounds to changes in density of boreal birds on the breeding grounds (Stralberg et al. In preparation). BAM scientists are also collaborating on projects examining connectivity between breeding and non-breeding populations, assessing population dynamics during the non-breeding season, and identifying those times of year during which population growth of boreal birds is limited. The results of this research will improve our understanding of what factors drive population change, which in turn will inform development of more effective conservation programs. 

Annual life-cycle conservation is a rich area for research development and BAM collectively holds expertise in many aspects of this field. Our boreal dataset also provides the best available information on breeding dynamics of boreal bird species. As such, BAM is well poised to make significant contributions in this field in the coming years. 

Bibliography of BAM-related work

Stralberg, D., S. L. Van Wilgenburg, S. Haché, J. D. Toms, P. Sólymos, E. M. Bayne, S. G. Cumming, and F. K. A. Schmiegelow. In preparation. Signals of breeding and wintering weather and forest change in boreal bird population fluctuations. The Condor.