We were interested to hear the recent updates from the IUCN Red List and Birdlife International. Two of Manitoba’s most well-known species have been listed as Near Threatened. Under IUCN criteria, Near Threatened is the equivalent of Special Concern in Canada. This means that the declines in populations and range are significant, but not considered so significant that they warrant full endangered status.
The first of these species was no surprise, given the Eastern Whip-poor-will is a species which has been listed as Threatened under the Species At Risk Act in Canada for a few years. As an aerial insectivore, it is perhaps no surprise that it’s status has followed that of numerous other birds of this group. Loss of habitat is also thought to be a major contributory factor.
The second species to be listed was, quite frankly jaw-dropping, and extremely concerning. Common Grackles, birds considered by some, but not all, to be agricultural pests, and therefore a species which has been persecuted, have declined enough to be considered as globally Near Threatened. Just think about it – Common Grackles, of all species now require a global listing. That’s incredible! The figures used to come to this conclusion suggest a 50% decline between 1970 and 2014.
In better news, one of our favourite IBA birds, the Red-headed Woodpecker has lost its global Near Threatened status, and is now merely Least Concern. This is tremendous news, but we have a caveat. In April 2018, COSEWIC, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, voted to upgrade the species to Endangered in Canada. The mismatch seems odd, but presumably the species is doing much better in USA than Canada.
In other news, the IBA Canada website has just updated the Manitoba IBA profiles. This includes up-to-date information on the bird populations, some updates to the conservation status, and description of the area.
Of particular note are the following:
- We have changed the name of MB033 from Langruth-RM of Lakeview to Big Grass Marsh and Langruth IBA. This reflects the changing municipal status of the area, but now includes the marsh name.
- The boundary of MB011, Oak Lake and Plum Lakes IBA has been changed. By doing this, we removed some areas from north of the Assiniboine River, replacing them with the excellent Pipestone grasslands (Sprague’s Pipit, Loggerhead Shrike and Chestnut-collared Longspur abound in this area), and the large Franklin Gull colony in the Maple Lakes.
- MB100, Kinosota-Leifur has also had its boundary updated, to take in the best places for Red-headed Woodpecker in this area.
- Due to a geographic anomaly, we amalgamated four previous IBAs: MB66 North Channel Island IBA; MB67, Dory’s Reef IBA; MB70, South Long Island IBA and; MB98 Spruce Island Reef IBA. This is now known as the North Lake Winnipegosis Reefs IBA.
For those in a birdy nerdy mood, the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas, an absolutely stunning success, has now published the full accounts of every species on its website, in English and French. Take a look at the American White Pelican account for some very updated information about the total pelicans counted by Environment and Climate Change Canada at the North, West and East Shoal Lake IBA and the Dog Lake IBA in 2017 (click here).
Finally, we were saddened to hear a few months ago of the passing of Manitoba IBA volunteer, Dave Mayor. Dave, with his wife Pat, were regular attendees at many of our events, and he will be sorely missed. You can read more about Dave’s life here.