A wake-up call from nature

Study finds that species nearing extinction due to humans

Wintering birds are beginning to arrive.

Loons that nested in back country lakes gather off the ferry terminal. Ducks fly into Boundary Bay, and shorebirds skitter along the waters’ edge.

The Fraser delta provides ideal habitat for many different species of birds, whether they are stopping for the winter or moving through to warmer locations down south.

The importance of these habitats is revealed by Audubon’s new Birds and Climate Change report.

As the climate warms, North America’s interior wetlands are shrinking. Canada’s iconic Common Loon risks losing its prairie nesting areas. Bald eagles and trumpeter swans, recently recovered from severe population declines, are now threatened by wetland habitat loss from changing climate.

Audubon calculates that the bald eagle will lose 74 per cent of its breeding range by 2080; the trumpeter swan is projected to lose 100 per cent. Wintering areas will also be affected, and a warming climate will drive birds northward.

Canadian habitats are becoming more and more critical for bird survival.

Some southern birds are already here. The Anna’s Hummingbird, a Californian species, was rare in Delta until the 1990s. Today, it is common throughout the Lower Mainland, surviving thanks to milder winters and the availability of flowers, insects, and hummingbird feeders.

Caspian terns have also expanded their range northwards since the 1950s. These gull-like birds, with bright red bills, are now a common summer sight over Boundary Bay.

These species were adaptable, but not all birds will cope so well with changing climate.

The horned grebe is a small water bird that can sometimes be seen in winter diving for bait fish near the ferry causeway. It nests on lakes in the Great Plains and boreal forest of western Canada and Alaska, but it is in grave danger.

Audubon’s analysis predicts that it will lose 100 per cent of its summer range by 2080, ultimately dooming it to extinction.

The Audubon study took seven years to complete. It defines the climate conditions hundreds of bird species need to survive and maps where these conditions will exist in 2020, 2050 and 2080, compared with the baseline of 2000, if climate change continues at its current rate.

Of 588 species studied, more than half are in trouble, with 314 species losing more than 50 per cent of their current climatic range by 2080.

This important study should be a wake-up call for everyone on the effects of climate change on our planet’s wildlife.

Anne Murray, the author of two nature books available in local book stores, writes monthly in the Peace Arch News – www.natureguidesbc.com


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

Just Posted

Residents of 15156 Victoria Ave. say they’re at risk of losing their affordable housing, from left, Elizabeth Soper, Jack, Jane, Dan, Anthony. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock tenants, landlord to go to RTB hearing over ‘renoviction’

Low-income tenants dispute claim they must relocate for work to be completed

A woman crosses 176th Street in Cloverdale April 12, 2021. 176th will not host Cloverdale Market Days this year as the popular street fest is just the latest casualty in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale Market Days cancelled again

Organizer says popular street fest will return in 2022

Researchers say residents should leave sleeping bats alone while they exit hibernation. (Cathy Koot photo)
Spring ‘signal’ brings White Rock, Surrey bats out of hibernation

Community Bat Programs of BC says it’s best to leave sleeping bats alone

Marchers supporting Indian farmers rallied in Surrey last month, from Bear Creek Park to Holland Park along King George Boulevard. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey MP says mayor’s motion to support Indian farmers is his to make

“He has his own sovereignty, right,” Sukh Dhaliwal says

Crescent Beach Marina was ordered closed on April 12 due to COVID-19, according to Fraser Health. (Contributed photo)
Two South Surrey businesses among several shuttered for at least 10 days due to COVID-19

Fraser Health posting list of workplaces closed under new public health order

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada’s incoming supply of Moderna vaccine slashed in half through end of April

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Most Read