Bird populations significantly declining around Revelstoke says Parks Canada

Parks Canada started monitoring bird populations in the mountain parks in 2007. (Photo by Parks Canada)Parks Canada started monitoring bird populations in the mountain parks in 2007. (Photo by Parks Canada)
The black-capped chickadee has the fastest rate of decline in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National park at more than 39 per cent a year. (Photo by Ashley Hillman)The black-capped chickadee has the fastest rate of decline in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National park at more than 39 per cent a year. (Photo by Ashley Hillman)
Evening Grosbeak populations are stable. (Photo by Ashley Hillman)Evening Grosbeak populations are stable. (Photo by Ashley Hillman)
A hermit thrush on Mount Revelstoke. (Photo by Don Manson)A hermit thrush on Mount Revelstoke. (Photo by Don Manson)
Pine Siskins are in steep decline across North America. (Photo by Ashely Hillman)Pine Siskins are in steep decline across North America. (Photo by Ashely Hillman)
The red-breasted nuthatch has the largest decline within the last 10 years in the Revelstoke area. However, Parks Canada noted the bird is increasing provincially. (Photo by Ashley Hillman)The red-breasted nuthatch has the largest decline within the last 10 years in the Revelstoke area. However, Parks Canada noted the bird is increasing provincially. (Photo by Ashley Hillman)

Bird populations in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park are significantly declining according to Parks Canada.

Out of the mountain national parks, including Jasper, Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Park, bird populations near Revelstoke are in the worst shape, declining at more than 25 per cent annually.

“We don’t know the causes for the local decline,” said Lisa Larson, biologist with the ecological integrity monitoring program for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park.

Lisa Larson is studying bird populations in the mountain national parks. (Photo by Parks Canada)

While Parks Canada is still investigating, Larson said it could partially be due to what’s happening beyond the parks’ boundaries. The Selkirk Mountains are riddled with logging cuts and signs of industry.

“We’re a national park, we don’t have much disturbance,” Larson said.

READ MORE: ‘You’re sitting on a jewel, Revelstoke’: Wilderness society proposes new park

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Highway 1 improvements restoring fish habitat in Glacier National Park

Other reasons, said Larson could include a reduction of understory and fire suppression, which makes the forest less diverse. Also climate change. Perhaps the winter snows are melting at a different time in the spring, which in turn impacts insect and seed availability for birds.

“Maybe the timing is off,” said Larson.

More than 20 per cent of bird species in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park are declining, as are 90 per cent of bird guilds. Guilds are groups of species that use the same resources in a similar manner, such as nectar feeders, seed-eaters, and insect-eating birds.

Bird species in serious decline include chipping sparrow, fox sparrow, hermit thrush, Swainson’s thrush, varied thrush, Wilson’s warbler, black-capped chickadee, gray jay, red-breasted nuthatch and red crossbill.

Of particular concern are forest bird species, compared to alpine species which Larson said are “doing good”.

Parks Canada started monitoring bird populations in the mountain parks in 2007. (Photo by Parks Canada)

However, according to the most recent State of the Parks report, the alpine as an ecotype in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park is poor due to declining caribou populations and receding glaciers. It noted there is a lack of research regarding alpine birds.

Parks Canada started monitoring bird populations in the mountain parks in 2007. While Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park’s bird populations are characterized as poor, Jasper/Banff/Kootenay National Park birds are fair. However, even there more than 10 per cent of bird populations are declining.

Yoho is the only mountain national park where bird populations are defined as good.

A study published earlier this year found since 1970, North America has lost 3 billion birds.

That study notes birds provide important benefits to ecosystems, such as pest control, pollination and seed dispersal.

Varied thrush. (Photo by Parks Canada)

Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks are two of the only places in Canada where four different species of chickadees live: chestnut-backed, black-capped, boreal and mountain chickadees.

In total, there are 183 bird species in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park.


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Penticton Western News editor Monique Tamminga got her Astra Zeneca vaccine on Monday, May 3, 2021 at a Penticton pharmacy. Vaccines and appointments are available at most Penticton pharmacies this week.
More than 22K Penticton residents vaccinated

More than 35,000 people jabbed in South Okanagan so far

Weekly cases for the South Okanagan rose over April 25 to May 1, particularly in Summerland, according the map from the BC Centre for Disease Control. (BC CDC)
COVID-19 cases more than double in Summerland

Summerland currently has the highest per capita daily case rate

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NeighbourLink Summerland will hold its 2021 fundraising dinner and auction as an online event. (Stock photo)
NeighbourLink Summerland holds online dinner fundraiser

Virtual event and auction will be held on May 27

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

Fun in Penticton is being promoted through banners going up along Main and Westminster. (Suzanne White Western News)
Banners go up in downtown celebrating fun in Penticton

From beach or biking time to dining or shopping, the banners promote things to do

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,000 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

A screenshot of the pathway’s construction. (City of Kelowna)
Okanagan Rail Trail to be extended to downtown Kelowna waterfront

Construction of the pathway is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 10

B.C. average home price and sales level to 2023, showing steep drop in sales expected next year. (Central 1)
Forecast calls for B.C. home sales to ‘explode,’ then drop off

Average price to rise another 10% in 2021, credit unions say

Central Okanagan recorded 174 cases throughout the week of April 25 to May 1. (BCCDC/Contributed)
Weekly COVID-19 numbers continue to decrease in Central Okanagan

The Central Okanagan had 174 cases from April 25 to May 1

RCMP did not commit offense in arrest which seriously injured Lake Country man, finds IIO. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
Vernon police didn’t use excessive force in domestic takedown: Watchdog

‘One stepped on him and one had his knee in his neck,’ woman told IIO

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Sullivan Mack gets a boost into West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick from Warriors forward Tyson Jugnauth during West Kelowna’s 5-4 B.C. Hockey League pod play win Wednesday, May 5, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors hold on to edge Silverbacks

Warriors up three with five minutes to go, give up two late goals but end up with 5-4 BCHL win over Salmon Arm

A fifth wheel fire came dangerously close to a Lake Country home Wednesday afternoon. (Lake Country Fire Department photo)
RCMP, neighbours save Okanagan house from fire

Fifth wheel up in flames next to home

Members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (File photo)
B.C.-wide #DayOfMusic to feature 100-plus free virtual concerts May 15

‘Our colleagues across the province have figured out new ways to perform and connect,’ VSO boss says

Most Read