Celebrating 100 years of protecting birds in North America

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Hello friends! My name is Chester, and I’m a Canada Goose. I’ve got lots of hobbies, mostly ones that involve floating and quacking, but my all-time favourite has to be travelling. What can I say – I’m a regular globetrotter!

I make travel plans every spring to fly from the southern United States and northern Mexico allllll the way back up north to Canada. Once my summer trip in Canada is up, I head back down south before winter begins.

That’s because I’m a migratory bird!

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You must be wondering: what’s a migratory bird doing travelling around right now? It’s August!

You’re right, but today is a special day – so special I decided to take a break from my busy trip and spring to action. SO special that I thought rather than sending out a “tweet” online, I should show up in person! ….er….in bird.

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Today, August 16th, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the convention for the protection of migratory birds! A convention is an agreement between two or more groups, and in this case the Migratory Birds Convention is an agreement signed by Canada and the United States to protect and conserve populations of migratory birds. Sadly, this agreement only came to be after species like the Labrador Duck and the Passenger Pigeon went extinct thanks to years of overhunting – but the Convention means that many of my migratory bird friends are still flying high with healthy populations year after year!

Why protect migratory birds?

Friends, I get it. As geese, we can be annoying. Maybe you’ve stepped in bird poop once or twice… or perhaps you’ve been one of the unlucky ones that ends up on the wrong end of a mid-flight bathroom break… or maybe we’ve given you a less than polite honk on occasion… but don’t forget: migratory birds are really important! We’re great indicators of environmental health, we connect people to nature through activities like bird-watching, and we do lots for the environment – did you know birds are good for pollination, disease and pest control, and seed dispersal?!

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All over Canada, different organizations are joining in the celebration! Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation just featured me in a video about migratory birds – I’m a total movie star now! And, the Royal Canadian Mint is releasing a series of four collectible coins featuring some of my greatest pals, like Willy the Woodpecker and Gary the Goldfinch – both of whom have benefited from the Migratory Birds Convention!

Want to do your part to help?

Check out Parks Canada’s top ten birdwatching destinations to see some of these amazing animals in action, help hungry birds refuel on their long migrations by accepting the For the Birds Mission to build a bird feeder, or take the Bird Year Pledge along with hundreds of other Canadians and Americans !

Until next time…

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