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PNS Daily Newscast - November 16, 2018 


Winter Storm Avery takes lives, puts the brakes on commutes across the Northeast. Also on our Friday rundown: A first-of-its-kind report calls for policies to ease transitions of young people living in foster care. And "got gratitude" this holiday season? It could benefit your health.

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Greater Protections Needed for North America’s Bird Nursery

PHOTO: An estimated 80 percent of the North American population of the dark-eyed junco species breeds within the boreal forest of Canada. Photo credit: Jeff Nadler
PHOTO: An estimated 80 percent of the North American population of the dark-eyed junco species breeds within the boreal forest of Canada. Photo credit: Jeff Nadler
May 6, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas - They provide benefits for everything from the economy to the ecology, and a new report finds that the songbirds now migrating north from Texas need more protections in their summer nesting grounds.

Iliana Pena, director of conservation Audubon Texas, says the birds are headed to Canada's boreal forest - also known as "North America's bird nursery."

"That's their breeding range, and without good breeding habitat you just don't get the production and the recruitment of young for your next generation," Pena says, "so it's very important."

The report from the Boreal Songbird Initiative and Ducks Unlimited concludes that to maintain healthy bird populations, at least half of the boreal forest region must remain free of large-scale industrial disturbance.

Among the threats to the boreal forest are mining, oil and gas and other development. Pena says habitat loss is also being driven by climate change.

"Unfortunately as our temperatures get warmer, our habitat tends to be creeping northward for some species," she explains. "For some species, like some of our boreal species, that creeping can only go so far north. So you begin to see a limiting of habitat for those birds."

The vast majority of the boreal forest is in Canada, but Jeff Wells, science and policy director, Boreal Songbird Initiative, says the U.S. has a stake in its protection and must give that a voice.

"There are ways for us to let people in Canada know that we think the boreal forest and its careful management is important to us, that we recognize the shared bird resource, and we encourage companies and governments to balance development and conservation," Wells says.

Some 3 billion birds flock to the boreal forest each spring, representing more than 300 species. In addition, the forest harbors many of the world's last healthy populations of large predators, including grizzly bears, wolverine, timber wolves and polar bears.

The report, "Boreal Birds Need Half: Maintaining North America's Bird Nursery and Why it Matters," is at http://borealbirds.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX