New England Avian Experts Monitor Impact of Wildfire Smoke
Thursday, August 3, 2023
Avian experts in New England say billions of birds have been affected by recent wildfires in Canada's boreal forest and the resulting plumes of smoke, but just how bird populations have changed remains to be seen.
Tens of millions of birds will migrate through the Northeast this fall and scientists will be monitoring their numbers.
Jeff Wells, vice president of boreal conservation for the National Audubon Society, said birds are especially sensitive to wildfire smoke and scientists predict a wide range of effects on their health.
"We don't really know how much of that is a lethal impact or how much of it is just a temporary effect," Wells acknowledged. "That may have slowed reproduction; caused issues in how many young they can produce."
Wells pointed out the Audubon Society is working with Indigenous communities on the front lines of the fires, using various mapping tools and bird density data sets to begin to understand any population changes, which ultimately affects our own environmental health.
The majority of birds New Englanders see during the fall migration come from the boreal forest, including dark-eyed juncos, white-throated sparrows and Cape May warblers.
Wells noted scientists will be paying close attention to the data collected at bird observatories and banding stations throughout the region.
"And we'll be watching that carefully to see if they notice a change in the numbers of any particular species, or timing, or less young birds," Wells outlined.
Wells added scientists will combine the data with information collected next summer when surveys are taken on bird breeding populations. Until then, he encouraged New Englanders to not only ensure their own backyards are bird friendly but to support communities just to the north, working to manage and protect the bird's vital boreal ecosystem.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
A bill moving through the Kentucky Legislature would make fluoride treatment in drinking water optional for local municipalities. House Bill 141 …
Most teenagers eagerly anticipate turning 16 to start driving and 21 for other milestones, but the significance of obtaining the right to vote at 18 …
New York state lawmakers have appointed members to the Community Commission on Reparations Remedies, created through legislation Gov. Kathy Hochul …
A new report argued many charitable foundations need to examine the origin of their wealth and repair harms done. The National Committee for …
A proposed urban reforestation program in Massachusetts aims to help cities mitigate the effects of climate change. Legislation would create a state …
A Wyoming nonprofit is helping single mothers climb out of poverty by connecting them with the training and support they need to step into and succeed…
Ahead of Super Tuesday, a new poll finds a majority of Mainers support replacing the Electoral College system with a national popular vote. More …
Even though March is barely underway, parents of Wisconsin kids are being encouraged to plan for summer reading activities - especially if their …