Exploring the connections between the Canadian prairies, prairie producers, and birds

Birds Canada 3-Part Series

2021-06-15
by CRSB

The importance of partnerships and collaboration are so important, evidenced by organizations like Birds Canada who throw their support to initiatives of others, which lends credibility.

The Prairies, with their rich biodiversity, make up one of the most important ecosystems for birds in North America. Birds Canada has a three-part series exploring the connections between the Canadian Prairies, prairie producers, and birds. 

Article 1: Prairies an ideal setting for an iconic cast of birds
The Prairie region is one of the big meeting places for birds in Canada. In spring and summer, pastures flutter with grassland specialists that are unique to and reliant upon North America’s grasslands. Waterfowl and shorebirds use the prairie “potholes” as havens to raise their young and find food in the shallow waters. And swallows pluck flying insects right out of the sky above these wetlands. Hawks and other predatory birds like Loggerhead Shrikes use the trees and shrubs along creeks and rivers to scan the prairie for their next meal.

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Article 2: Livestock producers are powerful allies for grassland birds
Prairie plants and animals evolved alongside free-roaming bison and the pressure of their continuous grazing. With the loss of the bison, cattle and other livestock are now filling the niche of the grazer, which is vital to the health of the prairie ecosystem. Grazing livestock maintain the variety of vegetation heights that grassland birds need, enhance the diversity of plants, and even improve carbon sequestration. The vast majority of the remaining grasslands in Canada are owned by cattle and livestock producers.

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Article 3: How your purchasing decisions can help grassland and prairie birds
Along with being important to a huge diversity of birds, the Prairies are an agricultural working landscape that produces a tremendous amount of food for Canadians and people all over the world. On the Canadian Prairies, grazing livestock like beef cows can provide the habitat conditions that grassland birds need, and livestock producers are key to keeping this endangered grassland ecosystem intact. So, if you choose to eat beef, consider purchasing from Canadian producers to support production systems that provide critical habitat for grassland birds.

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