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Using the Bird-friendliness Index to assess impacts of Best Management Practices for grassland conversion

Birds Canada

Silke Nebel

April 2021 - March 2023

Goal: Biodiversity

Audience: Cow-Calf, NGOs

Project Type: Demonstration

Location: Prairies

Birds Canada is developing a new monitoring protocol to assess impact of conservation initiatives in prairie grasslands. It is based on the Bird-friendliness Index (BFI), which is a measure for the quality of grassland habitat for birds. The BFI, developed by the National Audubon Society (US), incorporates density estimates of grassland birds and is weighted by conservation need. It increases as habitat quality improves and can therefore be used as a measure for the impact of conservation actions. The BFI is standardized on a scale from 0 to 1, making it an easily understood metric by all stakeholders.

We are working with our conservation partners in Manitoba (Manitoba Habitat Heritage Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Souris River Watershed District) and Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Stock Growers Foundation) to assess the impact Best Management Practices have on grassland birds. We are monitoring grassland birds at participating farms and ranches via a combination of professional biologist, Autonomous Recording Units and volunteer citizen scientists. This work is made possible with the generous support of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Foundation, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Project Learning Tree Canada, A&W Regenerative Agriculture Fund, the Weston Foundation and the Manitoba Ministry of Agriculture and Resource Development.

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