‘The love of birds’

A cedar waxwing seen nesting, a notable breeding behaviour. Photo credit: Harold Fisher

Committed birders from across the region converged on Prince Albert last Tuesday for an important briefing. They plan to devote five years of bird watching to the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas.

The volunteers will help survey nearly 7,000 ten by ten kilometre squares across the province, keeping their eyes and ears open to record the abundance of breeding birds.

Currently, Saskatchewan is one of only two provinces that lack a breeding bird atlas. According to regional coordinator Harold Fisher, the resource will benefit government and industry by giving them a clear picture of where birds are under stress.

“It gives us a pretty good snapshot of how the birds are breeding,” he said, “how the populations are changing and just how other factors – agriculture, climate change – are affecting our species diversity in the province.”

The Prince Albert briefing was the first time the project’s foot soldiers assembled anywhere in the province. Twenty-seven of them showed up, ready to volunteer countless hours to the project.

For Jeannie Walker, the motivation is clear: “the love of birds.”

For more on this story, see the March 28 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.