“There are those species that live even farther north, in the northern edge of the boreal forest. When that climate space disappears, it’s gone. The set of conditions they need may no longer exist. And when that’s gone will the birds go with it?”
Known as the bird nursery of North America, the boreal forest is home to an estimated 8 billion songbirds. Biologist Erin Bayne has made the boreal his second home. With his ATV and an intrepid crew of young researchers. He is seeking the answer to a complicated question: what is the overall impact of human activity on boreal songbirds? Many Boreal songbirds, including Olive-Sided Fly-Catcher and the Canada Warbler are already considered species-at-risk. With farmers’ fields eating up enormous swaths of forest, industry cutting it to bits and creating deadly levels of noise pollution, and climate change forcing the birds to shift their ranges further north, Erin wonders if the birds that are left will be able to keep up with the change.
Dr. Erin Bayne is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Science, University of Alberta.