Migrating Birds at Musselwhite

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Migrating Birds at Musselwhite

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We celebrate @WMBD by sharing how migrating birds find breeding habitats in the boreal forests around Musselwhite. http://bit.ly/2qvTsPe
Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 12:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Our Planet. Our Choices. Our Legacy.

CONTENT: Blog

Habitat loss, whether through natural or man-made causes, is one of the main triggers for the extinction of migratory birds and a main topic for this year’s World Migratory Bird Day, on May 10th. The boreal forest near Goldcorp’s Musselwhite Mine, 480 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ontario is characterized by fast-growing deciduous trees and slow-growing conifers. Its harsh winters and short, productive summers make it a breeding destination for many migrating birds, including the Common Nighthawk, currently listed as threatened under Canada's Species at Risk Act.

Although significant populations may exist in Canada's boreal forest, the Common Nighthawk and their habitats have not been well surveyed or researched. Following a forest fire in the area in 2011, Shane Matson, Sustainability Manager at Musselwhite, supervised a research project at the mine undertaken by Gabriel Foley, a Masters student at the University of Regina, to evaluate whether the habitat created by forest fires affects the presence, feeding, and reproductive habits of nighthawks.

Gabriel’s research took place over the course of the summers of 2015 and 2016, and supported the theory that bare ground and open space created by forest fire would promote nesting and feeding by the Common Nighthawk.

“Understanding how these birds use forests after fire will help Musselwhite’s managers and employees understand where nighthawks are likely to occur in the boreal forest, how this habitat compares to conventional habitats, and how their short and long-term population will be affected by fires,” said Shane. “The collection of data also showed how nighthawks are known to use gravel roads as a temporary roost site after dark, and existing patterns found on our roads on site will help us identify their roosting spots and avoid unnecessary road mortalities.”

Through this Common Nighthawk research project, Musselwhite Mine has broadened its biodiversity management plans and employees have been educated on a species at risk and relevant research on it. With these efforts, Musselwhite has made the mine even more respected and welcomed by the public, by local First Nations, and by the community.

Keywords: Environment | Common Nighthawk | Environment | Goldcorp | Musselwhite | Wildlife Conservation | birds | migration

CAMPAIGN: Our Planet. Our Choices. Our Legacy.

CONTENT: Blog