The Island Nature Trust is listening for forest birds across P.E.I. to find out which ones are here and where they can be found.
The group has installed seven autonomous recording units across the Island. One has been placed in Alaska, P.E.I. and pairs of two are set up in three other locations — with one device in a managed forest and the other in a natural forest environment in each of those three regions.
"We're hoping that by seeing which species are present and which species are using these habitats, that we can kind of target our conservation efforts to more of these similar habitat types," said Island Nature Trust land stewardship coordinator Amy Frost-Wicks.
"And then hopefully we'll be conserving the habitat that these birds use, making their journey migrating from south to P.E.I. and then back south again just a little bit easier and giving them some more breeding habitat."
Building a collection
The recording units pick up on breeding birds that may be present in the forested areas and are calling to each other — typically at dawn and dusk.
"We're hoping that over time we can kind of have a collection of the birds that have been calling at those times, and using that, we can kind of identify the species that are using these areas."
The Island Nature Trust decided to set up pairs of recording devices near the Midgell River and Morell River and along the Afton Road. Each location has one device in an untouched, natural forest habitat and the other in a managed forest used for harvesting timber, where it's likely a plantation with only a single species of tree.
"Scientists have been realizing that we've been seeing dramatic declines in forest bird populations all over the world," Frost-Wicks said.
"Birds are very sensitive to environmental changes, and so if we're losing bird species, it's kind of indicative of larger overall environmental change that is a very serious problem."
The seventh recorder is at the nature trust's Acadian Marshes - Percival River Salt Marsh Natural Area in Alaska, P.E.I.
"If you're hiking or outside at the beach even, a lot of times you can hear these really pretty little bird songs," said Frost-Wicks.
"It just adds to the whole ambience and the whole niceness of the experience."
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