Migratory bird connections between Europe and Canada

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University of New Brunswick


Many bird migration movements are undertaken annually with millions of birds migrating from breeding to non-breeding areas. Some birds migrate a short distance, while others fly for thousands of kilometers within a defined flyway. Regarding worldwide-scale migration journeys, only 52 species of migratory birds are identified as performing migration movements on the Eastern Atlantic Flyway between North America and mainland Europe. Seabirds and waterfowl outnumber other migratory birds with, respectively, 44% and 25% of total migrants, whereas shorebirds and landbirds are the least common group, at 17% and 13%, respectively. In addition, at least 17% of migrants found in the Eastern Atlantic Flyway undertake atypical migration journeys by shifting en route from their normal migration ranges and by changing or extending migration grounds. The Eastern Atlantic Flyway includes the large Atlantic Ocean which counts approximately 5,119 km wide between mainland Europe and North America, and that distance of relatively inhospitable water would act as an ecological barrier, particularly to non-seabirds. However, various islands, such as Greenland, Iceland, and Spanish Canary Islands act as resting/staging areas, and functionally as stepping stones, for those individuals traversing the Ocean. In the end, this research recommends further research to assess the impact of climate change on migration phenomenon along the Eastern Atlantic Flyway. In addition, the lower number of migratory shorebirds present in this corridor, together with the limited migration movements of landbirds in Greenland and Iceland, are the fields of research. After analyzing various aspects of habitat management that include legal, technical, and feasibility frameworks together with the perspective of property rights, this research furthermore recommends that the integration of PES into migratory birds' habitat conservation initiatives would increase species and habitat management status along the migration flyway.