Birds are important for keeping ecosystems healthy. The many different kinds, or species, of birds in B.C. live in all kinds of habitats, provide food for many other species, and eat many different kinds of plants and animals themselves.
Birds are also important to the economy. Recreational hunters seek out wild birds like ducks, geese, pheasants and grouse. These and other birds provide food for many British Columbians. Bird-watching is an extremely popular recreational activity, and people are drawn to areas where birds congregate.
Many of B.C.’s bird species are migratory—they spend part of the year in other places in North America and beyond. As they migrate, they can carry diseases across great distances. Those diseases can infect birds here in B.C., and sometimes they can also infect people. We call diseases that infect birds “avian” diseases.
For all of these reasons—taking care of our ecosystems, supporting our economy, and protecting the health of both bird and human populations—we know that it is important to learn about birds and to protect them. Therefore, we
- Monitor overall bird population trends, or changes in how many there are in B.C. from year to year
- Track the general health of all bird species
- Work with other groups to screen for specific diseases in certain bird groups