Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac : Bird Protection Quebec awards a contribution of 60,000$ towards important migration monitoring programs


Les Bergeronnes, 4 APRIL 2017—A significant financial support has been generously offered to the Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac (OOT) on behalf of Bird Protection Quebec. These funds are dedicated to an ongoing major research program and to the implementation of a novel tracking method of a species at risk. This grant is the most significant contribution made by a charitable organization to the OOT since its inception in 1993. A donation totalling 60,000$ will be awarded over three (3) years, representing a per annum sum of 20,000$.



Festival 037_mod

A female Rusty Blackbird banded at Tadoussac

The main program to receive funding involves monitoring Rusty Blackbirds, whose population has undergone a precipitous decline (85%) since the mid-1960s, and are now considered a species at risk. Gaining knowledge on the migration routes used by this species has been outlined as a conservation research priority by the Canadian government. The OOT is ideally situated to capture and track 60 of these birds (20 per year), thanks to technological advances, as they exit the boreal forest en route to the southern United States.

The tracking method is based on VHF radio signals, which are emitted by a lightweight device harnessed to a migratory bird. As it goes about its fall movements, a network of fixed receptor antennae, erected across the United States and Canada over the past five years, will enable a precise mapping of this bird’s trajectory. This network, known as the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, is one of the most ambitious bird monitoring projects in the world. At the OOT, emitters have been placed on numerous Catharus thrushes (of the American Robin family) since 2014, and the preliminary results are mesmerizing. The data to be collected on Rusty Blackbirds will shed new light on their actual routes and migration strategies.



The second component of this grant aims to maintain our very first banding project at Tadoussac: the long-term monitoring of Northern Saw-whet and Boreal Owls. This research aspect, running since 1996, is perhaps the most loved by visitors who get the unique opportunity to see these adorable creatures up-close-and-personal. Data collected over 20 years have shown that the Boreal Owl has a notable peak in movements to points south of the boreal forest, following a 4 to 5-year cycle. This year, the OOT will partner once more with the Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay to offer an interpretation activity in harmony with the mist-netting of these owls.



The contribution put forward by Bird Protection Quebec is of inestimable help to the work carried out by the Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac. Pascal Côté, director of the bird observatory, states that finding adequate funding for research-based activities has become a true challenge in recent years. This contribution over three years is thus very important for the OOT, particularly in what applies to the study of the Rusty Blackbird, a species of pressing conservation concern.

For information and communication

Pascal Côté, director
Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac
Corporation Explos-Nature
Telephone : 1-877-637-1877

Link to an animation highlighting the trajectories of migrant thrushes equipped with emitters at Tadoussac in fall 2015:

To download the press release in pdf format, click here.