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Boreal Forest

Born in the boreal

Up to five billion birds can be found in the boreal forest each year after breeding season

September 22, 2017
Born in the boreal
Nearly a quarter of mallards breed in Canada’s boreal forest. ©DUC

Northerners look to the sky with anticipation every spring.

Everyone is waiting for the first duck. After a long winter the boreal forest begins to thaw. People living in the region look forward to seeing that first bird on the horizon, knowing millions more will follow.

merganser
A merganser hen keeps watch from the nest box she’s claimed for her brood.
©DUC

The boreal provides a vast network of wetlands and waterways. It teems with life each summer in Canada’s north, hosting up to 40 per cent of the continent’s ducks each year.

goldeneye
A goldeneye hen leads her young brood across a wetland.
©Brian Wolitski

More than half of North America’s bufflehead, goldeneye, scoter, ring-necked duck, merganser, green-winged teal, scaup, and American wigeon populations nest in the region. Three to five billion birds emerge from the boreal each year after breeding season.

gosling
Not just ducks – the boreal provides essential breeding habitat for Canada geese, plus song birds, shorebirds and other water birds.
©Rey Garces

Building up strength starts in the boreal. Its life-giving waters provide food and shelter to prepare the younglings for the long journey ahead.

scaup
Lesser scaup can produce large broods and gather into bigger groups.
©Brian Wolitski

Science has proven that this forest is critical for North America’s waterfowl. It’s one of DUC’s two priority regions for conservation (the other being the prairie pothole region). Our goal is to ensure we conserve enough boreal habitat to support at least 11 million breeding ducks.

boreal wetland
Boreal wetlands give ducks a place to rest and fuel up for fall migration.
©DUC

As spring migration gets underway, Canadians look to the skies to welcome birds home.