We hope that the summer months are treating you well. We have been thinking a lot about the wildfires and extreme weather that have swept across much of the country recently, and hoping for the best for communities and wildlife that are affected.
Work has not slowed over the summer months for the KBA Canada program, and the KBA team is gearing up for the final push towards submitting proposals for all species-based KBAs in Canada by the end of 2024. Work on proposing KBAs for ecosystems continues at a slower pace, although a significant milestone was reached recently as Manitoba’s Maple Ridge Alvar became the first ecosystem KBA proposal to reach the final review stage by stakeholders and rights holders. Ontario’s globally significant ecosystems in places like Napanee Limestone Plains and Prince Edward County South Shore are among the next batch of Candidate KBAs to highlight rare and threatened ecosystems.
The KBA Canada team has also been busy presenting on their work at various conference and meetings over the last few months. From the American Ornithological Society conference to the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution and the Ontario Nature annual meeting, staff from Birds Canada and WCS Canada’s KBA teams have been promoting the KBA work and sharing some of the exciting details and research underpinning the work.
As sun, warm weather, and summer continues, this is a perfect time to consider visiting KBAs near you. While the rare and threatened species at most KBAs may be hard to spot (but don’t let that stop you from safely and respectfully searching!), there’s a host of other biodiversity within KBAs that is also worth looking for.
The Key Biodiversity Areas of Canada iNaturalist project is a fantastic gateway to learning more about the broader biodiversity within KBAs. The project is a hub connecting the iNaturalist pages for all confirmed KBAs in Canada and we’ll be adding new KBAs to the project regularly.
Search for your favorite KBA or candidate KBA through the main KBAs of Canada project, or by typing its name in the search bar. For example, you can use the leaderboard on the KBAs of Canada page to find the KBA with the most observations (Fraser River Estuary KBA) or search for a specific KBA near you, like the Bickford Oak Woods KBA.
Join the main KBAs of Canada project and your favorite individual site projects to save the project to your personal iNaturalist profile, and keep updated on news and sightings in the KBAs. Join a project using the button to the right of the “About” section at the top of project pages.
Site projects will collect observations submitted within the site boundaries automatically. They will even collect past sightings, so feel welcome to upload your old photo sightings of species as well. iNaturalist projects do not show observations of very threatened or sensitive species so these will be missing in species counts, but the data will still be accessible to researchers like those at KBA Canada with special data sharing agreements with iNaturalist Canada.
If a KBA or Candidate KBA page is missing a banner photo and you have a photo of the site that you would like to share, please contact us to have this added to the project and help showcase the beauty of these sites.
The Baie de Gaspé KBA is a globally and nationally significant area for birds like Long-tailed Duck, Northern Gannet, and Brant, which especially depend on the site during winter and during migration. But in the summer, the site supports a host of other species, from other threatened birds like Common Eider, to plants like Sea Milkwort and invertebrates like the antlered Red Megacerus weevil or the colorful Round-necked Longhorn Beetle. As of writing, 708 species have been spotted on iNaturalist within this site. If you’re in the area this summer, why not see how many you can find, or even try to add new species to this list!
We are always looking for more stories about KBAs and the fascinating species within them. If you have a story about a KBA or a potential KBA species that you’d like to share, write to us at KBA Canada.
As always, please get in touch if you have questions or if you want to learn more.
Canada Key Biodiversity Areas Assessment and Outreach Coordinator / Coordonnateur de l’évaluation et de la sensibilisation des zones clés pour la biodiversité