In this issue: Nature Canada, map liking, featured site, maple syrup
YardMap header

The Dirt: News from YardMap
Joining together to break new ground for birds

May 2015

YardMap Grows Internationally

We're excited to announce YardMap's growing international reach. Last year YardMap entered into a partnership with the nonprofit Nature Canada. Founded in 1939, it is the oldest nature conservation charity in Canada and consists of more than 45,000 supporters and more than 350 nature organizations from every province. Nature Canada is also a Canadian co-partner in BirdLife International.

Nature Canada has helped protect more than 63 million acres of Canadian parks and wildlife areas, in addition to jointly overseeing Canada’s network of nearly 600 Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs).

To take this work into residential backyards and community landscapes, Nature Canada is invested in supporting citizen-science initiatives, and connecting urban Canadians to nature through its NatureHood program. Working with YardMap creates a mutually beneficial relationship that further encourages Canadian residents to engage in citizen science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology by mapping their yards and recording wildlife observations.  We are excited to see the growing network of landowners committed to maximizing native habitat in support of birds and other wildlife. We already have 600+ maps distributed throughout Canada.

This month Nature Canada launches its YardMap Initiative. Now, Canadian residents can access YardMap through the Nature Canada web page. In keeping with Canada’s official bilingualism, this part of the website is available in both English and French.  By mapping your property you are making an important contribution to science while learning more about modifying your landscape to best support birds and wildlife. We look forward to even more maps from the important forest, prairie, mountain, and coastal regions of this vast country that are critical to treasured birds and other wildlife.

Look for the like button in the navigation bar to the left of your map.

Use the YardMap "Like" Feature to Spread Goodwill to Great Maps

YardMap provides a platform where people's efforts to support wildlife through habitat changes, big and small, can be shared with researchers and others. Seeing how people around you are working toward this goal is powerful motivation to join the effort. With this in mind, we are (re)introducing you to the "Like" button in YardMap. It is one simple way to support our fellow wildlife gardeners, and encourage them when you like what you see.


Why not give it a try now?

Head over to YardMap and, if you like what you see, "Like" these three maps created or edited by a participant in the last six months. You may be giving this like-minded person the support they need to keep up their work. Feel free to leave a comment too!




You'll need to sign in, so here is a reminder of your citizen science log-in name: <<Citizen Scientist Login_Name>>
And if you happen to be someone who put time and effort into creating or editing a great map sometime in the last six months, check in at your site on YardMap to see if you've gotten any "Likes!"
Birds of Canada
Top five birds currently in the lead for Canada's National Bird contest.
Photos via Flickr: Mike Powers, Dave Inman, JanetandPhil, Shawn McCready  

Canada's National Bird Project

More than 450 species of birds call Canada home but not one of them is listed as the national bird! Not yet, anyway. For the upcoming sesquicentennial in 2017, the Royal Canadian Geographic Society is hosting a survey to designate a species that will officially represent Canada. Of the top five birds currently in the lead, which would you pick?


Conservation Halton Ontario, Canada

Conservation Halton
Outside the Conservation is native habitat. Photo by Brenda
Conservation Halton in Ontario, Canada, engages in innovative educational activities to help citizens understand the importance of creating habitat for wildlife. Brenda, a Natural Heritage Ecologist on staff, began YardMapping Conservation Halton on her lunch hour. She discovered YardMap is a great place to document the preservation efforts of the organization and to store important citizen-science data. The many conservationists and ecologists on staff identify more wildlife each year that are benefiting from Conservation Halton’s features such as the wildflower prairie, bioswale, and nest boxes. To learn more, read about their featured site and visit their YardMap.
Yellow-rumped Warbler in a Sugar Maple © Distant Hill Gardens

More Reasons to Love Maple Syrup

Many bird species respond negatively to habitat alterations from industrial forestry, but with the typical management practices in a maple syrup sugarbush operation, what’s good for the trees is also great for the birds!

Canada produces 80% of the world’s maple syrup supply, with Quebec and Ontario being the largest producers in the country. Together these provinces contain 37% of Canada’s forest and support a $27 billion timber industry. In a forestry-dependent economy it can be difficult to reconcile commercial land management with habitat conservation.

Fortunately, most of the sugarbush facilities in Canada are family owned and their management practices are consistent with bird conservation principles such as removing invasives, allowing standing snags, and providing brush piles. From single family businesses, to larger commercial operations, maple syrup producers naturally engage in a suite of conservation practices that promote biodiversity and ecological health. And that is sweet news for syrup and bird lovers everywhere!

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Greater Sage-Grouse. Photo by Gerrit Vyn

Watch “The Sagebrush Sea” on PBS NATURE

We hope you’ll tune in or set your DVR for a very special, important film airing this month. “The Sagebrush Sea” documentary is focused on wildlife and conservation in the threatened sagebrush region that covers 250,000 square miles of North America. “The Sagebrush Sea,” was produced, shot, and edited by the Cornell Lab’s Multimedia program.
The film is making its television premiere on May 20 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time/7:00 p.m. Central on the award-winning PBS television series NATURE. (Check local listings.)
Learn more on our website for The Sagebrush Sea.
Watch the trailer.

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The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

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