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Victor Mine Tango Extension Breeding Bird Baseline Program

Using autonomous recording units to capture birdsong

  • Northern Ontario, Canada

    Northern Ontario, Canada

Digital solutions for remote challenges

We conducted a study of breeding birds within the proposed footprint of the proposed Tango extension of the DeBeers Victor mine. Our goal? To quantify species and numbers of birds present within the project footprint and identify potentially suitable habitat for provincial and federal bird species at risk. 

The DeBeers Victor Mine is in the James Bay Lowlands, a remote part of northern Ontario that’s accessible only by air or by winter road from Attawapiskat, Ontario. The lowlands are largely inaccessible on foot and they present many barriers to field investigations, including health and safety challenges. 

With our client, we developed a sampling program with the regulators that included use of autonomous recording units (ARU) to record birdsongs in a variety of habitats in the study area. A detailed analysis was completed to identify the bird community by listening to the recordings and viewing the sonograms—we were among the first to use ARUs to satisfy regulators requirements, and we received very positive reviews of our work. This technique allowed us to capture data for more species than with traditional methods and allowed for around the clock sampling. 

Throughout the field aspects of the project, we worked closely with members of our partner community, Attawapiskat First Nations, adding their local knowledge to our scientific understanding to improve our understanding of the area.

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