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Fraser River - Fowl Territory

Farmers profit by feeding migrating birds

More on the Fraser River:
Fraser River:
Caring for a Great Resource

Osprey health indicates water quality

Cariboo Road:
Gold seekers open the interior of British Columbia

Enhancing Creek to Creek:
Uniting to save the Fraser River

Changing Faces:
Immigration trends in British Columbia

Fowl Territory:
Farmers profit by feeding migrating birds

Mountain Marshlands:
Rehabilitation of interior wetlands

A fine mess:
Restoration of a riparian habitat

Stream Makers:
Preparing a nursery for salmon

Tooth or Consequences:
Making good neighbours of beavers

Troubled Waters:
The struggle over salmon fishing

Waste Not:
Poultry manure is recycled into non-polluting pellets

A key stopover of the so-called Pacific Flyway, the delta of the Fraser River, provides vital habitat for millions of migratory waterfowl.

The estuary and surrounding uplands support the highest winter densities of waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and Great Blue Herons in Canada. It is also one of the most productive farm districts in the country.

As part of the Greenfields project sponsored by the Fraser River Action Plan, farmers are planting winter cover crops such as winter wheat, oats, barley, and clover after the cash crop has been safely harvested.. The crops enrich the land for farmers and provide food for the migrating birds.

The annual influx of birds was not always welcomed by local farmers. Birds were sometimes seen as pests that ate valuable crops. But the winter cover crops help farmers three ways:

  • they protect top soil from erosion
  • they discourage weeds
  • when ploughed under in spring, they improve the organic and structural quality of the soil.

For the visiting birds, the fields of oats and barley offer good habitat for their winter stay in the delta. The rich estuary of the Fraser is now more productive than ever for both wildlife and agriculture.

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