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Yle's One Million Nest Boxes campaign helping birds in need

The evaluation of threatened bird species in Finland was updated in 2015 under the coordination of the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE. The evaluation concluded that overall the populations of Finnish bird species are on the decline. The number of threatened bird species increased by 28 compared to the previous evaluation, while 21 new species were red-listed.

Birdboxes, photo Miika Heikkonen.
© Miika Heikkonen

The number of threatened and red-listed species is high particularly among Anseriformes, Accipitriformes and Charadriiformes. Conversely, white-tailed eagles, the peregrine falcon and the white-backed woodpecker have responded positively to conservation efforts, as a result of which populations are recovering. A good example of a species that has benefited from long-term conservation efforts is the white-tailed eagle, which has increased its population size from a few dozen mating pairs to approximately 450 pairs.

At the beginning of March the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle launched the One Million Bird Boxes campaign, which is set to introduce one million new bird boxes to Finnish trees by the end of May 2017. A million bird boxes will provide homes to ten million hatchlings, motivate people to do hundreds of thousands of outdoor treks and create a veritable cacophony of congratulatory chirping to commemorate Finland's centenary.

These one million bird boxes will provide excellent first aid to bird species that traditionally build their nests into the holes of trees. The availability of suitable holes has greatly decreased in Finnish forests, and without access to a hole or a bird box many birds simply fail to nest. As such, providing birds with bird boxes is a great way to help them.

Everyone is invited to contribute

The One Million Bird Boxes campaign has launched with a bang, with nearly 300,000 bird boxes already registered to the campaign during the first few weeks. People from all over Finland have taken up the challenge to build bird boxes, from the capital Helsinki all the way to northernmost Lapland. Many cities have also given their citizens permission to hang bird boxes in parks and other city-owned recreational areas.

People have also been actively sharing pictures of the bird boxes they have built on social media. The campaign has become a bona fide national phenomenon, garnering a great deal of positive attention. People clearly feel that helping birds is a worthy cause.

The first persons to contribute to the campaign were the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio. The presidential couple was assisted in their bird box building efforts by the very person who came up with the idea behind the campaign, journalist Juha Laaksonen. The resulting bird boxes were hanged in the garden of the President's official residence, which now has over 40 bird boxes.

All of Finland's major nature operators are taking part in the campaign. SYKE participated in the planning of the campaign and has supported it by producing a great deal of new information about Finnish birds.

Published 2016-03-23 at 10:53, updated 2016-03-23 at 10:53

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