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The 3 remaining Northern Spotted Owls in BC can breathe a sigh of relief ... at least for a year... Plus sign the new rodenticide petition!

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Read the whole article at the Narwhal  HERE Is this truly a victory?! If so it is one that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The need for the government to protect the habitat of the last 3 Spotted Owls should be a given not something to be celebrated. However this is where we are and so I must say thank you to the Wilderness Committee and the  Spô'zêm  First Nation for working so hard to make this happen.  These owls have been failed by both the provincial and federal government. All we must do is to look to WA state, where even though populations have dwindled to under 500 birds... that we have done something gravely wrong here at the northern limit of their range. With only 3 wild birds this species is functionally extinct in my view. No captive birds have been successfully released into the wild. When these owls are gone after all the failed NDP promises of creating an endangered species act and not logging in old growth forests and breaking the Species At Risk Act (SARA); we wil

2021 BC Young Birder Award Winners Announced!

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The 2021 Young Birder Awards were recently announced and young birders Evan Larson, Cameron  Montgomery, Daniel Graca and Sage Pasay were the much deserved recipients this year. To read more about these wonderful young people, click HERE Congratulations to them all! Young Birder Evan Larson - 1 of 4 of the 2021 YB recipients! 

Snow Birds

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This long weekend it snowed in Vancouver, which is a rare event. I ran out like a little kid during the Great Backyard Bird Count to find some birds. In the short 10 min drive from my house I saw 2 accidents on the road. Vancouver drivers don't handle the snow well... Here are some of the fruits of my labour... Fox Sparrows in Richmond - Photos: Melissa Hafting Spotted Towhees in Richmond - Photos: Melissa Hafting Dark-eyed Junco in Richmond - Photo: Melissa Hafting Song Sparrow in Richmond - Photo: Melissa Hafting Mourning Dove in snow in Richmond - Photo: Melissa Hafting Male Hairy Woodpecker in Richmond - Photo: Melissa Hafting Winter Wonderland in Richmond - Photo: Melissa Hafting

A few recent interviews and features

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The Pileated Woodpecker is the  American Birding Association's (ABA) Bird of the Year. I was honoured  to have the (ABA) use my photo of a Pileated Woodpecker in their January 2021 issue of Birding Magazine . You can see a photo of it below: Also, I recently did an interview in celebration of  International Day of Women and Girls in Science (which is today Feb 11th) with  The Salish Sea School  (an awesome organization) in Washington State. You can read it HERE I will have some more news to share soon about a fun upcoming Audubon magazine feature. If you like hybrids like me you might want to check out a cool one HERE found recently in Castlegar. It is a Blue Jay x Steller's Jay!.

Birds In The News

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A few interesting bird stories from Canada and around the world: The Government of the NWT got fined 10,000$ for killing 12 Bank Swallow and their active nests. The Federal Government fined the Northwest Territories under the Species At Risk Act SARA) The Mayor of Delta George Harvie sends a letter to the Provincial Government to help protect the owls and hawks from harassment and their habitat at Brunswick Point. A Strata in Port Moody is leading the way on residential property by banning rodenticides! Florida Grasshopper Sparrows are making a comeback from the brink of extinction A new smart camera technology can prevent bird strikes at wind farms by 82%! A Snowy Owl stops in NYC and a crowd of 100 birders are effectively managed by Park Rangers  Listen to the podcast with ornithologist Dr. Drew Lanham "I worship every bird that I see" Reducing Pollution benefits billions of birds in NA according to eBird study Birds Canada releases a new Grassland Conservation Guide Link t

Safety and the Solo Birder

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In the December 2020 issue of Birding Magazine there is a great article by Sabrina Hepburn about how to be safe when one is out solo birding. This article is especially important for women. Women have to be extra careful when out solo birding. It's just a fact of life as lone women are more likely to be sexually or physically attacked. Although women should be much more aware while out solo-birding they should still do it, if they enjoy it. There is a peace and oneness with nature one experiences while birding solo. One of the best trips of my life was a solo trip I did to Colorado and Kansas in search of grouse and finches. It is ironic how the author closes with the dangers of stepping on a rattlesnake alone. I have almost done the very thing at the top of Ramsey Canyon in AZ, which is about a 4.5 hour hike back down to the parking lot, much less a hospital. All these types of things one must consider when birding solo, be it man or woman. It is well worth the read for the tips

Owl and Raptor Harassment in Delta and the City of Richmond has banned Rodenticide use.

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When we take photos of Owls, we must ask ourselves at what cost? - Photo: Melissa Hafting Update: The Mayor of Delta has written to the province asking for help to better protect the birds and their habitat from harassment at Brunswick Point. A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about the deplorable harassment I and others had witnessed in Delta (in particular at Boundary Bay). You can read it in full   HERE   Well nothing much seems to have changed in Metro Vancouver. Now Brunswick Point is the new "hot spot" that bird photographers are flocking too and some are demonstrating unethical behavior. Current "best practices" suggestive signage hasn't helped either. Take a read of today's news story at the Delta Optimist HERE Not long ago we watched a group of 15 photographers encircling a Short-eared Owl on the ground with food (a vole). Only for that owl to get so distressed and fly up trying to get away as they proceeded to get their flight shots as he lost

Young Birders Make The World Go 'Round And Read The CBC News Story On The Abbotsford Peregrines

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Young birder Bridget wanted to go birding together again before she goes back to Uni in the US. So we decided to go get her the Northern Mockingbird on Westham Island. This is a BC bird she needed.  We had so much fun and waited and waited for the little Mocker to make his appearance on the holly. While we waited we got American Pipits, Least Sandpipers, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plovers, Trumpeter Swans, Western Meadowlarks, Flickers and several Rough-legged Hawks. It was so birdy. The trees were filled with sparrows White-crowned, Golden-crowned and Juncos. Finally we spotted the Mocker on top of the holly bush and he sat there giving us all great views. I spied my friend Monica way down the road and we yelled at her to get on the holly tree and she did and we all had good views. I was so happy for Bridge too. We were enjoying watching a River Otter role over on his back and play in the field like a little dog.  Suddenly a Peregrine came swooping down and chased a single Black-bellied Pl

Update on the Peregrine Falcon Nest and Cliff Swallow colony slated to be destroyed

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Peregrine Falcon adult and young at the Abbotsford Nest - Photo: Raymond Ng As anyone who follows my blog or on Instagram  knows I have been fighting to help bring awareness and to save the Peregrine Falcon nest that is slated to be destroyed Mountainside Quarries at the Quadling Quarry mine in Abbotsford. I posted about this last month. See HERE   for the backstory. Sadly, 2021 really has not started off on a good foot. 2020 was hell and now 2021 starts off with a white supremacist domestic terrorist attack in the States, COVID-19 numbers continuing to rise in North America, hate crimes rising across Canada (that is finally exposing its systemic racism) and we get more bad news. Yesterday, I was informed that the provincial government went ahead and issued the permit allowing the mine to destroy the nest of the most active breeding pair of Red-listed Peregrine Falcons on BC'S South Coast. The only mitigation method in place is to put up nest boxes and ledges and hope the falcons (

Update on the City of Richmond’s Proposed Rodenticide Ban and New Cat Policy

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Finally the Rodenticide Ban is on next week's Public Works and Transportation Committee meeting,  Tuesday Jan 19th at 4pm .  You can read more on the story in the Richmond News HERE If approved it would go to the following Council meeting  on Jan. 25th at 7pm .  The agenda with item #7 can be found HERE : Here is the wording of the item: 7. BANNING RODENTICIDES ON CITY-OWNED PROPERTY IN RICHMOND STAFF RECOMMENDATION (1) That the City discontinue the use of rodenticides on city-owned property for one year, as described in the staff report titled “Banning Rodenticides on City-owned property in Richmond,” dated December 10, 2020 from the Director, Sustainability and District Energy; (2) That staff assess the outcomes of the one-year ban on city-owned property and report the findings to Council; (3) That staff be directed to develop an integrated rodent management program, as described in the staff report titled “Banning Rodenticides on City-owned property in Richmond,” dated December