Young Birder speaks out about equality in birding and becomes the youngest person to get a doctorate

I have been following the adventures of Birdgirl aka Mya-Rose Craig since the tv program that aired in 2010 called "Twitchers" came out and she was 7 years old. If you haven't seen Twitchers here is a clip that talks about Mya. From even that young age she was a force to be reckoned with.

She lives in Britain and is now 17 years old. She is miles ahead of her time and has now been awarded an honorary doctorate from Bristol University. She preaches about the benefits of diversity in birding and how she has struggled with racism in this hobby. For speaking out about racism she has also been criticized which is difficult for someone so young. It is sad a 17 year old had but any person of colour would tell you this is not unusual. For far too long it was generally believed that minorities do not enjoy birding or outdoor activities as much as Caucasians. Even the local outdoor company MEC had to start including Black and Asians in their ads due to intense criticism (see HERE).…

Family Day with Evening Grosbeaks

Ilya and I spent Family Day with a beautiful flock of Evening Grosbeaks in Maple Ridge today. These birds are declining and are now listed as a species of special concern under COSEWIC in Canada. Since the 1970's these birds have experienced 77-90% declines across their range. They are mostly declining due to loss of their habitat (mature and old-growth forests), road collisions (when they feed on grit in winter) and window strikes. 

They are truly one of my most favorite birds; a large and beautiful finch. Any bird that is yellow is always cool in my books. Yellow is just such a happy colour!. It took a lot of patience in the cold to get these photos but it was worth every minute.

Simple things like sharing these special moments in birding with those you care about make it so memorable.

Finally I got to see one of my most wanted birds: THE IVORY GULL

Yesterday, I drove 10.5 hours to see a stunning Ivory Gull in Polson, Montana. Let me back up. You probably remember my sob story back in 2017. I was in Nome and missed an Ivory Gull by literal minutes... As I was parking my car it flew away.... and did I mention a Ross's Gull was with it?!. Yep it was two lifers. It's still painful to talk about haha but if you want to read it, you can do so HERE.

Well part of that was rectified today when I saw this bird!. The minute I pulled up at the Blue Bay Campground at Flathead Lake I was mesmerized. The bird was on Flathead Reservation land owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai First Nations Peoples. This bird has been present from at least Jan 29th. It glowed so bright as it swam circles in front of me. Seeing it for the first time was something I won't soon forget. At the same moment I pulled up there was 2 birders from California with Ed Harper from the Montana Bird Records Committee getting out of their cars. All of us …

4 BC Young Birders are featured by Birds Canada!. Please also help birds by signing a petition to stop the Herring Roe Fishery.

BC Young Birders Bridget Spencer, Liam Singh, Joshua Brown and Liron Gertsman were featured  by Birds Canada in the latest issue of British Columbia Coast Birdwatch newsletter. These young naturalists just make me so proud.

You can read about these amazing young citizen scientists below:
Also MP Gord John's petition for a moratorium on the Herring Roe Fishery is open for signatures. If you would like to sign it you have until March 12, 2020.

Link to sign HERE
This fishery affects not only fish such as salmon but birds and other marine mammals as Herring are an essential part of the marine food web. The petition also asks for First Nations rights to be recognized.
In order to complete the process of adding a signature to any Federal Petition, you have to wait for, and click on the email confirmation they send back. This confirmation often ends up in one's junk box.

Melissa Hafting

Young birder Liron and I are featured in the new ABA Magazine!

Liron Gerstman and I were featured in the new issue of the ABA's December 2019 Birding Magazine. As more and more birders are picking up cameras I was really happy to see bird photography featured so prominently in the latest issue. It adds a whole other level to the birding experience and helps to create lasting memories one can look back fondly on. Bird photography can also do wonders to help promote bird conservation. Liron Gertsman talks about how he uses it to bring awareness over conservation plights. A picture really can tell a thousand words and no better way to get people feeling engaged about something than to see it; reading about it just doesn't do the trick.

Anyways there has been sometimes a divide between birders and photographers and it is nice to see bird photographers given respect and acceptance. Bird photography is not going away and it is nice when we can promote ethical photography and help bridge the gap between the old and the new.

Here is the original im…

Watch this video by Alice Sun about our Christmas Bird Count for Youth

Alice Sun made a great video of the Christmas Bird Count for Youth that I led on Dec 29, 2019. She helped me as an adult volunteer on the day. Alice is a professional photographer and made a great video where she discusses what birding means to her. She is a graduate of my BC Young Birder Program.

This is really a beautiful video and work of art.
You can watch it below:

What Birding Means to Me from Alice Sun on Vimeo.

Young Birders Christmas Bird Count 2019 at Boundary Bay!

We had a great Christmas Bird Count for Youth (aka CBC4KIDS) today!. We had 11 participants and we started off at the Boundary Bay Dyke at the foot of 72nd St in Delta. The Short-eared Owls were flying around with Northern Harriers that got the teens excited. They posed well for us. We saw Wilson's Snipe and a Peregrine Falcon for highlights as we walked to the mansion at 64th St. We looked for Long-eared and Snowy Owls but came up empty. Lots of Green-winged Teals, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails and Gadwalls were about and many Bald Eagles and a few Common Ravens. At the pond a single American Coot was seen. The best bird we saw here was a late Orange-crowned Warbler that was hanging out in the bushes by the mansion.  A couple of Anna's Hummingbirds made some of the new youth to scream out with glee. It warmed my heart because I remember myself as a little girl seeing an Anna's Hummingbird for the first time and shrieking like that!.

On Friday I did a CBC Radio 1 In…

My First Trip to South-East Asia (THAILAND)

A group of us planned a 23 day trip to Thailand from the end of Nov to middle of Dec. Mike and Sharon Toochin, Peter Candido, Ilya Povalyaev and I set out on Air Canada via South Korea. The South Korean airport Incheon was very luxurious. We only had a 1.5 hour layover before we were en route via Asiana Airlines to Bangkok. Both Air Canada and Asiana gave us a couple delicious meals on the plane and free wine which was nice. 
Our first day we birded the grounds at our hotel: Eastin Thana City Golf resort. It was a nice and very birdy location where we saw such things as Asian Openbills, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Black and Ashy Drongo, Indochinese Roller, Eastern Yellow Wagtails, Paddyfield Pipits, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Plain Prinia and Pink-necked Pigeons. However, since military personal lived in the ritzy area we got chased away by security enough that we decided to go to Bangpu Recreational Site. Photography during this trip was not easy, birds are skittish and we were often in …