Showing posts from 2021

Great News! The Province Has Temporarily Banned Rodenticides!

We are one step closer to a permanent provincial ban on the sale and use of rodenticides.  This has been a day I have been waiting for and fighting for over many years.  You can read the full news release  HERE This is just temporary (18 month ban) but it’s a step in the right direction. You can see there are many exemptions but great things don’t happen overnight. Policy changes take time. We can only hope that it will lead to a full ban. This is a huge step for the province and I’m so glad they listened. Activism really works and that’s why it’s so vital we keep speaking up against these issues!!. Thanks to everyone who signed petitions and wrote their MLAs and MPs. Thank you to Minister George Heyman for listening to us and meeting with us. I actually had tears in my eyes when the news release came out. It has been such a long hard struggle but science has won out and will continue to. I believe we have made a difference here for owls, raptors and mammals that have for so long died

Please read my new WBT article about 10 BC Young Birders!

I was asked by Wild Bird Trust (WBT) to do a follow up to their last feature on BC’s Young Birders. See my previous post on that  HERE . For this interview I was to write about the next generation of BC’s amazing young birders. I chose 10 young birders under 25yrs that would be featured in a new article for the summer 2021 issue of WBT’s Wingspan magazine. Take a second to read this below and learn more about these inspiring young birders in the BC Birding Community. The full magazine is mailed out to members and later will be available for free download on their website. You can read the article properly in PDF format HERE The Young Birders featured are  from Tofino, Kelowna and the Metro Vancouver area. They are as follows: Evan Larson, Kalin Oca ñ a ,  Liron Gerstman,  Cameron Montgomery, James Park , Daniel Graca, Emma Reader-Lee, Viktor Vandereyk, Toby Theriault and  Raymond Liu. Thanks to WBT for asking me to do this and for being so passionate about these amazing youth and for s

Listen To My Interview on the Bird Banter Podcast!

I was recently asked to do an interview on the Bird Banter Podcast with Ed Pullen out of Washington.  We had a fun conversation about birding in BC, Young Birders, the BC Rare Bird Alert and more. Thanks to Ed Pullen and the Bird Banter Podcast for having me on. You can take a listen and read about it  HERE or click "play" below to listen:

Congratulations to BC Young Birders Evan and Cam!

I told Young Birder Evan Larson and Cameron Montgomery that they should apply to the Beaverhill Bird Observatory’s Geoff Holroyd Young Ornithologists’s Workshop in Alberta. This year it was even more competitive than usual because Long Point’s Young Birder Workshop is closed due to covid. Evan and Cam applied, I wrote the recommendation letter for them cause they are amazing and they got in!. The passion and enthusiasm and skill these youth have is something else!. There were only 10 spots available across Canada. Congrats Evan and Cam!! I can’t wait to hear about your upcoming workshop week in August and all the lifers you get!.  Other young birders from BC (Cole, Sasha and Kalin) who got in during previous years went and loved it!. To read more about this program and how to apply for next year (if you are between the ages of 15-18 yrs old), please click HERE Cole Gaerber (2nd from left) at a previous Beaverhill young birder workshop in Alberta 

COSEWIC status changes and Birds Canada commitment to making birding more inclusive

The new report by COSEWIC has come out and there is good news and bad news for several species. Ross’s Gull is now listed as endangered and no chicks have fledged from the known Canadian breeding colony in 17 years. Sadly Short-eared Owl has had declines of up to 30% in Canada and has changed status from Special Concern to Threatened. I am sure you have noticed those declines even at Boundary Bay and Brunswick that the numbers are down. The COSEWIC press release notes that Christmas Bird Counts have noticed significant declines.  Chestnut-collared Longspur is now unfortunately listed as Endangered from Threatened. It has had a population decline of over 50%. Band-tailed Pigeon remains at Special Concern but is losing breeding habitat due to urbanization and it won’t be long it seems before it is also listed as threatened. For some positive news now: Barn Swallow is no longer listed as threatened but is now listed a special concern and  Ferruginous Hawk has been moved from Threatened t

I was on the Canada Day episode of the ABA podcast

Nate Swick from the American Birding Association (ABA) asked me to join the ABA podcast for Canada Day. I was asked to take part alongside Jody Allair from Birds Canada and Jared Clarke from Newfoundland.  We had a fun chat about the joys of birding in Canada. It was an honour and fun to take part.  This Canada Day is a day of reflection for many due to the recent horrific discoveries of unmarked and mass graves of Indigenous children in Residential Schools across Canada. So far in Cranbrook, Kamloops, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and there will be more to come. Prime Minister Trudeau asked for the Canadian flag to be lowered to half mast today on Parliament Hill. The host made note of this before we began to talk about birding. This day is one for us to celebrate the beautiful birds, animals and landscape from coast to coast, positive achievements of diverse Canadians, the resilience of Indigenous Peoples and the freedoms held in Canada. However, it is also a day of reflection and sad

New study reveals Varied Thrush as a species that is disproportionately vulnerable to window strikes on the west coast of Canada

A new study about bird window collisions out of UBC by Environment Canada biologists Krista DeGroot et al. reveals that Varied Thrushes are the species most often affected by window strikes in the west coast of Canada. This study showed for the first time, that during winter, Varied Thrushes are 77 times more likely to be involved in fatal window strikes. Collision mortality is  extremely high   at UBC. More than 10,000 collision deaths occur per year at UBC.  It was 4 times higher in the fall than a study done by Hager et al. in 2017 at college campuses across North America. This shows that window collision rates will also be high at homes and at other campuses and buildings in the Vancouver area and along the Pacific Coast . In contrast to studies conducted elsewhere in North America, collision mortality in winter was as high as mortality during the spring migratory period at UBC. This has detrimental implications for the large resident and overwintering populations of terrestrial bi

World Albatross Day And What We Can Do To Help Them

Today is the 2nd annual World Albatross Day and Birds Canada used some of my photos in their recent article. You can check it out HERE Short-tailed Albatross offshore from Tofino - Photo: Melissa Hafting Laysan Albatross offshore fromTofino - Photo: Melissa Hafting Every year we lose more and more Albatrosses (and other birds and mammals/cetaceans) to the commercial fishing industry. It is important as consumers that we know where our seafood comes from and that we support sustainable fishing practices. You can simply start by eating at restaurants that serve Oceanwise seafood or purchasing seafood that has the OceanWise label in your local grocery store. Another thing that is not mentioned in the article but dramatically impacts the survival of Albatross is plastics. We must eradicate our use of single use plastics!. The majority of it ends up in the landfills and oceans and in the stomach of adult seabirds and their chicks. It also ends up in the bellies of whales and sea turtles.

Honoured to receive BC Nature's "Daphne Solecki Award" plus an encounter with Red-breasted Sapsuckers

I was truly honoured to be awarded the 2021  Daphne Solecki Award by BC Nature for my work with young birders in the province of BC.  According to BC Nature's website it states: " The Daphne Solecki Award  (Only one may be presented annually).  This Award recognizes persons who have contributed to nature education for children in British Columbia." This truly touches my heart. The plaque I will receive soon after it is back from the engraver's (I'll post a photo of it when I do). Usually recipients receive it at the AGM but not this year due to COVID-19. However, the notice of award winners is now posted in the summer 2021 issue of BC Nature's Magazine. Which you can read below if you are not a member. It is an honour to receive an award named after an amazing woman like Daphne Solecki . Thank you to BC Nature and its board of directors for awarding me with this award. Thank you to Debbi Hlady for nominating me. This nomination and award was a true surprise

At least 182 Trumpeter Swans die on a lake in Abbotsford! Please sign the petition!

Judson Lake is located in Abbotsford and shared with the US. Half of it is in Abbotsford and half of it is in Sumas. Trumpeter Swans are dying at an alarming rate from lead poisoning. The US is doing nothing to help these swans. They used to put fencing up to protect the swans from eating high quantities of lead on the US side but this didn't happen this year. These birds eat the lead shot as they forage and think it is grit. It is a slow painful death that kills them. The lake is extremely contaminated with lead. Over a span of five years more than 1100 swans have perished at this lake. I don't know how their population can handle such losses. They have so few offspring that such mass mortalities are really detrimental to their population. You can read the story in the Vancouver Sun HERE It is time the US  and Canada bans lead for ALL hunters. A much safer alternative is copper  and tungsten bullets. Lead bullets are FULLY banned for hunting in California . There is no reason

Tree Swallow Box Program Monitoring Stage 2 and Birding by Kayak

If you missed my first post about my Tree Swallow project with the City of Richmond, you can read it HERE . On Saturday, we went out to check and monitor all the boxes to see what their current status was. We wanted to see if the eggs had hatched, if nests that were previously empty on our last check now had eggs etc.  We were pleasantly surprised to see eggs in several nests that were empty 3 weeks ago. The 2 Black-capped Chickadee nests in the swallow boxes had fledged. There was also a new Chickadee nest in a previously empty box. When we came upon our first newly hatched Swallow nest, I was so full of glee. They were sooo cute. My partner told me how happy he was to see me this happy. Both of us had never seen swallows this tiny. We guessed they had hatched about 2 days prior. The first 5 live Tree Swallow chicks in my project at Garden City Lands - Photo: Melissa Hafting We next went to Terra Nova where we ran into friends Mike Klotz and Tak Shibata. Here we saw an American Bitter

Red-eyed Vireos and Patch Birding

As you know I'm constantly inspired by the young birders I have mentored. Everyone knows I'm rare-bird crazy. However, Bridget Spencer a young birder I've worked with since starting the young birder program, told me years ago, that I need to find my own patch and work it. Bridget is THE BEST patch birder I know. She works her patch hard and diligently and turns up great birds. She has found many rarities too in her patch like a Gray Flycatcher. When Bridget tells me to do something I listen. I found two small parks near me about a block apart and began to bird them every day and boy she was right I really enjoyed seeing which new species would turn up every day. I really had fun adding new species to the park list and also finding rarities for the park. I was amazed at how many birds funnel through these two parks from Olive-sided Flycatchers to Warblers to Cassin's Vireos and everything in between. Richmond is so developed that the birds don't have many choices wh