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Showing posts from June, 2021

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

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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

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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

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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. 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 . Daphne Solecki Award 2021 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 to me!. The work I have done with the young birders in this province by mentoring them

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

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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

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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

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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

Black Birders Week and eBird. Plus birding groups trying to make birding more diverse around the world

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Black Birders Week is happening from May 30-June 5th. It is nice to see Canadian organizations taking part featuring Black Canadian naturalists. I was honoured to be featured by Nature Canada in their piece "Diversity in Nature" for Black Birders Week." You can read it HERE . View this post on Instagram A post shared by MELISSA HAFTING (@bcbirdergirl) The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) also did a feature on me for Black Birders Week as did The Discovery Channel which I was equally honoured about which you can see below: View this post on Instagram A post shared by NANPA (@nanpapix) View this post on Instagram A post shared by Discovery (@discovery) If you haven't read this fantastic article "The racist legacy many birds carry" check it out HERE at the Washington Post. Nature Canada recently came out with a beautiful online book of poetry called "Our