BCFO proudly presents this year’s recipients of the BCFO Young Birder Program Awards and welcomes these talented young birders into the BC birding community. Winning the award recognizes their accomplishments, contributions, and engagement with birds and birding in the province.
To be selected for a BCFO Young Birder Program Award, recipients must be 17 or under and have:
- exceptional observational and birding skills well beyond the ’novice’ level
- shown substantive engagement in the activities of the birding community through their accomplishments, participation, and contributions
- been nominated and sponsored by a BCFO member and approved by the Executive Committee.
As the Young Birder Program has grown over the past three years, we are finding that BC is home a large number of young, keen, committed birders. This year we are pleased to have eight outstandingly worthy recipients.
Here are our 2016 recipients, presented in alphabetical order:
Leo Donnecke14 year old Leo loves birding with his dad who is an active birder as well. He enjoys pelagics and is an excellent spotter. He has co-led bird walks at the Rocky Point Bird Observatory and has volunteered at the Pedder Bay Banding station for many years. When Leo is not birding he is busy enjoying his other hobby competitive rowing.
12 year old Jamie actively contributes to the Fraser Valley Birding Forum as a moderator where he has written an article on leucism and albinism. He is always eager to help out anyone who posts with identification questions. He submits to eBird and loves to bird with his dad especially in such events as the Christmas Bird Count.
14 year old Cole is a walking encyclopedia on rare birds in North America which are his passion. Cole enjoys reading everything he can to further his knowledge on birds. He is always eager to share information on birds (both common and rare) with other children, which is inspiring. He volunteers at The Vancouver Aquarium and specifically takes an interest in working with the Penguins.
Ian Harland16 year old Ian enjoys volunteering at Grouse Mountain’s Raptor Program where he specifically works with Barn and Snowy Owls. His work with these owls has sparked a major interest in conservation and wetland habitat restoration. Ian is an avid hiker and enjoys taking part in birding youth field trips especially when situated in the mountains. Now that he has recently turned 16, he plans to volunteer at Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) and The Wildlife Rescue Association.
Liam Singh 13 year old Liam from Victoria has been birding for three years and frequently conducts the census for the Rocky Point Bird Observatory’s Pedder Bay site. He leads Sunday walks at The Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary. In his 2nd year of volunteer work he has accumulated over 200 hours at RPBOs banding station in Pedder Bay. Liam also donates proceeds from the sale of his photos to RPBO. Liam helps out with the youth education program there and has begun training to be a licensed bird bander.
Bridget Spencer 14 year old Bridget is passionate about having more young women in birding and has actively been participating in CBC’s for years in the city of Vancouver. She submits to eBird regularly and actively rescues birds of all sorts. Bridget has got her young sister into birding and is always eager to help out young birders and adults alike at the Birding in British Columbia Forum, where she is an active participant. Her knowledge of birds is astonishing and she enjoys travelling around the world to accumulate her life list which is ever growing.
Virginia Spencer 12 year old Virginia quickly began birding after she saw how much fun her sister was having in it. Bridget has taught her a lot but now Virginia is a fine young birder in her own right. She is passionate about bird rescue and has rescued many window strike birds near her home and sick ducks. When she turns 16 she plans to volunteer at The Wildlife Rescue Association. She enjoys looking after the nesting Barn Swallows and Owls in her barn and takes part in Project Nest Watch.
Alice Sun 17 year old Alice is a passionate bird photographer. She has used her love of bird photography to enhance her birding skills and pursue her love of birding. Alice volunteers with the Stanley Park monthly bird count and the bird banding program at Colony Farm with the Vancouver Avian Research Centre. Alice participates in stewardship events with Evergreen and has recently began participating in the Vancouver Window Collision Project with Bird Studies Canada. Alice plans to pursue her love of Birding in University with an Environmental Science degree. When she is not birding she is a competitive swimmer.
This year, 2016, saw the Young Birder Program become an official program of BCFO. Field trips will be run specifically for these young birders. In a group that includes award recipients from previous years, first up in 2016 is a birding trip to Merritt.