BCFO proudly presents this year’s recipients of the BCFO Young Birder Award 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.
As the Young Birder Program has continued to grow over the past four years, we continue to find many young, keen, committed birders from around BC. This year we are pleased to have six outstandingly worthy recipients.
To be selected for a BCFO Young Birder Program Award, recipients must be 18 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 four years, we are finding that BC is home a large number of young, keen, committed birders. This year we are pleased to have six tremendous, worthy recipients.
Here are our 2017 recipients, presented in alphabetical order:
Willa’s love of birds evolved as she grew up in the John Prince Research Forest, in North-Central BC. She loves participating in citizen science projects, like FeederWatch, NestWatch, the BC-Yukon Nocturnal Owl Survey and the Christmas Bird Count. Willa began observing birds in earnest at the age of eight, but her favourites have always been hummingbirds. When she was four years old, a local Tl’azten Elder asked her what her spirit animal was and she declared, “Hummingbird!” The 2016 season was her third volunteering with Rocky Point Bird Observatory’s Hummingbird Project. It was an exciting season, because it was the first year she acted as scribe and began learning about morphological measurements. Willa also collected data on hummingbird feeder hygiene in the Fort St. James area, which will be presented at SD91’s 2017 Science Fair.
Adam has been birding for three years now. He loves to travel for birding and has already been to Japan, Hawaii and all over Southern BC. He hopes to get to Costa Rica and Australia next! At 11 years old he already has a life list of 300 species. Adam has told me that he loves learning about birds and getting to spend time with them in nature. Adam is a great photographer and loves taking photos of every bird he spots! He enjoys posting his photos on his Flickr site. He has great fun chasing local rarities with his dad. Adam likes to blog about his birding adventures on his website adamdhalla.com. Adam enjoys interacting with others in the birding community and appreciates all the help he has received from them. Adam has several favourite birds but his top 3 favourites are: The Steller’s Jay, Black Oystercatcher and Great Gray Owl. Adam enjoys creating bird art out of lego pieces and is always eager to ask me about where he should next plan his birding trip in BC. He particularly enjoys visiting Manning Park where he can feed and interact with the Gray Jays. Adam is an active contributor on the Birding in British Columbia forum at Birding.bc.ca. Adam is a keen, excellent birder who is never afraid to ask questions and learn from others. We can only expect great things from Adam as he continues to enrich the birding community with his contributions.
Matyas started birding 3 years ago. He loves to bird in the Okanagan with his friend, Logan, whom he has learnt a lot from. Matyas also has travelled to Europe with his family where he has done some birding as well. He likes to take part in discussing bird identification on the Birds in British Columbia forum at birding.bc.ca. Matyas is very eager to learn more about bird identification and likes to share his photos on flickr. His favourite sport is skiing and whenever he is outdoors in the mountains, he is looking for winter birds like Bohemian Waxwings and Northern Pygmy-Owls.
Katya is the most enthusiastic birder you could ever meet and her enthusiasm is infectious! To know her is to love her. She is great fun on all our field trips telling the other kids about her bird adventures. Katya has only recently started birding, since she is 11 years old but her spotting skills are exceptional! We’ve never seen anyone pick out Black Swifts the way she did at Grant Narrows when they were distant tiny specs for the rest of the group! She has laser beam eyes. Katya has been really helpful in suggesting field trips and loves to take part in them with the other children. First connecting with the Young Birders at the Christmas Bird Count for Kids held at Iona Regional Park, she has been inseparable from the group ever since. As she gets older she will only continue to grow in her knowledge, which is already extremely impressive. We’re confident she will be a great birders and twitcher. She absolutely loves chasing after local rarities in Greater Vancouver. Katya contributes to eBird routinely, the Birding in BC forum (Birding.bc.ca) where she enjoys posting her photos and sightings, Christmas Bird Count for Kids, and the Young Birder Program field trips. She also loves posting her great bird photos to her Flickr website: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141005852@N07/
Toby lives on a floathouse in Tofino. At age 12 she is already remarkably good at bird identification, as demonstrated by her accomplishments this year. She decided at the beginning of the year to do a Big Year, with a goal of seeing 120 species of birds. Up to today, she has seen 202 species. Most were seen on the Island but she also travelled with her family to the lower mainland and to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. I should add that Toby is the bird expert in her family and the parents are learning from her. Toby and her close friend, Cedar, also a birder, founded a birding club called the Tough City Twitchers currently with four members. This summer she was interviewed on CBC radio about her birding passion.
Her birding blog can be found at: <http://birdymcbirdface.blogspot.ca>
Viktor started birding when he was eight years old and is an avid hiker and naturalist. He joined the Young Birder program in 2016 and I have been very impressed by his great bird identification skills. He is never afraid to ask questions about birds and is eager to learn more about them. I was impressed by how fast he spotted birds during our field trips and how well he fit into the group with the other children. I have noticed how helpful he is to the younger children in the group and he behaves as a good role model. Viktor enjoys contributing to the British Columbia Birds Forum (Birding.bc.ca) and adding his photos to Flickr. He and his brother Marnix, who is also a birder enjoy watching the birds that come to their backyard, where they have had some uncommon birds show up. Viktor is a talented artist and enjoys painting and drawing birds.
<2016 Young Birders>
Congratulations! I am so proud of you all! You strengthen the birding community in BC and make it a better place for all.