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BCFO Young Birder Awards 2021

Once again BCFO is delighted to present this year’s Young Birder Award recipients. As flag carriers for the future of birding they are both notable ambassadors, and outstanding young people. The BCFO Young Birder Award welcomes talented young birders into the BC birding community providing them with recognition, opportunity, encouragement, and mentoring.

The Young Birder Awards are presented to youth who meet certain qualifications. To be selected for a BCFO Young Birder Award, recipients must be between 11 and 18 years of age, 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 Board of Directors.

2021 is the eighth year of the BCFO Awards Program as we continue to find many young, keen, committed birders from around BC. Each recipient receives a free membership to BCFO until age 18, a memorial plaque, and a stylish BCFO ball cap.


Congratulations to Daniel Graca, Evan Larson, Cameron Montgomery, and Sage Pasay the 2021 BCFO Young Birder Award recipients. They join the ranks of a very talented and growing group of British Columbia young birders.

Daniel Graca

In her nomination of Daniel, Melissa Hafting says:

This amazing young man has been birding undetected in the local birding scene for far too long. He’s loved birding since he was a tiny tot. Birding with Daniel and his dad this fall I was amazed by his skill. He picked up a Blue Jay in flight, at a great distance, and described carefully why it was a Blue Jay and not a Steller’s or California Scrub-Jay. Daniel also identifies birds by ear. He follows the BC Rare Bird Alert closely, and with the help of his parents who do the driving, he successfully twitches many of the rarities. He also finds his own rare birds, such as the adult Sabine’s Gull he found and photographed in the Fraser Valley. In the past he’s gone with family to Europe, Mexico and the US to look at birds.

This talented young birder deserves the Young Birder Award for his commitment and his skill.  He raises money for the CWF and OWL, and is passionate about habitat conservation for birds and wildlife. He’s also passionate about bringing awareness to the problem of window strikes and to making homes and windows bird friendly.


Evan Larson

In her nomination of Evan, Melissa Hafting says:

Evan has been birding since 2017, is tack sharp, but also knows when to consult others on a difficult identification.  He first got interested in birds on finding a Birds of BC field guide that his dad owned. Looking at the list of birds in the back of the book, Evan wondered how many of those he could see in a day. Heading to Reifel one morning, with field guide in hand, he identified a notable thirty-eight species. Pretty good for a beginner! He was hooked right then and there becoming a keen twitcher.

He follows the Rare Bird Alert blog religiously. We have birded together when he began chasing every rare bird reported in the Metro Vancouver area. Not just a twitcher, Evan also loves birding his local patch of Jericho Park, which he does at least 3 times a week. His parents are delighted with his birding passion. Not only travelling to destinations in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewn, Evan has also visited Australia, Belize, and Costa Rica to see birds.

As citizen scientist he reports all his sightings to eBird. Evan is very thorough, patient, and detailed when it comes to birding. He reviews photos posted to eBird and finds many misidentifications made by other birders. Like I said, he is one sharp kid!

Evan is polite, kind, ethical, and is passionate about conservation. He hopes to pursue the field of ornithology, and to do some volunteer work with OWL. He takes beautiful photos and always ensures the birds are given the space and respect they need and deserve.


Cameron Montgomery

In his nomination of Cameron, Dan Pontalti says:

The first time I met Cameron was at Reifel one spring day a year and a half ago; his excitement in the birds – and especially about seeing new birds – was obvious.  He was keen to learn about the Black Phoebe we saw that day.  I later saw him at Maplewood Flats, and this time he had a decent camera and took some fine shots of a Redhead.  Again, I saw that he was eager to see, and learn about a new bird.  Later, I also saw Cameron, camera in hand, in Stanley Park as we watched a Cassin’s Auklet.  Quite aside from merely twitching new birds, Cameron‘s birding skills will surely grow alongside his camera skills!

From Cameron:

I have been birding for over two years now, and have learned lots about birds along the way. I love to take many pictures of the birds I encounter with my ‘Nikon Coolpix P900’ camera. My favourite time of year to go birding is spring migration, when many of my favourite birds are present in my hometown, Burnaby. One of my most exciting bird sightings was when I discovered 10 Pine Grosbeaks on Mount Seymour.


Sage Pasay

In his nomination of Sage, Allan Jensen says:

I first became acquainted with Sage in the summer of 2019.  I had heard about her from a naturalist friend of mine who has for many years been exploring and photographing the flora and fauna of Stanley Park.  He told me about this bright young woman who seemed to be a gifted birder.  A few weeks later I encountered Sage out in the field and I could see that she has a real talent for finding and focusing on birds. Over time it became clear that she has a real interest in birds and a talent for spotting and identifying various species. She has passed on info about quite a few of the less common Stanley Park birds to me and others who regularly birdwatch in the area.

Sage has clearly displayed a serious commitment to birds for some time now, and she has developed very good skills in spotting and observing birds.  She has developed a mature and disciplined approach to spending time observing bird behaviour. Also, over the past few months she has devoted a lot of her time in the field to photographing the birds she encounters.

Over the past year or so Sage has been part of the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) monthly bird survey of Beaver Lake and Lost Lagoon.  This survey has historically been done by a group.  Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic such group activities have not been possible; Sage has kept the survey going by herself (her parents usually go along to help with spotting and filling out data sheets).

Sage regularly posts her sighting on eBird, often including photos.  In the field she willingly shares sightings and information with other birders.


Birding Travel Presentation – Peru

In this, the second of our birding travel adventure presentations by members, for members, join Larry Cowan on Wednesday, 17th February 2021 at 7:30 pm for a Peruvian birding adventure from Lima to the heart of the Amazon.

Photo; Inca Tern by Gary Davidson

Details for viewing the presentation are found in the Members area.

BCFO Bird Records Committee Vacancies

 – Invitation to Apply –

Needed – Two (2) individuals to serve as participating members of the Bird Records Committee (BRC).

Duration – We are seeking two individuals willing to commit to a three-year term, beginning March 2021. As per BRC operating guidelines, up to two consecutive terms may be served, for a total of six years. Renewal for a second term is optional and subject to BRC approval. Members may not sit for more than two-consecutive terms before taking a mandatory one-year absence. Following this absence, individuals may be re-nominated for additional terms, and placed in the candidate pool for available positions. Monthly time commitments vary, but candidates should be willing to put in approximately ten (non-consecutive) hours.

Qualifications – Candidates should be knowledgeable on bird identification and distribution of all bird species in the province, as well as familiar with the identification and distribution of avian taxa from the remainder of North America, and ideally also Eurasia and Mexico. Preferred candidates will have first-hand experience with the majority of species that may be reported (see the current Review List). In addition to field experience, candidates should have access to sufficient resources (e.g., books, web resources) to provide critical, independent commentary and evaluations of bird records by set deadlines. Knowledge of aging and sexing of birds is a plus.

Candidates must be courteous and respectful of fellow committee members and to individuals whose records are being reviewed, including confidentiality of observer names and committee discussions. Previous experience with committees is beneficial, but not mandatory; however, candidates must be able to work effectively in a committee operating under a consensus framework.

In addition to birding experience, candidates must be able to reliably communicate electronically. This includes frequent and reliable access to the internet and the ability to email, Skype, and send/receive files in MS Word and MS Excel formats.

Prior membership to BCFO is not a requirement, but non-members are expected to join the organization upon appointment to the committee. All BRC members are expected to maintain their membership to BCFO in good standing for the duration of their tenure. Candidates should reside in British Columbia for the majority of each calendar year for which they are serving.

Selection – The committee strives to maintain representation of the entire provincial birding community by selecting members from varied regions of the province and of varied backgrounds. To ensure that the committee is inclusive of the diversity within the provincial birding community, women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and people of colour, persons with disabilities, persons of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (LGBTQ2S+), and others are strongly encouraged to apply.

The BRC is a committee of the BCFO. Applicants, or a shortlist of applicants, will be discussed by the current BRC membership for nomination to the committee. Final appointments are confirmed by the BCFO Board of Directors.

How to apply – You may nominate yourself or someone else who you believe is qualified. All nominations should be sent electronically to Catherine Craig, Chair of the BRC, at In the email include a brief description of your qualifications, or, if nominating someone else, highlight why you think that person would fit well on the committee. Make sure to include your full name and contact information (email address and/or phone number), or the full name and contact information of the nominee. All information should appear in the body of the email; formal cover letters, CVs, etc., are not required.

Please apply as soon as possible, and no later than January 31, 2021. The positions will remain open until filled.

Latest Accepted Records from the Bird Records Committee published

Discussion of Round 29 submissions to the Bird Records Committee has just been completed. Consensus decisions to “accept” were made for nine of the ten submissions for this round.

Photo: David Bell

To see the full report of those recently accepted records, follow the link here or use the drop down menu above – BRC Public > BRC Round 29 Mar to Dec 2020.

Birding Travel Presentations

BCFO members will be presenting a series of birding travelogues starting in January. With Covid restricting travel for most of us, it seems like a good opportunity to enjoy vicariously some trips taken by other BCFO members. As we watch their travels, perhaps we can begin to imagine, and to plan our own trips for when things open up. First out of the gate will be Vice-president Gary Davidson giving a Zoom, illustrated presentation on his birding exploration of Australia from Cape York to Tasmania.

Forest Kingfisher Photo: Gary Davidson

Details for viewing the presentation are found in the Members area.

Sightings Needed of Leg-flagged Dunlin

Amie MacDonald of Birds Canada has a request:

Hello BC birders,

Birds Canada has recently started a research project using radio-telemetry and leg flags to track overwintering movements of Dunlin in the Fraser River Estuary and their migration. We would appreciate hearing about any sightings of birds with leg flags if you happen to see any while out birding – you can email me directly at Spotting a leg flag in a large flock of Dunlin is certainly no easy feat, but we know birders are up for the challenge! We will collect a lot of movement data through the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, but leg flag sightings help in areas where there is no Motus coverage and offer very precise locations. Complete reads of the 3-digit code are great, but even just one or two of the digits can be very helpful if you can’t get a complete read.

Thanks and happy birding!


Amie MacDonald
Motus Analyst and Coordinator, British Columbia
Birds Canada | Oiseaux Canada
(506) 232-1219 | |

Featured Article – How Do American Robins Find Earthworms?

The American Robin pictured above is certainly not looking for earthworms in a mountain ash tree, but for most of us these ubiquitous birds foraging in a grassy field is another familiar sight.

Dr Rob Butler has made a study of a question that has likely puzzled many of us over the years: ” How exactly do they find the earthworms that they eat? Do they use sight or sound or …?”

Read Rob’s article here to see what he found out.

December 2020 BC Birding Now Available

The December 2020 edition of BC Birding is now available in the Members Only section (you will be emailed the URL if you’ve forgotten the password). This is a particularly rich edition including items on:

  • Upcoming BCFO Zoom presentations
  • Birding during COVID times
  • Bagging that rarity
  • Nest watching: Barn Swallows and Ospreys
  • Birding in The Congo
  • Northwest Crows and Green-winged Teal
  • Tracking Pleistocene Birds
  • Mexico as a winter birding destination

Plus all the usual features and some superb photography.  Print subscribers ($12 annually allows you to read the magazine in traditional form) will receive their copy through the post in due course.

Christmas Bird Counts

Photo: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

Christmas Bird Count season will be upon us soon. With that in mind, we have just opened our annual CBC tracking page for this 121st count season.

If your count(s) does not yet have this season’s information entered, please send the details as soon as possible to our compiler directly through the page.

Job Posting: Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Job Posting – Deadline extended to October 15, 2020

BC Nature is seeking a part-time coordinator to manage the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Caretaker Network in British Columbia.

The IBA program monitors and conserves a network of more than 11,000 of the world’s most important places for birds and biodiversity. Please find the job posting on the button below, as well as in your BC Nature Fall 2020 Magazine, coming to your mailboxes soon.

Please submit a cover letter and resume to by October 15, 2020.