Announcing AGM 2018, June 1st to 3rd – Valleys and Mountains

The 2018 Annual General Meeting and Conference will be held in Hope on the weekend of June 1-3. The conference will take place in the banquet room of the Hope Golf & Country Club located right beside the Coquihalla River in Hope.

Hope is nestled at the base of the Coast Mountains Range with easy access to the North Cascades at Manning Park. The area offers great birding in the lowlands, adjacent valleys, and nearby alpine areas. We plan to explore them all. Field trips are planned for the Cheam Wetlands, Thacker Marsh, Silver Lake, Hope Airpark, and Manning Provincial Park.

Mark your calendars. On-line registration opens on April 1, 2018 and will remain open until the cut-off date of May 20.

Full details about registration will be published here, and in the Events section.

We look forward to seeing everyone there.

Cheam wetlands

The pre-conference trip will visit the Princeton area, while the post conference extension trip will go to the Williams Lake area to explore some of the great birding locations found there. Details of the three events will be in the March issue of BC Birding as well as on the web site.

Cheam Wetlands waterfowl

BCFO Bird Records Committee Vacancy

Membership Vacancy – BCFO Bird Records Committee

Needed – One (1) individual to serve as a participating member of the Bird Records Committee (BRC).

Duration – We are seeking an individual who is willing to commit to a three-year term, beginning March 1, 2018. 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 including Mexico, and East Asia. 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 on 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. While all candidates will be considered for the current position, preference will be given to birders from areas outside of the south coast (Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland). To further ensure that the committee is representative of the provincial birding community, women are strongly encouraged to apply.

The BRC is a committee of the BCFO. Applicants, or a short-list of applicants, will be discussed by the current BRC membership for nomination to the committee. Final appointments are made 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 Nathan Hentze, Chairperson 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 February 15. The position will remain open until filled.





Bird Records Committee – November/December 2017 Accepted Records, Rounds 18, 19, 20, & 21

The BCFO Bird Records Committee is pleased to report the latest 36 records accepted to the Main Provincial List, including one provincial first record.

You will also find the BCFO Rare Bird Report Form and the Provincial Review List under the BRC drop-down menu above or via the link here. Submissions of rare bird sightings in British Columbia are invited and encouraged.

Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

Dr. Martin K. McNicholl

It is with great sadness that we report that Martin McNicholl passed away on Friday, December 15th. It is great loss to the birding community.

Martin was known as an ornithologist who made contributions both nationally and internationally. He joined the BCFO board in the early 90’s and was a long time editor of our journal, BC Birds, as well as a regular contributor to BC Birding. As a result of Martin’s contributions to ornithology, he was awarded the Steve Cannings Award at the BCFO AGM held in Pemberton in 2014.

The citation for Martin’s award presentation at the Pemberton AGM was published in the September 2014 issue of BC Birding. The citation appears below.


The Steve Cannings Award is presented annually by the British Columbia Field Ornithologists. It honours the memory of Stephen R. Cannings (1914-2003) of Penticton, BC, who was a much-loved and admired ornithologist, naturalist, nature photographer,conservationist, and mentor to many young and beginning
naturalists. The Cannings Award recognizes achievement in any or all of three areas: (1) research on bird biology or ecology, or detailed documentation of the birdlife of any part of BC; (2) conservation of birds or bird habitats in BC;
and (3) public education about birds in BC.

It should be noted that the Cannings award is mainly for contributions to ornithology in BC. Many of Martin‟s accomplishments have taken place in other provinces, and he is well-known as an ornithologist at the national and even international level. However, as he has made his home in BC for more than 20 years, and as many of his contributions were made in BC, we consider him to be a most worthy recipient of this award, and we have cited many of his accomplishments from other provinces as well.

Martin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on April 16, 1946, and grew up in the Winnipeg area. He became interested in birds at a very early age, and says that his first memory of a bird, at age 3, was a Common Loon yodeling as it flew
over a rowboat containing Martin, his father, and his grandfather. His interest in birds was encouraged and fostered by his aunt, Gertrude McNicholl, and a second cousin, Grace Keith, both of whom were keen birdwatchers. In addition to the immediate vicinity of Winnipeg, much of his early birding was done during the summers near Gimli, Manitoba (on Lake Winnipeg) and in the lake country near Ingolf, Ontario (west of Kenora), around property owned by his relatives.

Martin enrolled in a Zoology program at the University of Manitoba, and earned a bachelor‟s degree (Honours Zoology) in 1968. While an undergraduate, he met Dr. Roger Evans, who employed him one summer to do surveys of waterbirds and Sharp-tailed Grouse. He then embarked on a M.Sc. program under Dr. Evans, and completed his Master‟s thesis on Forster‟s Tern biology in 1971. For his Ph.D. work, Martin moved to Edmonton and studied Blue Grouse (now called Sooty Grouse) biology under Dr. Fred Zwickel. However, his study area, where he did research for four summers, was in the Comox Burn on Vancouver Island. Martin‟s Ph.D. dissertation, which he completed in 1978, was entitled Behavioural and Social Organization in a Population of Blue Grouse on Vancouver Island.

After completing his Ph.D., Martin worked for several environmental consulting firms between B.C. and Ontario. From 1984 to 1987, he served as General Manager and Executive Director of the Long Point Bird Observatory, now part of Bird Studies Canada. Since moving to B.C., and until recently, he has worked mainly at the Vancouver International Airport, first for LGL Environmental Research Associates and then with Airport Wildlife Management International, with the objective of managing birds on the airport and reducing bird hazards to aircraft.

Martin is widely known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the scientific literature of ornithology, and for his strong abilities as a writer and editor. He has published dozens of articles and short notes in scientific journals. He edited
Manitoba Bird Studies: a Bibliography of Manitoba Ornithology (1975), and was senior editor of A Bibliography of Alberta Ornithology (1981), as well as
Ornithology in Ontario (1994), a 400-page historical review of ornithology and ornithologists in Ontario. He also authored 45 entries in the Canadian Encyclopedia, mainly dealing with birds and natural history. Finally, for more than 30 years, he was in charge of the “Recent Literature” section of the North American Bird Bander.

Martin has served in many volunteer capacities, and has always been willing to donate his time to worthwhile projects and activities. Over the years, he has served on more than 30 boards and committees from B.C. to Ontario.

For BCFO, he was the editor of our journal, British Columbia Birds, from 1994 to 2002, a time-consuming and exacting task. He has also been the compiler or co-compiler of the “Upcoming Meetings and Events” column in our newsmagazine for much of its history, and a valued member of the Awards Committee since its inception. In addition, he has served for many years on the Birding Section Committee of Nature Vancouver, and as the Program Chairman of the Langley Field Naturalists.

Given his many accomplishments and his generosity with his time, it will not surprise you that Martin has been the recipient of several previous awards. These include the Loran L. Goulden Award (1983) for contributions to the natural history of Alberta; being named an Elective Member of the American Ornithologists Union (1986); the Ernest Thompson Seton medal for contributions to Manitoba‟s natural history (1995); and being named an Honorary Life Member of both the Langley Field Naturalists (2001) and B.C. Field Ornithologists (2002).

In this brief citation, we have had to omit many of Martin McNicholl‟s accomplishments, particularly those that took place outside B.C. Nevertheless, we think it should be obvious to everyone that Martin is a most deserving
recipient of the Steve Cannings Award, and we take great pleasure in presenting it to him.

December 2017 BC Birding Now Available

The December 2017 issue of BC Birding, our newsmagazine, is now available in the Members Area.

There are two online versions: a light version for quick download, and a higher-resolution version for printing on a home printer.
Hard-copy subscribers will receive their copy by post as soon as possible.

This 28-page edition includes some stunning photographs, notes on the 2018 AGM, BCFO news, four trip reports, a feature on birding at the edge of a fire zone, an excellent essay and paintings by Young Birders, and regular columns.

Christmas Bird Counts

December is rapidly approaching and what better excuse to escape the malls and seasonal madness than to participate in one or more Christmas Bird Counts?

You can check out the Province’s counts and count dates here. We update the page as we receive the information from the various count leaders.

Continuing the tradition for the last number of years, there are offerings of various Christmas Bird Counts 4 Kids as well. This page will be updated too as we receive new information.


Bird Records Committee – October 2017 Accepted Records, Rounds 15, 16 and 17

The latest sets of accepted records of the BCFO Bird Records Committee are now posted here. Included in these records are four provincial first records, and one new addition to the provincial list.

You will also find the BCFO Rare Bird Report Form and the Provincial Review List under the BRC drop-down menu above or via the link here. Submissions of rare bird sightings in British Columbia are invited and encouraged.

Photo: Tom Lowery

BCFO Featured Photographer #15

After a prolonged recess our Featured Photographer Series is finally back on line with another superb gallery of stunning bird photographs. Our guest presenter, #15 in the series, is Michelle Lamberson of Kelowna. View her work HERE.

BC Bird Records Committee latest news

There are two recent developments from the BC Bird Records Committee to announce.

First, an interim BC Bird Records Committee Sightings Database is now available on this website.

Also, the Rare Bird Report Form for the submission of rare bird sightings is now even easier to use. The form is fillable on-line, and is submitted directly to the committee from the website.

Not a bird to report to the Bird Records Committee


September Edition of BC Birding Now Available

The September 2017 issue of BC Birding, our newsmagazine, is now available in the Members Area. There are two online versions: a lighter version for quick download, and a higher-resolution version for printing on a home printer. Hard-copy subscribers will receive their copy by post as soon as possible.

In this 28-page edition you will find 33 fine photographs, BCFO news; BCFO trips reports, several features, updates on young birder activity, and regular columns.