Upcoming Zoom Presentations – Topics, Dates, Presenters & Details

Wednesday, 15 November 2023

American Dippers

Presenter: John Elliott

American Dipper

Dr. John Elliott is a research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada at the Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, Delta, B.C. As an adjunct professor at both the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, he does much of his research with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, including the work on dippers. He has studied the exposure and effects of a wide range of environmental toxicants on bird and other wildlife populations. His work is widely published in the scientific literature, and he has edited two books on the effects of contaminants on wildlife. His research has been used extensively in many risk assessment and regulatory decisions on pesticides and industrial chemicals. He enjoys the outdoors, especially with his kids and grandkids, walking and hiking with the family dogs, and biking in summer, skiing and hockey in winter and casual birding year-round.

His presentation will cover dipper biology, early studies in the Chilliwack watershed, and some later work including run-of-the-river hydro and coal mining.


Past presentations

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Ruffed Grouse

Presenter: Andrew Iwaniuk

Ruffed Grouse: photo by Andrew Iwaniuk

Join Andrew Iwaniuk on Wednesday October 18 for a presentation on Ruffed Grouse.

Andrew is an ornithologist and neurobiologist based at the University of Lethbridge. His research has largely focused on why bird brains vary so much in size and anatomy across species. To that end, he has developed the world’s largest collection of avian brains for anatomical research, primarily through working with wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians. His research has provided new insights into the sensory abilities of hummingbirds, vultures, and owls as well as the complexities of parrot behaviour. He has worked extensively with museums in Australia and North America as well as fieldwork in southern Australia, western Canada, and Panama. In addition, he researches the drumming display of Ruffed Grouse in relation to physiology and anatomy.

Ruffed Grouse: the highs and lows of working on a difficult bird

The Ruffed Grouse is often considered a well-studied species because it is intensively managed across many parts of its broad distribution. However, many basic questions of Ruffed Grouse behaviour have remained largely unexplored. This is especially true of its characteristic courtship behaviour: the drumming display. Over the past 15 years, Andrew and his students have addressed some basic questions about the drumming display, such as: when do they drum?; how often do they drum?; what is the structure of the drumming sound?; and why do they drum?. Andrew will provide an overview of how they have attempted to answer these questions, what they have learned about Ruffed Grouse, the challenges of working on this species, and how they are currently working with hunters to understand more about Ruffed Grouse populations in western Canada.

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Ecuadorian Birding Adventure:

Presenter: Ted Goshulak

Andean Guan (Yanacoche Reserve, Ecuador) – Nov 2022: photo by Ted Goshulak

Join Ted Goshulak on Wednesday September 20 for a presentation on the birds of Ecuador.

In November 2022, Ted and two friends spent 12 days birding in Ecuador. The trip covered a number of unique habitats and ecosystems, which host a diverse group of bird species.

For a preview of the species seen on this trip go to the eBird Trip Report at: Tres Amigos: Glen, Sandy and Ted’s Ecuadorian Birding Adventure

Ted Goshulak is a retired academic librarian, living in Langley, BC. For ten years he was the newsletter (BC Birding) mail distribution person. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2023

Gulls of Southern Vancouver Island:

Presenter: Andrew Jacobs

Western Gull: photo by Andrew Jacobs

Join Victoria based gull enthusiast Andrew Jacobs who will be giving a talk on the gulls that regularly occur in southwestern British Columbia and how to identify them. Covering the basics of gull age, bill shape and plumage variation, he will also be covering the extensive Glaucous-winged Gull hybrid complex, what that means, and why it is an important factor to think about with our large gulls. Both adult and immature plumages will be covered as well as the common hybrids of the region and he will finish with an overview of some available resources.

Andrew is a UVic Biology student and volunteer at Rocky Point Bird Observatory’s Seawatch and banding stations, and worked with Laskeek Bay Conservation Society last spring (2022) on seabird monitoring in Haida Gwaii.

Glaucous-winged Gull chick: photo by Andrew Jacobs


Wednesday, 15 March 2023

BC Long-billed Curlew Study:

Presenter: David Bradley

Long-billed Curlew: photo by David Bradley

Join David Bradley, who is the Director of the BC Office at Birds Canada, where he has been since completing his post-doctoral research on Tree Swallow migration in 2012. He comes from a long line of birders, and was drawn to BC by the wealth of birds here as a UBC undergrad over 20 years ago. He has since gained an MSc and PhD in Behavioural Ecology studying how variation in bird song has impacted the evolution of cooperative breeding in a Neotropical wren species, and how dialect structure influences the conservation of island endemics in New Zealand.

At Birds Canada, David oversees several bird projects in BC, including the one he will be presenting on. He will tell us about the findings of a BC-wide Long-billed Curlew survey conducted by citizen scientists that he and his colleagues at Birds Canada managed last summer.

Long-billed Curlew: photo by David Bradley


Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Travels in the Great Basin of west/central USA.

Presenter: Lee Harding

Forster’s Tern. Photo: Lee Harding

Join Lee Harding who will share his travels in the Great Basin of west/central US. The Great Basin is the dry, intermountain plateau between the Cascade Range and the Rocky Mountains comprising parts of Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, and Utah. Lee will present the results of several birding trips to the north-western part of the Great Basin during 2015–2019. He will discuss the birds, their habitats in several national wildlife refuges and birding stops along the way.

Short-eared Owl, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. Photo: Lee Harding

Lee Harding grew up in the Great Basin. He has a BSc in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University (California) and a PhD in Wildlife Toxicology from Gifu University (Japan). He consulted in wildlife ecology in the Arctic for five years, was an Environment Canada biologist and program manager for 21 years and, after taking early retirement from the Canadian Wildlife Service, was an environmental consultant for another 20 years.

Sage grouse, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. Photo: Lee Harding


Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Birding Panama

Presenter: Gary Davidson

Rufescent Tiger Heron. Photo: Gary Davidson

2016 saw Gary, his wife and another couple spend ten weeks birding in Panama based in a house just outside Panama City. Most of their birding was concentrated in general area of their rented house. They also made a couple of trips to other parts of Panama.

The eBird checklist for Panama shows 994 species; they managed to see 389 during their time there. His presentation will focus on birds (including trogons, motmots, toucans and hummingbirds) but will also include a few mammal shots and offer a brief glimpse of Panama itself.

Plain Xenops. Photo: Gary Davidson

Gary is a retired Central Kootenays school teacher who has residing in the town of Nakusp for the last 48 years. He became an ardent birder after graduating university in 1970.

Gary has travelled extensively birding in Australia, Peru, Thailand, Taiwan, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Namibia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Jamaica. He was the very first BCFO Zoom presenter back in January of 2021.

He has been on the BCFO Board of Directors for six years and is our current president. He has also contributed to the birding community by coordinating the Nakusp CBC since 1975, conducted BBS in the west Kootenays for 30 years, has published 19 papers and is the eBird reviewer for three regions.

Dot-winged Antwren. Photo: Gary Davidson


Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Birding the Philippines – Endangered Endemics

Presenter: Peter Candido

Photo: Peter Candido

The Philippine Archipelago consists of over 7100 islands, with a total area slightly less than that of the British Isles. Of the 590 bird species recorded there, approximately 400 are resident and over half of these are endemic. Sadly, much of the lowland forest of these islands has now disappeared, and many endemic species are in danger of extinction. Fortunately the more remote mountainous regions still provide protection for a rich avifauna, and the Philippines offers some of the most exciting birding in Asia.

Photo: Peter Candido

Join Peter on a trip from steamy lowland forests to remote mountains on Luzon, Mindanao and Palawan in search of some of the fascinating birds of this tropical archipelago, including gorgeous kingfishers, a variety of owls, strange starlings and iconic species such as Palawan Peacock Pheasant, Celestial Monarch, Whiskered Pitta and the great Philippine Eagle.

Photo: Peter Candido


Wednesday, 19 October 2022

Costa Rica: Slam Dunk for Every Birder’s Bucket List? 

Presenter: Clive Keen

Great Curassow. Photo: Clive Keen

Most serious birders have either been to Costa Rica, are planning to go to Costa Rica, or are wondering if they should go to Costa Rica. If you are in the latter category, this talk will give seven reasons why you really must. If you in are either of the last two categories, it will redouble your enthusiasm, give suggestions about when, where and how, and offer a few tips.  If you are in the first category, you can heckle.

Lesson’s Motmot Photo: Clive Keen

Dr Clive Keen has had a varied career, including heading a marketing and public relations company, with a parallel career as a university professor, first in philosophy and later in business studies. His most recent roles have been in university administration, after moving to Canada in 1992 to help create The University of Northern BC as its founding Director of Communications.

He is author of many hundreds of magazine and newspaper article and seven books, including Birdwatching: a Different Sort of Guide (see https://traybonbooks.com). Wildlife, caving and music have been his chief passions, with regular forays onto the stage in opera, musicals, Shakespeare and comedy. 

Collared Aracari. Photo: Clive Keen


Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Human Caused Bird Mortality. Collection of bird carcasses – final year 2022
Presenter: Tara Imlay

Varied Thrush – a species very susceptible to window strike. Photo shows fatal bill/head damage.
Photo: George Clulow

The two largest sources of direct anthropogenic avian mortality in Canada are depredation by cats and collisions with buildings. Bird populations that spend all or most of the non-breeding season in heavily urbanized areas may be particularly vulnerable to population-level effects of these two source of direct anthropogenic mortality. However, despite the significant decline in temperate breeding and wintering bird populations, we know little about the causes of these declines. One area to address these questions is southwestern British Columbia where there are large numbers of breeding and wintering landbirds. In this region, a small number of species account for over half the collision mortality; their breeding populations are largely in steep decline. We analyzed the hydrogen stable isotope composition of tissues collected from birds killed as a result of direct anthropogenic mortality (largely cats and windows) to determine the likely breeding ground populations of these species. This is the first step to evaluating the relative importance of these sources of mortality on bird populations, and to aid prioritizing limited conservation dollars on threats and stages of the annual cycle that will have the largest impact for populations.

Dr. Tara Imlay is a Landbird Biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service.  Her work focuses on the ecology and conservation of landbirds throughout their annual cycle, including using laboratory and tracking approaches to understand the connectivity between populations at different times of the year. Dr. Imlay’s PhD research at Dalhousie University focused on uncovering the causes of declines for four species are aerial insectivores. Previous to that, she worked on conservation programs in Mauritius for some of the world’s rarest bird species, and was involved in documenting the effects of the Deepwater Horizon (BP) oilspill on shorebirds.


Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Birding in Paradise: Adventures in Papua New Guinea

Presenter: Peter Candido

A biochemist and molecular biologist by training, Peter Candido has had a lifelong interest in the natural world, and has been birding since the age of thirteen. A long-time member of the British Columbia Field Ornithologists, he served for six years on the BCFO provincial Bird Records Committee. As a member of Nature Vancouver, he has served on the Birding Section Committee as member and chair. Peter is a keen international birder and has travelled to over 30 countries to see and photograph birds and other wildlife. He enjoys sharing such experiences with others and has given a number of presentations to various naturalist clubs and community groups.
Some of his photographs of birds and mammals from BC and around the world can be found at: http://aviphile.smugmug.com.


Wednesday, 16 March 2022

UK Birding from West Coast to East Coast

Presenter: John Gordon

Spotted Crake
Photo: John Gordon

From the wide open spaces of the Welsh Black Mountains, to the famous Slimbridge Wildlife and Wetland Centre on the Severn Estuary, join with John on this visit to some of the UK’s most varied birding locations.
Close by to Slimbridge, the historical Forest of Dean offers glimpses of forest birds and wild boar, while for the birding traveler from overseas landing at Heathrow, John includes locations close to the airport for even more avian delights.
Travelling further afield, John takes us to Northumberland’s Farne Islands in the North Sea off England’s North East coast, and closes the presentation with a look at birding in Lincolnshire, including RSPB sites Frampton and Gibraltar Point on England’s east coast.

Long-tailed Tit
Photo: John Gordon

John Gordon is based in Cloverdale, BC and worked as a professional photographer in the news media from 1983 to 2013. His photography and articles have been featured in numerous publications, including Photo Life and Birder’s World magazines, and in Parks Canada campaigns.

John Gordon has written and published two notable books: Langley: Familiar Places, Familiar Scenes, (2004) and the follow-up, The Langleys (2008), reprinted 2017.

Currently, John leads photographic workshops and gives travel presentations throughout the Lower Mainland for schools, photography clubs, and other non-profit groups.

Photo: John Gordon


Wednesday, 16 February 2022

From IBAs to KBAs: Understanding B.C.’s Important Bird Areas and What’s Next for their Protection and Global Recognition

Presenter: Liam Ragan

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas program has been a global triumph, with over 10,000 sites designated across the globe since it’s founding over 25 years ago by BirdLife International. By applying globally standardized criteria, the program narrows in on sites of critical important to wild birds breeding, wintering, and migratory successes. Here in B.C. our 83 IBAs are supported by a network of over 60 volunteer Caretakers, including many BCFO members. These Caretakers spearhead monitoring, stewardship, and outreach efforts, to ensure we keep our finger on the pulse of these populations and can respond quickly when threats arise. Due to the success of the program it is now expanding to apply similar standardized criteria to all taxa as part of the Key Biodiversity Areas initiative, so that a site designation takes into account not just the birds residing there but the intricate ecological network which makes the area significant to them in the first place. As part of this we’re also looking at which of our IBAs need updated data; from remote marine breeding islands not surveyed since CWS last visited in the 90’s to vast interior grasslands whose breeding songbirds require large numbers of volunteers to count. During this talk, Liam will explain what the IBA and KBA programs are, who’s involved in their success, and what’s needed in the coming years to monitor and protect these globally critical bird sites.

Liam Ragan is the current Provincial Coordinator for Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in B.C., taking over from the previous coordinator and current BCFO Secretary Krista Kaptein in 2020. He is an avid birder who specialized in volunteer coordination, Indigenous engagement, and bird conservation.

 From left to right: IBA Provincial Coordinator Liam Ragan, IBA 2021 Summer Intern Lindsay Lalach, Kamloops Naturalist Club Next Generation Naturalists Volunteer Tristan Semeniuk during BCFO funded 2021 survey of Chopaka Customs IBA
One of the 16 Lewis’s Woodpeckers detected during the above mentioned survey, which represented over 2% of Canada’s entire estimated population of LEWO.


Wednesday, 19 January 2022


Presenter: Tom Plath

My love for natural history began early and by my teens had participated on numerous bird inventory projects. Sharing my passion with others, I was given the VNHS (Nature Vancouver) Garibaldi Award for outstanding service in 1993. Following a Diploma in Renewable Resources, I worked for BC Environment as a Non-game Wildlife Specialist for the Lower Mainland Region from 1992 to 2003. I reviewed development proposals and impacts to Species at Risk; collected population and habitat data on designated species; developed and administered funding proposals; and designed and implemented research projects. Following lay-off (down-sized) I started consulting in 2003. Since then, I’ve has worked on numerous wildlife-related projects in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the Yukon; and on a variety of taxon including Species at Risk, terrestrial mollusks, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, seabirds, raptors, owls, songbirds, small mammals and marine mammals.
I enjoy passing my knowledge to others and have led over 150 bird watching field trips both locally and abroad for many natural history groups; organized and conducted ornithology workshops for non-government and government agencies; and taught courses on identification, biology and behavior of birds at Capilano College, for the Vancouver School Board and Vancouver Community College. In 2010 I created Satipo Tours and now organize and lead birding tours worldwide.

The southern Africa country of Namibia has several outstanding birding areas holding one endemic, about 20 near-endemics and many bird species hard to see elsewhere. This sparsely populated, dry country also boasts one of Africa’s premier game viewing areas – Etosha National Park where springs and man-made water holes attract hordes of animals during the dry season. We visit the country’s finest bird and wildlife viewing sites starting at the escarpment forest of the Waterberg Plateau, riparian and floodplain habitats of the Caprivi Strip, westward to the “Rolls Royce” of Africa’s parks – Etosha, ending at the coastal shorebird-rich Walvis Bay area.

Two-banded Sandgrouse.
Photo: Tom Plath

Photo: Tom Plath


2021 presentations:

January  2021

Birding Exploration of Australia from Cape York to Tasmania

Presenter: Gary Davidson

September 15, 2021
Botswana/Okavango Delta

Presenter: Kevin Neill

From a very young age I’ve been kind of obsessed with most aspects of nature and wildlife. My day job is in finance, but this biologist/photographer wannabe simply does that so I can go birding in interesting locales. In October of 2012, my botanist-leaning wife Kala and I travelled to South Africa and Botswana to experience a full-on wildlife extravaganza. It did not disappoint.

This presentation consists mostly of our time spent in the Okavango Delta in the northwest corner of Botswana, and to a much lesser extent in and around Cape Town. Camping in the national parks of the Delta in 40C+ heat was both rustic and somewhat uncomfortable at times, but completely and absolutely worth it given the number of birds, mammals, and reptiles we got to experience in a sometimes frighteningly up close and personal way.

Hoopoe. Photo: Kevin Neill


October 20, 2021

Presenter: Lee Harding

Lee E. Harding has a BSc in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University (California) and a PhD in Wildlife Toxicology from Gifu University (Japan). He consulted in wildlife ecology in the Arctic for five years, was an Environment Canada biologist and program manager for 20 and, after taking early retirement from the Canadian Wildlife Service, was an environmental consultant for another20 years. Dr. Harding is a Registered Professional Biologist in British Columbia, Canada and a member (retired) of the College of Applied Biology (B.C.), the American Society of Mammalogists and the British Columbia Field Ornithologists. His recent publications have included articles in Birds of British Columbia (papers on red-winged blackbirds, sandhill cranes and soras) and British Columbia Birding (articles on birding in China and Oregon).

Lee and his brother, Jeff Harding, spent a month in Argentina in 2015. They flew to Buenos Aires, spent a few days in a local nature reserve, drove north, passing through Entre Rios, Corrientes and Missiones provinces to the massive Iquazú waterfalls on the border with Brazil, in deep gallery rainforest. They then drove southwest to Ibará, the second largest wetland in the world after the Pantonal in Brazil. Continuing west, they crossed the dry Chaco, an arid region of dry scrub. Veering north, they reached the foothills of the Andes in Jujuy Province, spending a few days in a cloud forest at about 3,000 m elevation. Further west, they entered the Andes, passed the village of Purmamarca and climbed switchbacks up to near the Chilean and Bolivian borders to the Atacama Desert at about 3,500 m before their car’s radiator boiled over. Turning south, they climbed to another cloud forest to see the Rufous-throated dippers. Continuing south, they stopped at Salta, the capital of Salta Province, before again turning up into the Andes for high desert birding in Tucuman Province. Then they began a long, straight drive south, passing through Cordoba, La Pampa and Rio Negro Provinces—a country filled with wetlands, lakes and savannas— to reach the Valdez Peninsula, on the Atlantic coast in Chabut Province, Patagonia. On return to Buenos Aires, they took a coastal route, visiting the mouth of the Rio Negro and Bahía Blanca and an interior mountain range, the Sierra de la Ventana, in Buenos Aires Province. They counted 361 bird species.

Spectacled Tyrant. Photo: Lee Harding

November 17, 2021
Williamson’s Sapsuckers: Endangered for now, but where to next?

Presenter: Les Gyug

Les is a biologist who has lived and worked in the southern interior of BC since 1981, running his own business, Okanagan Wildlife Consulting, since 1991. While over the years he has worked with many wildlife species, Williamson’s Sapsucker has been a recurring theme since 1995. While an interesting bird in its own right, its assessment in 2005 as Endangered in Canada added impetus to the research, which continues to this day.

Les will take a look back at what we’ve done, how much we know now that we didn’t know before, some interesting sapsucker behaviour, and where the species is likely to end up next given conservation efforts and climate change.

Photo: Les Gyug