Wednesday, 21 September, 2022
Human Caused Bird Mortality. Collection of bird carcasses – final year 2022
Presenter: Tara Imlay
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
September 15, 2021
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.
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.
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.