Ann Nightingale hopes birders will be on the lookout for their feathered friends during the annual Victoria Christmas Bird Count on Saturday.

Birders prep for Christmas count

Sharp eyes and trained ears are on the lookout for our avian friends.

Sharp eyes and trained ears are on the lookout for our avian friends.

The 54th edition of the Victoria Christmas Bird Count launches Saturday, where birders with spotting scopes and binoculars scan the horizon for birds of all types, including the rarer species congregating in Greater Victoria.

“This year could be an excellent year,” said VCBC co-ordinator Ann Nightingale. “We have a lot of rare birds out now.”

Recent sightings of a flock of brown pelicans near Fisherman’s Wharf and a blue-grey gnatcatcher at Swan Lake have been a source of excitement for birders in the region.

Nightingale, who counts herself as a birder as opposed to a bird watcher – as you may only hear the bird without seeing it – said the count is an important tool for tracking trends with an eye on conservation.

She hopes even more volunteers keep their eyes peeled for the Victoria event that boasts the most participants from more than 2,000 bird counts from across North America.

The Dec. 15 count covers a radius of more than 24 kilometres in 20 designated land zones and three water zones.

“It is the longest citizen science project going and Victoria has been doing this since 1958,” Nightingale said. “It is important we look at the trends, at what is happening in Victoria so we can conserve (the birds).”

More than 220 birders flocked to the count in 2011 and Nightingale has her sights set on even more volunteers, like second-year counter Kim Taylor.

“I am always excited to learn, it is a great experience,” said Taylor, a research technologist. “I have gotten the bug of seeing new birds. I am keeping a list of how many I see and it is fun to add to it.”

The longtime bird lover takes on the Albert Head Lagoon and Triangle Mountain count and looks forward to the challenge that puts her bird knowledge to the test.

“The game of figuring out who is who … and what they are doing is exciting to figure out,” Taylor continued. “It is the thrill of seeing some things new. It is an adventure.”

Other key birding areas include Clover Point, Esquimalt Lagoon and Martindale flats. Even residential backyard birdfeeders are in the sights of those who can’t make it outdoors.

Information from all bird counts is submitted to the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. Nightingale, a 17-year birder, hopes to surpass the 140 species and 80,000 bird-count average.

“It is important to me because I really care about what is happening with the bird population,” Nightingale said. “I am a bit of a bird evangelist and this is a great opportunity for me to share the birds with other people.”

For more information on the Victoria Christmas Bird Count, see naturevictoria.ca or email Nightingale at birdcount@naturevictoria.ca.

reporter@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria-bound plane slides off icy Edmonton runway

Crew, passengers had to disembark via bridge stairs

VIDEO: Hundreds gather in Victoria as part of global Women’s March for equality

‘End Violence Against Women’ march theme for 2019

Victoria’s oldest pipes to be replaced this year

The pipes along Cook Street were installed in 1891 and are made of bricks

Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

A severe doctor shortage is leaving Esquimalt residents scrambling for health care

WATCH: Medieval fighters train in Colwood

Fighters are gearing up for world championships in medieval combat

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read