Naturespeak 

Birding beyond Whistler

By Michael Thompson,

Whistler Naturalists

While our NatureSpeak articles tend to concentrate on natural subjects in or near the Whistler community, as do our regular reports of birds seen, there is a world beyond which is full of bird, and birding, life. Some readers may be interested in a few related organizations and resources.

Perhaps we can start with Bird Studies Canada (BSC, www.bsc-eoc.org ). This research and conservation group has its main base at Long Point Bird Observatory near Point Pelee (on a major migration flyway). There are also local representatives in most, if not all, provinces. It conducts extensive bird banding and other research both in Canada, where the breeding grounds are, and the Latin American countries, where all the migrant birds become "snowbirds!"

The names of some BSC programs suggest their purpose – FeederWatch, NestWatch, and North American Christmas Bird Counts. BSC co-ordinates the Canadian portion of the latter for the National (US) Audubon Society. Along with the Canadian Nature Federation, it also represents Canada at BirdLife International (BLI, www.birdlife.net ) which, although based in Europe, has about 100 members from individual nations around the world.

Both BSC and BLI regularly produce some great birding publications. "Birdwatch Canada" contains, among other things, extensive reports, data, and photos of action at feeders across the country. "World Birdwatch" has excellent photographs and reports of many exotic species, some of which one never knew existed!

As a technical resource, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/hww-fap/index_e.cfm ) offers comprehensive information on certain bird species and other fauna.

A news release will appear shortly with more details about our Christmas Bird Count. In the meantime, here are some dates and contact information:

Squamish: Dec. 14, meet at the Brackendale Art Gallery, 7 a.m.

Pemberton: Dec. 15, meet at the Pony Espresso, 7:30 a.m. Contact Hugh Naylor (604-894-6402).

Whistler: Dec. 21; contact Michael Thompson (604-932-5010).

Lillooet: Dec. 29; contact Ken Wright (250-256-4702).

Upcoming Events :

Thursday, Nov. 28th, 6 to 7 p.m., MY Place — Whistler Naturalists Annual General Meeting . The Whistler Naturalists encourage anyone interested in getting more involved to join us for our fourth AGM. New board members welcome. For details, contact Bob Brett (604-932-8900; snowline@direct.ca).

Thursday, Nov. 28th — Andy MacKinnon, "Coastal Rainforests: More Than Just Trees?", 7:30 p.m., MY Place.

Andy MacKinnon, best known as the co-author of "Plants of Coastal B.C." is an incredibly energetic and enthusiastic speaker. A mushroom guy (mycologist) by training, Andy has studied and monitored temperate rainforests through his senior position with the B.C. Government. His presentation will describe temperate rainforests (including those in Whistler) and the challenges in managing them for a number of uses, including the opportunities and risks of harvesting non-forest timber products (for example, mushrooms and plants for the floral trade). Members $5; non-members $8; children free. Follows the Whistler Naturalists AGM.

Sightings: To report noteworthy bird sightings any time of year, please contact Michael Thompson (604-932-5010; email: redpath@telus.net).

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