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By Graham Sorenson, BC Projects Coordinator, Bird Studies Canada


Pigeon Guillemots Photo: Catherine Jardine

Our team at Bird Studies Canada has just updated the British Columbia Coastal Waterbird hotspot maps. The maps now depict waterbird abundance and densities during winter, spring, and fall, based on data collected from 1999-2016. Thank you to all of the survey volunteers who collected data and made this possible!
These maps provide useful regional data on important coastal areas for wintering and migrating waterbirds in British Columbia. The map below showing “kernel density” (the mean number of birds per square kilometre) of all surveyed waterbirds during winter months highlights the importance of the coast flanking the Metro Vancouver area – primarily associated with the Fraser River Estuary. Areas of higher waterbird density can be targeted for conservation efforts.

If you are interested in viewing results for a specific group of species, a specific region of coastal British Columbia, or a specific season, you can select these options using the dropdown menus. You can also select a specific bird Family (e.g. gulls) or population status (declining or at risk). Using the “radio buttons,” you can choose from having results displayed as kernel density, mean abundance, or density. Right-click on a map to save it.
The data depicted in these maps come from 24,384 surveys and 42,987 volunteer hours logged from 1999 to 2016. Continued effort in 2018 on the part of the current 148 dedicated volunteers will make future mapping and trend analysis possible.
More volunteers are needed. We are always looking for more volunteers to cover remote regions of coastline or fill in gaps near urban centers. If you are comfortable identifying coastal waterbirds and want to participate, please email BCvolunteer@birdscanada.org or visit the BC Coastal Waterbird Survey webpage for more information. If you want to volunteer on the coast, but do not yet feel comfortable identifying waterbirds, consider joining the BC Beached Bird Survey. Alternatively, if you do not live in British Columbia and are interested in similar monitoring programs, check out Bird Studies Canada’s volunteer programs across Canada.
The BC Coastal Waterbird Survey is funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

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