By Jody Allair, Director – Citizen Science and Community Engagement, Birds Canada
If you’ve been following what’s happening at Birds Canada in 2020, you’ll know that we’ve extended our usual Great Canadian Birdathon season. This annual fundraiser for conservation typically happens throughout the month of May, but this year we’ve invited participants to do a Birdathon any time at all before the end of the year. This allows us all flexibility to work around restrictions related to COVID-19 so we can make sure birds can still get the support they need this year.
Many Birdathon participants who would have normally gone out during spring migration have chosen to do their Birdathon in fall this year instead. Included in that category are some of our staff here at Birds Canada. We are joining together with friends, family, and anyone who wants to be involved, under the banner of Birdathon team “The Canucks.” We hope you’ll be part of this expanded version of our original Canucks team – which you may remember from Champions of the Flyway in 2019. The Canucks are rallying our efforts over the October 3-4 weekend, trying to document as many species as possible in our respective home patches.
Graham and Kristina Photo: Graham Sorenson
A Birdathon in fall will bring different birding experiences than what we’d have in May. My fall 2020 Birdathon will be focused on my local birding patch. I plan on visiting all 15 of the eBird Birding Hotspots within a 30-km radius of my home in southern Alberta. The bulk of the neotropical migrants (i.e. warblers and thrushes) will have come and gone by then, but there should be excellent numbers of geese, Sandhill Cranes, and hopefully a few lingering shorebirds.
As another example, here’s what Canucks Graham Sorenson and Kristina Hick anticipate enjoying in Delta, BC: “By early October, huge numbers of waterfowl will be back, wintering sparrow diversity will be increasing, wintering hawks and owls will be starting to return, and shorebird migration will be winding down. We will likely see fewer warblers by this time, and few birds will be in full breeding plumage, but the overall number of migrating birds in the fall can be spectacular as both adults and first-year birds head south.”
You too can step out in the crisp autumn air and support bird research and conservation in Canada. You can join The Canucks, wherever you are, and conduct a Birdathon yourself – or you can simply donate to a fellow Canuck.
Long-billed Dowitchers Photo: Yousif Attia
We’d love to hear how your Birdathon goes, so please use the hashtags #GreatCanadianBirdathon or #Birdathon2020, tag Birds Canada on social media (@birdscanada on Facebook and Twitter; @birds.canada on Instagram), follow along during the October 3-4 weekend using #teamcanucks, or email your stories to Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Across Canada, Birds Canada and our partners are working tirelessly to understand and protect birds and the habitats they rely on. We really appreciate your dedicated support!