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By Graham Sorenson, BC Projects Coordinator, Bird Studies Canada

Western Sandpipers Photo: Graham Sorenson

BC Coastal Waterbird Survey Celebrates Major Milestone

Bird Studies Canada was excited this past spring to complete the 20th season of our British Columbia Coastal Waterbird Survey – thanks to our amazing volunteers! And as the start of another season approaches on September 8, 2019, we are looking for more volunteers to join this important bird monitoring effort. If you enjoy getting out on the coast once a month, you can help!
This long-term Citizen Science program involves counting waterbirds (such as ducks, gulls, and shorebirds) and raptors (such as owls, hawks, and falcons) on the second Sunday of each month throughout the winter. BC Coastal Waterbird Survey results play an important role in species recovery strategies, oil spill response planning, and international research initiatives like the Migratory Shorebird Project. Bird Studies Canada is seeking volunteers anywhere along British Columbia’s coast – to add to the surveys being conducted in populated areas, and to fill gaps in survey coverage in more remote areas.
Keep an Eye on Ocean Health with the BC Beached Bird Survey
Bird Studies Canada is also looking for Citizen Scientists to assist with our BC Beached Bird Survey. This survey involves walking along local beaches and checking for bird carcasses. Surveys are conducted anytime during the last week of each month, and all survey equipment is provided. This program provides crucial baseline information on the causes and rates of seabird mortality. The results give a good indication of marine ecosystem health, and can help scientists detect changes in ocean conditions. BC Beached Bird survey participants have been instrumental in detecting mass mortality events of seabirds in the past.
Training Opportunities
Bird Studies Canada will host several training workshops this fall, including in the Cowichan Estuary, likely on the Sunshine Coast, in the Lower Mainland, and possibly on BC’s central or north coast. If you know of a meeting space with coastal birding close by, and would like to help plan a workshop, please reach out to Graham Sorenson. These workshops will be a combination of presentation and outdoor practice, and will focus on Coastal Waterbird and Beached Bird survey protocols, flock estimation, and species identification. If you are a new volunteer, or an existing volunteer looking for a refresher and hoping to improve your birding skills, these workshops will be the perfect level for you.
Learn More and Get Involved
A special thank-you to all of our coastal program volunteers! If you’d like to volunteer for either of these projects, or learn more about them, please contact Graham Sorenson at or 1-877-349-2473.
You can learn more about recent survey results, eBird counts of the Fraser River Estuary Important Bird Area, recent seabird die-offs, and new shorebird work and partnerships in last winter’s BC Coast BirdWatch newsletter.
The BC Beached Bird and Coastal Waterbird surveys are supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and the Vancouver Port Authority.

Photo: Graham Sorenson

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