Fall Waterbird Survey Results Are In: Citizen scientists recorded over 51,000 birds!

Due to the outstanding contribution of 79 volunteers, 51,261 birds were recorded over three survey dates during the fall Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey (CWWS)! The highest single day count was recorded on October 15th, 2016 when 20,784 birds (75 species) were counted at 85 locations. This is an incredible accomplishment for our region and this effort is worth celebrating! Data will contribute to long-term conservation efforts in the Columbia Wetlands.

“I am incredibly impressed with the dedication and growing knowledge of the volunteers on the Waterbird Survey,” said CWWS Program Biologist Rachel Darvill. “This fall we were able to acquire a huge amount of baseline data on dozens of bird species in an ecosystem where previously little data was available, and we had a lot of fun viewing birds and collecting data in such beautiful habitat.”

The CWWS began in 2015. It is a five-year coordinated bird count where the major goal is to mobilize and coordinate citizen scientists to collect data that will be used for application to designate the Columbia Wetlands as an Important Bird Area (IBA). IBA is a global initiative with over 600 sites across Canada. IBA works to conserve and monitor a network of sites identified as the world’s most critical bird habitat. The IBA agenda works to provide good science, develop strong partnerships, conserve habitat on the ground, enable caretaker networks, and to safeguard migratory flyways for the future.

The CWWS has once again proven to be an effective catalyst for engaging bird enthusiasts in collecting scientific data that contributes to creating real on the ground initiatives. “It’s moving and encouraging to know that so many people are rallying together towards a united cause, and all the while, increasing their knowledge of nature and of bird species that require the Columbia Wetlands as vital habitat,” said Darvill. “The CWWS would not be possible without the dedication of the incredible volunteers in our region. And because of CWWS data, I think that we have a very realistic opportunity of obtaining IBA status for the Columbia Wetlands.”

For more information, or to sign up and participate in the spring waterbird surveys (April 2017), please contact Rachel at racheldarvill(at)gmail.com, or call 250-344-5530.

The CWWS is a program of Wildsight Golden and is funded by the Columbia Basin Trust, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A, Regional District East Kootenay Area G, the Ballie Fund and the Gaming Grant.