A look at the underwing of a Northern Saw-whet Owl under ultra-violet light. (Photo contributed)

Keeping track of feathered friends at the Rocky Point Bird Observatory

Early birds and night owls needed in Metchosin

Rick Stiebel/News staff

Whether you’re a morning person or prefer to spread your wings in the evening, the Rocky Point Bird Observatory has room for you in its flock of volunteers.

Songbird monitoring at Rocky Point Bird Observatory’s stations begins a half hour before sunrise from July 21 to Oct. 18, while keeping track of owl migration runs from mid-September to the end of October, said Ann Nightingale, “That’s why we’re always looking for volunteers,” she said. “Fortunately, our volunteer schedules can accommodate early birds and night owls.”

Volunteers with the organization have no trouble keeping busy, as evidenced by the 9,000 Northern Saw-Whet owls that have been banded at the RPBO station at Pedder Bay Marina since 20002. That total includes 1,850 last year in just six weeks, Nightingale added. Volunteers will be busy between Oct. 18 and Oct. 31 banding songbirds on any morning it doesn’t rain, Nightingale noted. Volunteers put in more than 7,000 hours a year, she added.

Other than a small grant from the Canadian Wildlife Service, Rocky Point Bird Observatory, which has been in operation since 1994, raises all of the funds required to conduct public educational programs and operational costs. “Like most non-profits, we’re always looking for support,” said Nightingale, who has served as a volunteer, board member and past president during the past 22 years.

Some of the other work RPBO undertakes each year involves monitoring temporary Stations at Witty’s Lagoon and Madrona Farm in Saanich each spring.

Anyone interested in visiting the Pedder Bay Station to see songbirds in the morning and owls in the evening should visits@rpbo.org. If you would like to volunteer or make a donation, go to volunteer@rpbo.org. The Rocky Point Station is on Department of National Defence land and is not open to the public. or volunteering should contact

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A closeup look at a Northern Saw-Whet Owl, one of thousands that have been banded at the Rocky Point Bird Observatory. (Pphoto contributed by Ann Nightingale)

Rocky Point Bird Observatory bander Siobhan Darlington with a Cooper’s Hawk. (Photo contributed by Ann Nightingale)

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