Ann Nightingale hopes birders will be on the lookout for their feathered friends during the annual Victoria Christmas Bird Count on Saturday.

Birders prep for Christmas count

Sharp eyes and trained ears are on the lookout for our avian friends.

Sharp eyes and trained ears are on the lookout for our avian friends.

The 54th edition of the Victoria Christmas Bird Count launches Saturday, where birders with spotting scopes and binoculars scan the horizon for birds of all types, including the rarer species congregating in Greater Victoria.

“This year could be an excellent year,” said VCBC co-ordinator Ann Nightingale. “We have a lot of rare birds out now.”

Recent sightings of a flock of brown pelicans near Fisherman’s Wharf and a blue-grey gnatcatcher at Swan Lake have been a source of excitement for birders in the region.

Nightingale, who counts herself as a birder as opposed to a bird watcher – as you may only hear the bird without seeing it – said the count is an important tool for tracking trends with an eye on conservation.

She hopes even more volunteers keep their eyes peeled for the Victoria event that boasts the most participants from more than 2,000 bird counts from across North America.

The Dec. 15 count covers a radius of more than 24 kilometres in 20 designated land zones and three water zones.

“It is the longest citizen science project going and Victoria has been doing this since 1958,” Nightingale said. “It is important we look at the trends, at what is happening in Victoria so we can conserve (the birds).”

More than 220 birders flocked to the count in 2011 and Nightingale has her sights set on even more volunteers, like second-year counter Kim Taylor.

“I am always excited to learn, it is a great experience,” said Taylor, a research technologist. “I have gotten the bug of seeing new birds. I am keeping a list of how many I see and it is fun to add to it.”

The longtime bird lover takes on the Albert Head Lagoon and Triangle Mountain count and looks forward to the challenge that puts her bird knowledge to the test.

“The game of figuring out who is who … and what they are doing is exciting to figure out,” Taylor continued. “It is the thrill of seeing some things new. It is an adventure.”

Other key birding areas include Clover Point, Esquimalt Lagoon and Martindale flats. Even residential backyard birdfeeders are in the sights of those who can’t make it outdoors.

Information from all bird counts is submitted to the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. Nightingale, a 17-year birder, hopes to surpass the 140 species and 80,000 bird-count average.

“It is important to me because I really care about what is happening with the bird population,” Nightingale said. “I am a bit of a bird evangelist and this is a great opportunity for me to share the birds with other people.”

For more information on the Victoria Christmas Bird Count, see or email Nightingale at



Just Posted

Victoria Grizzlies’ goalie will honour friend in all he does

Kurtis Chapman lost his best friend earlier this month

Saanich teen helps save three people from the Gorge

53-year-old male who was submerged is expected to recover

Large fire destroys home on McClure Street in Victoria

Fire crews dispatched to the 1100-block shortly before noon Monday

Spencer Middle School enjoys jumps in sports enrolment numbers

Program gives students a sense of belonging, school pride

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Comox Valley Valley lotto ticket worth $2 million

Someone who purchased a lottery ticket in the Comox Valley was chanelling… Continue reading

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Man dies in crash on Island Highway

Man thrown from his vehicle, alcohol believed to be a factor in accident near Parksville

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

Most Read