Christmas bird count a West Shore holiday tradition

Event tracks population changes, migratory patterns and threats to birds

Redwings

The Victoria Natural History Society is conducting its annual Christmas bird count this Saturday (Dec. 20) and is stopping at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site to welcome the public along.

Begun in 1958, the bird count sees natural history society members and avian enthusiasts roaming throughout Greater Victoria, identifying and counting as many species as they can. It’s a way to keep tabs on changing populations, migratory patterns and factors that could pose a threat to native ecosystems.

“It’s a good opportunity for the public to learn about what’s in their backyard,” says Bob Campbell, species-at-risk communications officer at the historic site.

Though the bird count has included Fort Rodd Hill in years past, this is the first time the park has formally partnered with the Natural History Society to extend the invitation to volunteers and the public.

Also new this year is the hot chocolate and apple cider offering in the Garry Oak Learning Meadow, as the public gather and are oriented to the count.

“The count is so close to Christmas, it’s a way for us to infuse some cheer into the afternoon,” Campbell says.

And even if no rare birds decide to show their beaks, the meadow itself is a wonder to behold. It’s a one-acre piece of Fort Rodd Hill’s grounds that has been completely restored to a native Garry Oak ecosystem, a process that has taken over 5,000 volunteer hours.

“We were just amazed at how quickly it came back,” he says. Native species like great camus, Douglas aster and native buttercup and strawberry have come up in much greater numbers than expected, transforming the sparse meadow into a colourful, blooming landscape in spring.

Campbell notes that while the blooms might be a few months away, there are still plenty of chances to see and hear much diversity in the ecosystem.

“There’s always opportunities to see birds and animals,” he says, including a resident family of river otters that live down by Fisgard Lighthouse.

Regular public admission fees apply: $3.90 for adults, $3.40 for seniors and $1.90 for children over six.

For more information, contact Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site at 250-478-5849, or visit the Natural History Society’s website at vicnhs.bc.ca.

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Researchers say ‘text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millenials’ skulls

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Tiny Yorkshire terrier Poppie survives days on remote island

ROAM rescue crews, family searched for dog, missing in Saanich for days

UVic microbiology student chosen for 2019 Amgen Scholars Canada Program

Dushanthi Dissanayake and 14 other Canadian students head to Toronto for mentorship, research

Greater Victoria region home to four licensed recreational pot retailers

Vancouver Island home to six out of 34 licensed retail outlets across British Columbia

Spontaneous combination causes fire at Saanich’s urban-rural boundary

Crews had already responded once to MacNutt Enterprises Sunday morning

WATCH: Thousands gather for National Indigenous Peoples Day at Royal Roads University

Day to embrace and celebrate culture and lives of Indigenous peoples

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read