Birding, or bird watching, is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. In the Tri-Cities, there are several areas to enjoy birding as they have unique habitats that attract a variety of resident and migratory species. These areas include Belcarra Regional Park, Shoreline Park Trail System, Como Lake, Mundy Park, Colony Farm Regional Park, DeBoville Slough, and Minnekhada Regional Park. (To learn more about these habitats, take a look at BMN’s Discover Nature in the Tri-Cities Area booklet.) BMN has published several bird checklists for the local area.
The BMN hosts two birding events each spring at Colony Farm Regional Park when migratory birds are visiting. These events include a walk to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day in May, and the Lazuli Bunting Walk in June. Additionally, BMN has a birding walk for absolute beginners called Birding for Absolute Beginners where members and guests meet at a local park to learn birding basics. BMN also promotes Nature Vancouver’s birding walks offered in and around the Tri-Cities.
Christmas Bird Census
In 1900, an American ornithologist asked people across North America to head out on Christmas Day to count birds (instead of shooting them, as was the tradition) and submit the results as the first “Christmas Bird Census.” The CBC is now conducted in the two weeks around Christmas in more than 2000 localities across North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. The observations form a huge database that reflects the distribution and numbers of winter birds over the past 116 years.
BMN has been participating in the TriCities sector of the Pitt Meadows CBC for the past 22 years. Volunteers go out each year , rain or shine, by foot, car and boat in teams to one of 14 Areas (e.g., Colony Farm, Como Lake, Inlet Park, Lafarge Lake, along the Coquitlam River).
One of BMN’s bird conservation projects is providing bird nest boxes for Chickadees, Tree and Barn Swallows, Purple Martins, and Barn Owls in selected locations within the Tri-Cities. Every winter, a team of volunteers check the nest boxes to determine if the box had been used and by what species, as well as to clean and repair the boxes to prepare them for the birds’ spring arrival.
Until recently, BMN members regularly counted Great Blue Heron populations at Colony Farm Regional Park. The Park used to be home to a Heron rookery with approximately 80 nests but it was abandoned by the birds likely due to extensive, long term heavy duty construction in the vicinity during the construction of the new Port Mann Bridge. In 2015, a BMN member noticed two pairs of Great Blue Herons nesting in Port Moody near Old Orchard Park. Since that time, BMN has been monitoring the site. In 2017, the rookery grew to 13 nests.
Build Your Own Nest Boxes
Interested in building your own nest boxes? Get detailed instructions for Barn Owl, Ducks (cavity nesters), Black-capped Chickadee, Tree Swallow, and Purple Martin boxes in the guide How to Build Nest Boxes for Common Birds in the Tri-Cities authored by BMN member, Kiyoshi Takahashi. Other nest box resources include How to Build a Chickadee Nest Box, by Kiyoshi Takahashi.
Events are open to the public and are no cost. Due to insurance liability, guests may attend up to three activities before they must be a member.