There are numerous organizations promoting interest in birding. The following, while not a comprehensive list, includes some of the local groups.
British Columbia Field Ornithologists
Victoria BC V8W 3R7
Individual membership $25.00 p.a.
Dedicated exclusively to the study and enjoyment of wild birds in British Columbia, Canada. Their quarterly publication, “B.C. Birding”, is a must for anyone with a keen interest in birding. Includes lots of birding news, events and field trips, and detailed birding guides for different areas of the province. Membership is highly recommended.
Vancouver Natural History Society
Vancouver, BC V6B 3X5
Tel: (604) 737-3074
Individual membership $35.00 p.a.
Family membership $45.00 p.a.
Largest and most active naturalist group in the Lower Mainland. Regular birding field trips and meetings. Operates the Lower Mainland Rare Bird Alert line. Great Web site.
Victoria Natural History Society
PO Box 5220 Stn. B
Victoria BC V8R 6N4
Individual membership $25.00 p.a.
Family membership $30.00 p.a.
For information contact Bruce Whittington:
Tel: (250) 477-8611
E-mail: [email protected]
Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia
PO Box 124 – 1489 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, BC V7T 1B8
For information contact Patricia M. Banning-Lover:
Phone: (604) 925-2581 or 922-1550
Fax: (604) 922-8034
E-mail: [email protected]
Individual membership $14.00 p.a.
A non-profit society dedicated to preserving and enhancing wild bird habitat in British Columbia. Quarterly newsletter and special events. Donations are tax deductible. Membership and donations are highly recommended.
Alouette Field Naturalists
12554 Grace St
Maple Ridge BC V2X 5N2
For information contact Duanne Van Den Berg (604) 463-8743.
Burke Mountain Naturalists
1102 2929 Barnet Highway
Coquitlam BC V3B 7J4
For information contact Elaine Golds (604) 937-3483 (e-mail: [email protected]).
Chilliwack Field NaturalistsPO Box 268
Chilliwack BC V2P 6J1
For information contact Hazel Street (604) 858-0803.
Central Valley Naturalist’s Club
7271 Lefeuvre Road
Abbotsford, BC V4X 2C1
For information contact Henk Saaltink (604) 856-4982.
Delta Naturalists Club
5176 Cliff Avenue
Delta, BC V4M 2C5
For information contact Marilyn King (604) 943-5275.
Langley Field Naturalist
Box 56052 Valley Centre PO
Langley, BC V3A 2J9
For information contact Alastair Grogan (604) 534-9682.
Royal City Field Naturalists
125 Bonson Street
New Westminster, BC V3L 2J9
For information contact Norma Boutillier (604) 430-8033.
White Rock & Surrey Naturalists’ Society
Box 75044 RPO White Rock
White Rock, BC V4A 9M4
For information contact Francis deMontreuil (pronounced de-mon-tray):
Tel: (604) 535-2642
For those of you on the internet the above Web site provides a very comprehensive list of all the naturalist societies in Canada. For British Columbia you can contact the Federation of B.C. Naturalists at (604) 737-3057.
One of the big attractions of birding is that it goes so well with travel. You can do it anywhere in the world and the idea of visiting another country and experiencing a whole range of new and exotic species is a particularly exciting prospect for most birders. One of the drawbacks, though, is that it generally takes time to become familiar with the species and best locations for birding in a particular area. Well, thanks to the power of the internet, there is now a global club called Birding Pals where birders can find each other.
A birding pal is not a paid guide, but just someone who, out of their love for the sport, likes to help out-of-town visitors. The club makes it easy, when you are travelling, to connect with a birder who is familiar with the local hotspots, and can show you around. You, in turn, can register as a birding pal to show out-of-town birders that are travelling in your area some of the local avifauna. This reciprocity, however, is not required.
Whether travelling, or hosting a bird walk for out-of-towners, or both, it is strictly voluntary and free of charge. The club’s website is more of just a contact site, but it is a very good one … well designed, and extremely easy to use. When you visit, you will be able to locate birding pals in 30 US states, 8 Canadian provinces, 17 European countries, Australia, India, Africa, Mexico and the Caribbean, and the list is growing. A very worthwhile concept.
Suite 393 – 701 Rossland Road East
Whitby, ON L1N 9K3
Phone: (905) 668-1449
Fax: (905) 668-1626
E-mail: [email protected]
Subscription: $40.00 p.a.
The magazine for birding in Canada. Bi-monthly publication includes a round-up of noteworthy sightings across Canada, site guides, advanced identification tips, and lots more. Great photographs. Definitely worthwhile.
c/o Kalmbach Publishing Co.
21027 Crossroads Circle – Box 1612
Subscription: $28.00 U.S. p.a.
U.S. based bi-monthly publication with a wealth of general information about birding across North America. Identification tips, equipment, events, site guides and a lot more. Superb layout and photographs.
Subscription: $28.95 U.S. p.a.
U.S. based bi-monthly publication with lost of general interest stories about birding. Tips for attracting and feeding birds and lots more. Tends to be a little less technically oriented than “Birder’s World”.
The growing popularity of birding has led to a proliferation of excellent websites. One of the drawbacks to the internet is that it can literally bury you with information on any given topic and this one is no exception. A recent search of the word “birding” revealed a mere 114,200 individual sites. I think the best way to explore the subject is to visit a few of the more comprehensive sites and then use their “links” to find other informative sites.
The sites I would recommend as a starting point for birders in British Columbia are:
Birding in British Columbia
B.C. Bird Notes
Birding in Canada
Here is a list of some of the other sites I found interesting:
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts
Birdsource – Birding With A Purpose
Canadian Bird Conservation Program
Canadian Nature Federation
Internet Bird Collection
Royal BC Museum – Birds – A Virtual Exhibition
The Bird Guide (Pacific Northwest)
Worldtwitch – Finding Rare Birds Around the World
Birding software can be divided into two main categories: identification software and listing software. Mist Software Associates produces an excellent Windows based identification program called Enjoy Birds (www.enjoybirds.com) that provides illustrations of all North American species as well as calls and songs of the commoner birds. Another good website for identification software is Yardbirds of North America (www.ramphastos.com), but also keep in mind that there are CD-ROMs available at many of the local nature shops and several of the online stores that are intended to assist the novice birder with their identification skills. For example, Thayer Birding Software (see below) has a good CD-ROM field guide called “The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Guide to Birds of North America version 3.0”. Another good identification CD-ROM is “The North American Bird Reference Book version 4.0” by Lanius Software.
Some identification software can be downloaded directly through the internet, such as the “Dawn Chorus I” program available at BirdSong Bytes Inc. This is an image and song encyclopedia for 136 common birds of temperate eastern North America (that, in time, will no doubt be expanded to include more species and the other half of the continent). One of the nice features of this program is that, once it is on your hard drive, you can then download the song and image of selected species onto your palm pilot or other handheld wireless computer for use in the field.
When it comes to software to help you keep records of what you’ve seen (listing software), there is a lot less selection compared to the various identification aids. Here are the main programs available in North America:
Avisys 5.0 by Perceptive Systems
BirdBase and Bird Area both by Santa Barbara Software Products
Map List by Flying Emu
Birdbrain 5.0 by Ideaform Inc. A listing program for MacIntosh computers only.
Birder’s Notebook 3.0 by GGSoftware. Not strictly a listing program, Birder’s Notebook lets you create and manage your own electronic library of multimedia birding information, including observations, pictures, videos, sound recordings and text.
One of the developments in software these days allows computer users to access applications directly through the internet without having to buy and download a proprietary software product. With the advent of “eBird”, this trend appears to be spreading to bird listing software. eBird is a site developed jointly by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society that provides birders with a simple way to record, store and retrieve their own personal bird sightings and observations for any location or area they choose. Moreover the site will allow you to create custom lists such as all locations you have seen a particular species, or species seen at a specific locale, or over a specified period of time. As well, any ebirder can access the entire database, making it a great way to learn about what birds are being seen where, species distribution and dates, birding hotspots, etc.
There is a big benefit to the Cornell Ornithology Laboratory and the Audubon Society from providing such a great way for amateur birder keep track of their sightings. As anyone can access the information, the database will become a progressively more useful bird study tool for scientists, conservationists, naturalist organizations and educators. You can visit eBird at http://www.birdsource.org/ebird