Bird watchers have long known that Colony Farm Park is a hotspot for migratory songbirds - but until recently, they didn't know just how important the park's fields and hedgerows were for these birds.
For the past five years, Derek Matthews and other volunteers have operated a bird monitoring and banding station in the park and the results have been impressive: to date, almost 30,000 birds of 92 species have been banded.
At the Oct. 8 meeting of the Burke Mountain Naturalists, Matthews will give a slide presentation describing the details behind these figures.
One of the team's observations is a precipitous decline in birds that specialize in feeding on flying insects. Such drops have been observed across the country, and Environment Canada estimates that the population of barn swallows has decreased by more than 80 per cent since the 1970s.
Matthews is the director of the Vancouver Avian Research Centre, an organization dedicated to ornithological research, education and conservation operated entirely by volunteers.
Members are trained to safely capture and band birds; once banded, individual birds can be tracked for the rest of their lives.
His presentation to the naturalists will describe the Colony Farm Park banding program and will include information on why they band, how it works and how others can get involved.
At the same meeting, copies of a new book Burke and Widgeon: A Hiker's Guide by author and BMN member Lyle Litzenberger will be available for sale.
This is the first guidebook devoted to trails in Burke-Pinecone Park (burkeandwidgeon.com) and it describes 28 hikes to enjoy in our wilderness backyard.
The meeting will be held at Como Lake United Church, located on the corner of Marmont Street and King Albert Avenue in Coquitlam.
For further information, please contact 604-936-4108 or 604-461-3864, or see www.bmn.bc.ca.
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