Bluebird Chitchat

Bluebird chitchat
Kate Bouey - Apr 4, 2017
Castanet

They were once common across North America, but by the 1960s, bluebird numbers plunged due to development, pesticides and invasive species.

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club is working to protect remaining bluebirds.

In the Vernon area, there are two types: the Mountain Bluebird and the Western Bluebird.

They arrive from their wintering grounds in the south earlier than most birds and begin hunting for a suitable nest site in March and early April.

The Naturalists' Club manages 18 bluebird trails established on farms and ranchlands, with a total of about 450 nest boxes. Each trail has from eight to 40 boxes.

Monitors check for species of bird, dates of egg laying, numbers of chicks hatching and fledging. All results are recorded and sent to the Southern Interior Bluebird Society which collects data from all B.C. sites.

The club is gearing up for another year of monitoring and is launching the season with a bluebird workshop, slideshow and information session, to be held Saturday, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the Vernon branch of Okanagan Regional Library.

Anyone interested in joining the meeting and learning more about the birds and the Nest Box Program may contact co-ordinator Margaret Mackenzie at 250-542-2712 or email
mhubble@telus.net.

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Bluebird Program Takes Flight

Bluebird program takes flight

North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club is hosting a workshop on the bluebird trail program April 8

Vernon MorningStar, Sunday, Apr 2nd, 2017

The North Okanagan Naturalists Club is hosting a workshop and information session on the bluebird trail program.

The presentation will be held at the Vernon branch of Okanagan Regional Library Saturday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

“Bluebirds across North America were once common. However, by the 1960s, their numbers had dropped dismally due to development, the use of the DDT pesticide and invasive species,” said Margaret Mackenzie, with the NONC.

“As housing expanded into the rural countryside, an influx occurred of house sparrows and European starlings which also vied for tree cavity nest. The competition seriously impacted bluebirds and other native tree cavity users.”

The North American Bluebird Society was formed in the late 1960s to help reverse the decline. Soon clubs across North America were providing an alternative to natural sites by building trails and nest boxes for bluebirds.

NONC joined the bluebird nest box program about 25 years ago and now manages 18 bluebird trails on farms and ranchlands, with a total of about 450 nest boxes. Each trail has from eight to 40 boxes and they are maintained and monitored weekly.

“The monitors check for species of bird, dates of egg laying, numbers of chicks hatching and fledgling,” said Mackenzie.

“We are gearing up for another year of monitoring and launching the season with the bluebird workshop, slide show and information session.”

For more information, contact Mackenzie at 250-542-2712 or
mhubble@telus.net.

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Eagle numbers up

Eagle numbers up
Kate Bouey - Jan 24, 2017
Castanet

The number Golden eagles spotted in the North Okanagan this month is higher than it has been in years, says one expert.

The annual swan and eagle count took place on Jan. 15, with 31 human participants on seven routes spotting a total of 160 swans and 192 eagles, reports Aaron Deans, coordinator and executive director of the Allan Brooks Nature Reserve.

"All four focal species were seen, which was a first in many years," says Deans. "Also unusual was observing as many Golden eagles, with three routes tallying one or more individuals each.

"A total of eight were seen, which is more than recorded during any other year over the past decade."

Breaking down the numbers the teams report seeing:

1 Tundra swan
159 Trumpeters (143 adults and 16 cygnets)
8 Golden eagles
184 Bald eagles (139 adults and 45 immature)

Deans says many of the swans were spotted in two locations along the Shuswap River, near the south end of Mabel Lake and on the river south of Rosemond and Mara lakes.
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Swan and eagle count numbers soar

Swan and eagle count numbers soar
Jan 23, 2017
Vernon Morning Star

For the first time in many years, the 2017 Swan & Eagle Count numbers are up.

The count, which took place Jan. 15 in the greater Vernon area recorded one tundra swan, eight golden eagles, 159 trumpeters (143 adults and 16 immature), and 184 bald eagles (139 adults and 45 immature).

“We had 31 participants on seven routes tally a total of 160 swans and 192 eagles during this year’s Swan & Eagle Count,” said Aaron Deans, Swan & Eagle Count coordinator for the North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club.

“All four focal species were seen, which was a first in many years. Also unusual was observing as many golden eagles, with three routes tallying one or more individuals each. A total of eight were seen, which is more than recorded during any other year over the past decade.”

In addition to the eight adult golden eagles, 184 bald eagles were tallied with observations made on all routes.

Despite the lack of open water, around much of all the larger lake margins and along the Shuswap River, a number of swans turned up. The bulk of them were spotted in two locations along the Shuswap near the south end of Mabel Lake and on the river south of Rosemond and Mara lakes.

“Join us again next year when we convene on Jan. 14, 2018, to count swans and eagles,” said Deans. “Until then, happy birding and enjoy yourself enjoying nature.”

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Plenty of birds to count during the winter

Plenty of birds to count during the winter
by Staff Writer - Vernon Morning Star
Greater Vernon posted Jan 5, 2017
published in MorningStar on January 8th

There was lots of action during the Christmas bird count.

The North Okanagan Naturalists Club held the event Dec. 18 throughout Greater Vernon.

“The weather really co-operated so the count was quite successful with about 20,000 birds counted of 92 species,” said Peter Blokker, count co-ordinator.

Among the highlights were two yellow-headed blackbirds found by the team of Ian Robertson at O’Keefe Ranch.

“This was voted the bird of the day,” said Blokker.

Gail Loughridge and Jim Bodkin were the runners-up with two red-breasted mergansers near Kin Beach.

Among other interesting sightings were 11 wild turkeys in the Commonage, six golden eagles, one peregrine falcon at Coldstream Ranch, four Virginia rails, six great horned owls, one northern pygmy owl, two barred owls, nine northern shrike, one gray jay, one rock wren, two Pacific wrens, one American dipper in the creek behind Walmart, one ruby-crowned kinglet, two varied thrushes, five white-throated sparrows, two pine grosbeaks and 20 common redpoll.

Each Christmas bird count is completed within a previously established 24-kilometre diameter area on a single day.

Started in 1900, the annual Christmas bird count is North America’s longest-running citizen science project.

The results of all counts are submitted to Bird Studies Canada and collated for North America.