of the Columbia Basin
chat (from RBCM; check for permission and credit)
bird researchers have suspected for some time that certain songbirds
- those that live in forests and migrate long distances to winter
in Central or South America - are declining across North America
(see review by Harding, 1994). The theory is that these species
suffer from forest fragmentation (with a multitude of ecosystem
ills) in their northern forest breeding range, and wholesale destruction
of their tropical forest wintering areas. Evidence for this is varied,
and inconclusive, but the last place these effects should be seen
are in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Alaska, which
still have large tracts of temperate forest. In response, international
volunteer organizations and government efforts to monitor songbird
populations have been stepped up, with the following surveys increasing
in distribution and number of volunteers: Christmas Bird Counts,
CBC (not to be confused with the national radio and television corporation
of the same acronym), Breeding Bird Surveys, BBS. For British Columbia,
researchers have initiated a nest record scheme to document breeding
times and places (contact your local birding group to obtain the
record forms, or write to: B.C. Nest Record Scheme, P.O. Box 6218
Station C., Victoria, B.C. V8P 5L5).
In the Revelstoke area, a volunteer
monitoring group has been organized, under the leadership of Canada
Parks Service (with CWS, the Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied
Ecology and Columbia Basin Trust funding), to annually capture and
band migrating songbirds, and in only a few years have obtained
some interesting results. The objective is to monitor land bird
populations in a way that involves the public, increases their awareness,
provides them with new skills and data previously unavailable. This
project will provide information on the natural environment of the
area, an opportunity for students and adults to learn about land
birds and their migration and will involve the community directly.
The data will be an important addition to regional information on
land bird populations. Results are found at http://www.cmiae.org.
The Columbia Basin Trust, with the
Friends of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, have initiated
Operation Bluebird to build over 400 bluebird houses along 15 bluebird
viewing trails. These nest boxes also benefit other birds, such
as swallows and chickadees, in addition to mountain and western
- Campbell, R.W., N.K. Dawe, I. McT.-Cowan,
J.M. Cooper, G.W. Kaiser and M.C.E. McNall. 1990. The Birds
of British Columbia. Vol. 2. Nonpasserines: Diurnal birds of
prey through woodpeckers. Royal BC Museum, Victoria and Can.
Wildl. Serv., Delta, BC. 636 pp.
- Cannings, R.A., R.J. Cannings, and S.G.
Cannings. 1987. Birds of the Okanagan valley, British Columbia.
Royal BC Museum, Victoria, BC. 420 pp.
- Cannings, R.J. 1998. The birds of British
Columbia - a taxonomic catalogue. BC Min. of Environ., Lands
and Parks, Victoria, BC. 266 pp.
- Cannings, S.G. et al. 1999. Rare Birds
of British Columbia. Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks,
Victoria B.C. (In preparation).
- Godfrey, W.E. 1986. The Birds of Canada.
Revised Edition. National Museum of Natural Science, Ottawa.
Harding, L.E., 1994. Songbirds in decline. IN L.E. Harding
and E. McCullum (eds.), 1994. Biodiversity in British Columbia:
our changing environment. Environment Canada, Delta, B.C. p.
Other Wildlife Subjects