December 2016 was the fourth year Pender Island has hosted a CBC4Kids event. The count is done annually to check up on bird populations across Canada and USA because we want to know how healthy the bird populations are and how we can help improve their habitats. CBC4Kids is modeled partly on the traditional bird counts geared toward adults and naturalists clubs.
About 10 o'clock on December 29, a group of 22 young birders (from 3 to 12 years of age) started from Fire Hall #3 on South Pender. Some of us went to Greenburn Lake, while others went to Poet’s Cove, and Brooks Point via what was called the Bird Bus (Community Bus that was employed for the occasion). All the groups were led by expert adult birders. I went birding with my teacher, Steve Dunsmuir to Brooks Point, up Jennens Rd, along Gowlland Point Road to just past Higgs Rd. The wind at Brooks Point was incredibly strong and was blowing the light rain at a 45 degree angle. We encountered 19 species of birds and 109 individual birds. I learned how an experienced birder can identify so many birds by their calls and songs.
When we got back to the fire hall at the end of our counting adventure we had some refreshments. There was a stunning display of bird taxidermy, ranging from water birds to raptors. We did a ‘tally rally’ and counted up all the scores from the 10 groups that went out birding. I was in the group called "Cheerful Chickadees” and some of the other groups were playfully named “Eager Eagles” and “Hilarious Harlequins”. One group reported sightings of 500 to 1000 Robins being chased by ravens, while another group saw a sea lion. The final results are reviewed by experienced birders and will be entered by our class at school into the eBird Canada database, which collects data from all the bird counts across Canada. This experience introduces hundreds of families to citizen science. I thought it was an amazing experience - so many people, young and old, gathered Canada-wide, being in the wild, counting birds in an effort to help them. This year's bird count on Pender Island had the largest number of sightings than any other year!
~ Alexander Croft, Grade 7, special correspondent for the Pender Post
Photos by Nicholas Croft (Grade 4)
A big thank you from the kids and us to all the intrepid Bird Mentors: Dan Baxter, Laura, Ben
and Steve Dunsmuir, Kathy Curtis, Herb Katz, Geoff Meggs, Elizabeth Miles, Jan O'Brien, Erin
O'Brien, Stuart Scholefield, and Dr. Don Williams. Thanks to Kathleen Moriarty and Rhondda
Porter for keeping the hot drinks flowing after the damp morning counting wild birds. And a
special shout-out to Dena Lane, our driver of the Bird Bus on its first "flight"! We are also
grateful to Catherine Wilson and Clayton Meadows for creating the eye-catching poster. This
year's CBC4Kids was sponsored entirely by the Pender Islands Field Naturalists (PIFN) and
Pender Island Conservancy Association (PICA). Thank you one and all!
~ Jill Ilsley, Jackie Gill and Julie Johnston, coordinators for Pender Islands CBC4Kids