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World Migratory Bird Day

Third annual Bird-Friendly event coming on May 11

It’s always amazing to think that birds as tiny as our Rufous Hummers and others like little American Goldfinches fly thousands of miles in the fall and spring. By the time we see them in Lions Bay, these fragile creatures have accomplished nothing short of a miracle.

Many will not survive, colliding with buildings or thrown off-course by light pollution, leaving them susceptible to predators and other dangers. More recently, drought and loss of habitat and food sources along the way have further impacted their numbers. We’ve lost three billion birds since 1970 and each year more bird species are declared extinct.

With populations dwindling at an alarming rate, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was started in 1993 by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre to educate people around the world about the plight of these birds.

In 2007, WMBD found a new home with Environment for the Americas (EFTA), a non-profit organization that connects people to bird conservation through education and research. In Canada and the U.S., WMBD is celebrated on the second Saturday in May.

Bird Friendly cities (like Lions Bay) across the country are required by Nature Canada to hold a WMBD event as part of their certification commitments. Lions Bay’s first such event took place in May 2022.

Because there are important synergies with other community initiatives, especially the Mary Comber Miles Indigenous Plant Garden and Butterflyway Project, and the Átl'ka7tsem/Howe Sound Biosphere Region and Marine Stewardship Initiative, these groups were invited to participate and did so in 2022-2023.

Bear Smart, the Seniors Social Circle and the Curly Stewart committee have also taken part and each year the Trailblazers have led a hike to see eaglets on one of two nests. Other individual residents have stepped up to loan a PA system, do check-in duty at the door, and more recently have donated local art to support Bird Friendly initiatives (thank you, Monica Gewurz and Christine Kennedy).

Our third annual Bird Friendly Community Event is from 9:15– 1 p.m, on May 11 in the Village Hall. The 2024 conservation theme, set by EFTA, is “Protect Insects, Protect Birds” because native insects and caterpillars are a crucial food source for birds (especially insectivores). Native bugs need native plants: our birds need both for food and habitat.

In addition to bug-related kids’ activities by Bird Friendly and Artspark, Environment Canada will introduce their Salish Sea Gull Project in a presentation at 10.30 a.m. and explain how residents can participate.

From 11:30 until noon, the Trailblazers will again lead a hike to view the eagles’ nest in Kelvin Grove from the perfect viewing spot, a resident’s deck! Binoculars and a spotting scope will be available to provide a close-up look at eaglets that will have hopefully hatched by then.

Lions Bay has long been a supporting municipality of the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC), who will be on hand to demonstrate how to use apps to identify birds, plants, insects and other life forms. They’ll also have info for gardeners, hikers and boaters about types of invasives and how to prevent their spread.

Also taking part for the first time are the Climate Action Committee (recycling and water conservation) and the Historical Society (the seagull as an historic symbol of Lions Bay).

The idea is that the community come along, enjoy a tea/Bird Friendly coffee/treat (courtesy of Red Couch Bakery), chat with friends, learn more about Bird Friendly and other conservation initiatives in Lions Bay, grab a hot dog, enter to win one of several prizes, and buy some Bird Friendly items to support our initiatives.

Details, sign-up and the full program are on the Bird Friendly website.

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