Birds on the beach

Sharon McInnes


Monday, April 8 2013

It all started with a dead duck on Brickyard. An islander was walking along the beach when she spotted it lying at the edge of the water. But this was no ordinary dead mallard: it had a silver tag attached to its wing. The observant beach-walker wondered who had put the tag there, and why. (Was something sinister going on?) She called GROWLS. One conversation led to another until the mystery was finally solved: the mallard had been tagged by an islander who is part of Bird Studies Canada’s Beached Bird Survey Program. So no foul play, after all! 

Bird Studies Canada is Canada’s leading non-profit bird research and conservation organization. Much of the data it relies on comes from volunteer citizen scientists who collect data using standardized methods. The information they gather is used to help scientists understand patterns in bird abundance and distribution, and to identify emerging conservation issues. 

Karen Barry, who lives in Nanaimo and is an avid birder, co-ordinates the Beached Bird Survey and the BC Coastal Waterbird Survey. She also helps co-ordinate the BC Important Bird Area program and is knowledgeable about Project Feederwatch, a program of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and eBird, a record-keeping program from Cornell and the National Audubon Society. 

GROWLS is hosting a talk and slide show with Karen on Wednesday, April 17. For more information, please email 

Hope to see you there!