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Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey

Due to the outstanding contribution of 79 volunteers, 51,261 birds were recorded over three survey dates during the fall Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey (CWWS)! The highest single day count was recorded on October 15th, 2016 when 20,784 birds (75 species) were counted at 85 locations. This is an incredible accomplishment for our region and this effort is worth celebrating! Data will contribute to long-term conservation efforts in the Columbia Wetlands.

The CWWS began in 2015. It is a five-year coordinated bird count where the major goal is to mobilize and coordinate citizen scientists to collect data that will be used for application to designate the Columbia Wetlands as an Important Bird Area (IBA). IBA is a global initiative with over 600 sites across Canada.

For more information, or to sign up and participate in the spring waterbird surveys (April 2017), please contact Rachel at racheldarvill@gmail.com, or call 250-344-5530.

The Columbia Valley Waterbird Survey recently completed its third round of spring migratory bird surveys and together we were more successful than ever! Thanks to the amazing volunteer efforts of 83 citizen scientists, we were able to visit 100 different survey sites in the Columbia Wetlands located between Canal Flats, north to the Moberly River near Golden. Despite a late start to spring this year, we still managed to survey 26,627 birds!

For more information please check this link: http://wildsight.ca/programs/columbiawetlands/cwws/

Rachel Darvill, BSc., MSc.
Program Biologist – Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey

The British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas

partnership is proud to publish online one of the largest volunteer-based initiatives in British Columbia’s history, and a major new resource of conservation.

This Atlas is the single most comprehensive, current information source on the status of British Columbia’s breeding birds. More than 630,000 records of 320 species are included in the database, including more than 16,500 records of 75 species at risk. We believe it is also the most extensive bird atlas published anywhere online to date. The entire contents—maps, species accounts, graphs, tables, raw data, and more—are available to everyone free of charge. Click on the image to access the website.

Birds seen in 2017

The following collection of photos are part of the Slide Show shown during the Gala and organized by Don Delaney. Thank Don for always providing us with a wonderful collection of photos and for taking the time to organize a slide show for the gala. Wings Over the Rockies appreciates your expertise and effort. The birds featured are Brewers Blackbird, Hooded Mergenser, Lewis's Woodpecker, Cinnamon Teal, Common Loon, Ring-necked duck (male), Killdeer, Great Blue Heron, Tree Swallow, Marsh Wren, Song Sparrow, Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Photos submitted by Garry Perry

Dusky grouse

Bald Eagle


Female Western Tanager

More bird photos from Don Delaney coming soon.

Birds seen in 2016

A very exciting sighting of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead during Randy Hopkins Exploration Blitz. Photo credit of Sandhill Cranes and Say's Phoebe: Cathy Parkes














Lewis's Woodpecker (in birding by Golf Cart) and Wild Tom Turkey (Edgewater Flume) photos submitted by Lorrie Anderson


The following collection of photos was submitted by Don Delaney

Sandhill Crane

American Kestrel



Black-necked Stilt

Stellers Jay


Birds seen previously during festival events

Thank you Don Delaney for submitting this selection of amazing bird photos in the Columbia Valley.



Osprey and Goldfish


American Widgeon Hen

Cinnamon Teal


Northern Flicker

Lazuli Bunting

Mountain Bluebird

Lewis's Woodpeckers



Red-necked Grebes

American Pipit

Long-billed Curlew

Wilson's Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler



Great Blue Heron

Birds seen in Costa Rica in 2015

Wings Over the Rockies partnered with Eagle Eye Tours to offer a birding trip in February 2015 and 2016. We hope you enjoy this small selection of the over 300 bird species seen.

Resplendent Quetzal

Emerald Toucanet

Ocellated Antbird

White-throated Mountain Gem

Violet Sabrewing

Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

American Pygmy Kingfisher

Long-tailed Manakin

Lattice-tailed Trogon

Lineated Woodpecker


Great Curassow




Birds Flocking to the Columbia Valley in time for the Festival

Wings appreciates receiving photo submissions of bird sightings. If you wish to submit photos, Please contact us.

Photos submitted by Larry Halverson

“The eagle eye is among the strongest in the animal kingdom, with an eyesight estimated at 4 to 8 times stronger than that of the average human.

An eagle is said to be able to spot a rabbit 2 miles (3.2 km) away. Although an eagle may only weigh 10 pounds (4.5 kg), its eyes are roughly the same size as those of a human. As the eagle descends from the sky to attack its prey, the muscles in the eyes continuously adjust the curvature of the eyeballs to maintain sharp focus and accurate perception throughout the approach and attack.” Wikipedia


Male House Finch can start nest building in early March

The songs of House Finches were not always heard in the Columbia Valley. In fact they were unknown in the province until 1935, when a pair of House Finches were reported nesting in Penticton. By 1937 they had also arrived on the coast and were observed nesting in Victoria. From these 2 small pioneering populations the House Finch launched its rapid range expansion into British Columbia. By 1970 it had moved east into the Southern Interior Mountains and was recorded near Cranbrook. House Finches first appeared on the Lake Windermere Christmas Bird Count in 1994 and now are common sightings at local bird feeders.


Common Raven looking rather cold with it's down all puffed up.

by Larry Halverson


The Common Raven is one of these most common birds seen when driving through Kootenay National Park.

Highways are heavily used by ravens as they patrol the roads looking for road-kills. In winter ravens are often observed feeding on road-killed Pine Siskins and crossbills that were attracted to the highway salt. Ungulates killed on the roadways are another important winter food source for ravens.

Anita Deck was thrilled to see this Pygmy Owl in her backyard on October 18, 2014. The Pygmy Owl is tiny, between 6 to 7 inches.

Birds seen during Wings Over the Rockies Events in 2014

Thank you Lorrie and John Anderson for submitting this beautiful collection of birds you saw.

Western Bluebirds seen at Wasa Lake with Dean Nicholson.

Western Tananger while Hiking Edgewater's Back Trail with Herb Cohen

Lewis's Woodpecker just south of Dutch Creek

Long Billed Curlew along the highway just

North?of Invermere.

Mountain Chickadee near Pynelogs

Wilson's snipe and other sightings during the Mysterious Migrants event with Brian Keating.

The shy Sora

Song Sparrow

First a kiss.......

Then a feast...

The Great Grey Owl. Photo: Cathy Parkes

The Mystery of Migration - Incredible Journeys

The Red-necked phalarope

January, 2014

Despite weighing less than a bag of crisps, the red-necked phalarope clocked up a remarkable 16,000 miles (over 25,000km) in a round trip from Shetland to Peru. The incredible journey is the longest recorded for a European Breeding bird-and one of the world’s great migrations. Malcolm Smith of the RSPB said: “To think this bird, which is smaller than a starling, can undertake such an arduous journey and return safely to Shetland is truly extraordinary.”

The red-necked phalarope is one of Britain’s rarest birds, with as few as 15 nesting sites in the Shetlands and the Western Isles. It has been thought that after breeding in Scotland, they set off eastwards to winter in the Arabian Sea. But a tiny tracking device weighing less than a paperclip and worn like a backpack revealed they go somewhere else entirely.

Mr. Smith said: “When this guy left Shetland, he headed west straight across the north Atlantic, via Iceland and Greenland. He went down the eastern sea board of North America into the Caribbean, crossed into the Pacific where he wintered in the warm waters of Ecuador and Peru before returning back by more or less the same route.”

“That’s one of the world’s great migrations.”

Bar-tailed godwit

August, 2010

Every autumn the bar-tailed godwit undertakes an eight-day journey from Alaska to New Zealand. The bird flies non-stop, without once breaking the journey to rest or eat. Then when spring comes, the bar-tailed godwit makes the 11,000km journey back to Alaska.

But what is it that makes the bar-tailed godwit able to fly 11,000km without a single break? How can these birds manage without sleep or food for eight whole days? One explanation is that they consume unusually little energy compared with other species of bird. Professor Anders Hedenstrom has calculated that the bar-tailed godwit consumes 0.41 per cent of its body weight each hour during its long flight.

“This figure is extremely low compared with other migratory birds,” he says.

However, other factors also play a role. It is important to have the right ratio of body weight to size to be able to carry sufficient energy for the entire flight.The energy mainly comprises body fat, and to some extent also protein. It is also important to have an aerodynamic body shape so that air resistance is minimized. A further success factor is flight speed. The bar-tailed godwit is a quick flyer, which means that it can cover long distances in a reasonable time.

There are still pieces of the jigsaw missing that could explain the bar-tailed godwit’s record non-stop flight. Could the bird’s success be due to a particularly good ability to navigate with the help of an inner compass that makes use of the earth’s magnetic field, for example Anders Hedenstrom notes that there are a number of exciting questions surrounding the bar-tailed godwit’s ability not to get lost up in the air.

Birds photographed in previous years.

Don Delaney, avid birder, wood carver of birds, a bird and nature photographer and a trip leader in Wings Over the Rockies events.

Dusky Grouse

spotted at Hoodoos south of Fairmont

Barrow's Goldeneye

Marsh Wren

Savannah Sparrow

Song Sparrow


Western Meadowlark

Violet-green Swallow

Harlequin Ducks

American Dipper

Solitary Sandpiper

Vesper Sparrow

Red-Necked Grebe

Common Loon

The Wood Duck and turtles were spotted in Dorothy Lake right in front of the Pynelogs Cultural Centre.

Thank you Don for sharing such a variety of delightful photos.