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The Cumberland Winter Bird Project
December 1, 2020 @ 8:00 am - January 31, 2021 @ 5:00 pm PSTFree
Did you know the Comox Valley is one of the most significant areas for wintering and migratory waterfowl and waterbirds in British Columbia? Yup!
The Cumberland Winter Bird Project is a public health friendly community project focused on getting to know the winter birds in our backyard, forests, and wetlands over the months of December and January.
This project is part of a year-round multi-disciplinary Biodiversity Initiative which is all about engaging our community in biodiversity education, research, and action to support habitat protection and ecosystem health in the forests and wetlands surrounding Cumberland. This work helps us to build strong arguments for future land protection!
Get out into nature, participate in citizen science, build community knowledge, and celebrate the avian biodiversity of the Cumberland Forest. Each 2-week period has a theme complete with Zoom workshops, learning links, activities and more. Who knows where this will lead?
Follow us on Facebook @protectcumberlandforest for daily bird themed posts or visit our Winter Bird Project Page for evolving content
In the forest, this is a big winter for cones on Douglas-fir, meaning it is also a great year to see massive flocks of seed-eating finches such as Pine Siskins, Red Crossbills, and the more rare White-winged Crossbill.
In wetlands or open water, look for Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, and Wood Ducks in “club kid” mating plumage, bobbing their strangely-shaped heads as they cruise the ponds looking for mates.
Steller’s Jays are now roving in flocks around alleys and backyards, as are Dark-eyed Juncos, Golden-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, and big flocks of American Robins.
In gardens, backyards, and around forest edges, listen for the raspy sound of the Anna’s Hummingbird and look for them visiting feeders all winter and chasing much larger birds from a prominent perch. Unlike the Rufuous Hummingbirds that show up in summer, Anna’s don’t migrate south for the winter, and start to nest in late winter/early spring.
Owls are another group of birds that start pairing up in the winter. At any time of night, or near dusk, in patches of big trees you may start to hear Barred Owls beginning their mating “duets” that sound like “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” Barred Owls are Cumberland’s most common owl, but you may also hear Great Horned, or some of our tiny and “at risk” species such as Northern Saw-whet Owl or Western Screech Owl – especially around lakes or wetlands.