September Stanley Park Bird Count

This is starting to sound implausible (given that we’re in Vancouver, after all), but we had another magnificent and sunny Sunday morning and another another great bird count at Stanley Park.

If you haven’t read my blog before, I volunteer regularly for this monthly event organized by the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES). Aside from allowing all participants to appreciate the wonder of having such a splendid natural area minutes from downtown Vancouver, having more that five year’s worth of consistent data from this count allows SPES to obtain highly reliable measures of how the park’s bird population is doing. Kudos once again to our fearless leader, SPES’s conservation officer Robyn Worcester, who thought the highlight of the day was the Rudy Duck, rarely seen on Lost Lagoon. The full tally of our bird count may be found here.

I also thought you might want to see a few pictures of the birds we saw on this day. I would like to point out two things about the gull photos you see below:

1) I normally shy away from identifying juvenile gulls because they are so hard to get right. At the risk of upsetting Robyn (who also finds it too difficult to tell them apart with certainty, especially since we get a lot of hybrids in this part of the world), I feel quite confident about the ID of the first year Glaucous-winged Gull, especially since I was able to consult this highly useful guide to hybrid and immature gulls in coastal B.C., published by Birds Canada.

2) You may notice that the adult Glaucous-winged Gull pictured below has a strangely shaped bill. I was especially intrigued about it because of an article I had read a while back regarding this issue (unfortunately, I do not remember the details of the article). Turns out that some biologists seem to think that deformed beaks may be be becoming more prevalent in North American birds, as indicated in this article published two years ago. It seems they are conducting further studies to see what might cause these malformations and what impact they have on individual birds and overall bird populations.

I would like to once again to thank SPES and especially Robyn for holding this event every month since 2006. It is highly appreciated by all participants.

You can find out more about SPES, its mission and activities and of course about Stanley Park here: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

See you in October, if all goes as planned! Oh, and did you find the rather obvious “intruder” in the gallery of photos? I thought some might find it cute.

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