The Steller’s Jay eats seeds and insects, and is also fond of peanut butter and…baby birds. They are known to raid nests and are especially partial to Hummingbirds. Photo Nienke Klaver
The Stellar’s Jay eats seeds and insects, and is also fond of peanut butter and…baby birds. They are known to raid nests and are especially partial to Hummingbirds. Photo Nienke Klaver

The Steller’s Jay eats seeds and insects, and is also fond of peanut butter and…baby birds. They are known to raid nests and are especially partial to Hummingbirds. Photo Nienke Klaver The Stellar’s Jay eats seeds and insects, and is also fond of peanut butter and…baby birds. They are known to raid nests and are especially partial to Hummingbirds. Photo Nienke Klaver

COLUMN: Exploring the world of birds

Plenty of information is available for aspiring bird watchers

Do you ever venture outside to explore the world of birds?

Maybe you sit quietly among the trees or in a backyard and watch patiently. It can become a bit of an obsession. I have always been fond of birds, but never to the extent of being a serious bird watcher.

That rush of excitement when you spot a bird of prey circling high in the sky, the hushed voices when you see a robin sitting on her nest, slowing the car down as ducks cross the road.

Birds are everywhere in our community, we should get to know them a little bit better.

Start by visiting the library to choose a book on bird identification.

READ ALSO: Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

READ ALSO: How many different birds can YOU identify?

We have the quintessential Birds of Interior B.C and the Rockies, by Richard Cannings. If you could only read one book on the subject, this would be the one to pick. It fits in a backpack, identifies over 250 bird species with beautiful colour photos and gives information on the best binoculars to buy.

Bringing binoculars is fun, but not always necessary.

Pack a snack, water bottle and head outside. Keep in mind there is etiquette to follow, birds are sensitive creatures. Don’t approach nests closely, keep voices low and avoid sudden movements.

From the book, The Art of Mindful Birdwatching, by Claire Thompson, there is a section on finding a “sit spot.” Thompson says: “If you want to get up close and personal with birds, you must sit and remain still for at least 20 minutes. After that time, the birds you spooked on your arrival begin to relax and return.”

Take a stroll through the wooded areas in Summerland and find a sit spot.

The Adams bird sanctuary is a small ecological reserve where you might spy a dark-eyed junco, song sparrow or a western screech owl. I have been a few times but have yet to see an owl.

Of all the birds in our area, owls might be my favourite. I had the pleasure of listening to two owls late one night, flying around the neighbourhood.

I searched the Internet to find meaning in their back and forth calls, apparently they were looking for a place to nest. When I peeked out the window to spot them in the night sky, a black shadow with a huge wingspan flew by.

In his book, Birding for the Curious, by Nate Swick, the chapter on finding owls states that they are “famously active at night, but you can find them in their daytime roosts if you’re lucky and know what to listen for.” Do you know what to listen for when looking for owls in the daytime?

It’s another ubiquitous local bird, the crow.

According to Swick, crows will vocally attempt to drive an owl away (called “mobbing”) by making it uncomfortable in its hiding place.

Crows are noisy birds to begin with, but now we know what they are up to!

If you would like to start exploring the world of birds in our community, drop by the library to check out our selection of birding books. Quietly and with no sudden movements, see if you can spot all the quail that live in the library. Happy birding!

Caroline McKay is the community librarian at the Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

birdsBirdwatchingColumnist

Just Posted

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read