Victoria birders are concerned over possible drop in region’s songbird population

Victoria birders are concerned over possible drop in region's songbird population

Bird lovers in the Greater Victoria area aren’t seeing as many songbirds as usual, but an expert said it’s likely because of a late arrival.

Lauren Wiegel started birding about two years ago.

She told CHEK News that she loves getting out into nature and listening to the birds, but it hasn’t been the same this year.

“I think the forest is quieter,” Wiegel said. “We went for a walk along the Galloping Goose and we were anticipating seeing more birds than we did.”

The lack of birds in the area has some bird lovers concerned about the population.

“It’s worrisome. You hear all the hazards and dangers birds experience during migration, so you wonder if there is any untoward things that happened to them during their trip,” Wiegel added.

Ann Nightingale, with the Rocky Point Bird Observatory, said while there is a worldwide decline in birds, she expects the lower population here is due to a late migration.

She explained the colder spring weather has played a huge role in the phenomenon.

“[Birds] rely heavily on the food sources to bring them north and when those are depleted because of cool weather, it takes them a little longer to get here,” Nightingale said.

She added at this point it’s hard to tell if the birds have decided to stay further south this year or if they may have gotten caught up in some bad weather on the way, adding migration is still underway.

“We have seen some really good movement which gives us hope that the birds are just arriving late,” said Nightingale.  “In a normal year we have some of our latest migrants show up in the early part of June, so it’s not too late for the birds to get here and raise their families.”

The birds that have arrived have been getting busy.

Nightingale said she has noticed more baby birds out ahead of schedule.

“So a lot of people are starting to find fledglings, baby birds, out of their nests on the ground and in their yards,” Nightingale explained.

She said while this is exciting and people may want to help the babies, it’s best to leave them for the parents to take care of.

Residents are also encouraged to bring their outdoor cats inside, especially in the mornings and late evenings when birds are most active getting food for the babies in the nest.

Bird lovers are also being asked to document what birds they see by contributing to online counts like eBird.

“So we can see from year to year what changes are happening,” Nightingale said.

RELATED: Environmental groups welcome Parks Canada buyout of Jasper Park backcountry lodges

Mackenzie ReadMackenzie Read

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!