Bird banding at OSCA’s Bird Migration open house at VLBO. Photo courtesy Tanya Brouwers

Bird Migration Day back at Vaseaux Lake observatory

This open house is for the birds

For the fourth year, Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory is holding an open house to give people a chance to see birds being banded, go on a guided walk with nature interpreters and learn about birds and bird migration.

The observatory, operated by the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance, is a major stopping point for migratory birds, using the Vaseaux Lake area — already a biologically-diverse region — as a stopover to refuel on insects or seeds.

The observatory open house, focuses on three themes: bird adaptation to migration, bird conservation issues and threats and bird banding. It’s one of nine migration monitoring stations in B.C. and the only station in the dry southern interior. OSCA contributes data collected at the observatory to a world-wide database that monitors bird population trends and supports efforts by scientists and conservationists to overcome threats to bird populations. You can also follow the progress of this year’s banding activities on Facebook at vaseuxlakebirds.

In addition to the Bird Migration Day open house, OSCA has also offered fall ECOstudies school programs to regional schools for the last three years.

The programs really give people a chance to explore birds up close and watch real science in action,” sais Janet Willson, OSCA chair. “This year we are very excited to have the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services take part in the program.

“Adjusting to a new country is obviously a challenging life-change and we are so happy to be able to explore the natural beauty and wonder of this area with these newcomers.”

Karina Chambers, a SOICS instructor, said the society emphasizes providing students with real life language opportunities to learn about and take part in their community

“Many people around the world do not have the opportunity to experience their natural surroundings and interact with wildlife the way we do in Canada,” she said.

The Bird Migration Day open house takes place Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to noon at the observatory, located three kilometres south of Okanagan Falls. The site is rustic with uneven terrain and narrow pathways (not wheelchair accessible). There is a portable washroom on site. Parking is available on the west side of Hwy. 97 at a roadside pull-out just north of the site. Watch for signage and volunteers to direct you to the parking area. The event runs rain or shine. For more information contact Jayme Friedt at 250-488-9894 or oscaecostudies@gmail.com.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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