During the pandemic years many people found new hobbies to entertain themselves during long hours at home. Home improvement picked up dramatically, as did cooking and baking. And bird-watching.
Jordan Stout, the Director of the BC Bird Trail project, who have built an app to help would-be bird-watchers, says the increase in the activity is exciting.
“There was a definite increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, when British Columbians were looking for activities to do safely and outdoors,” Stout said. “It’s a great way for families to spend time, learn, and explore together - it’s also affordable, it’s free to keep your eyes out for birds. There was also an increase in bird feeder sales, some people took up making sourdough, others embroidery, and some made their backyards an interesting place to spend time by bringing the birds to them.”
A lot of that increase in bird-watching is with young people.
“I think that’s a reflection on the desire to unplug and slow down. In a world that demands we are regularly online and looking at a screen, bird-watching offers an outlet where you can explore what BC’s diverse nature has to offer with no expectations except to enjoy,” Stout said.
The BC Bird Trail recently launched the BC Bird Trail Mobile Experience, which helps birders find the best spots for birding in their own community. The apps available at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Each region has a bird trail, such as the Columbia Valley Bird Trail in our area, which guides bird-watching expeditions from Golden down the valley, through Radium/Invermere and Kimberley to Cranbrook. You can track your progress on the app, as well as plan trips in advance with recommendations by the experts at the Bird Trail and Destination BC.
If you ventured out right now in the East Kootenay, you could expect to see the Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), Common Raven (Corvus corax), Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli), Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis), Canada Jay (Perisoreus canadensis), Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus), American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), Merlin (Falco columbarius) and Rock Pigeon (Columba livia).
“The BCBirdTrail Mobile Experience is a way to plan and track birding along the BCBirdTrail. For those not sure where they can go in their region, or those that are looking to branch out of their local community and visit birding hotspots across the province, this app can be your guide,” Stout said. “We recommend people also use eBird in tandem, so they can track which birds they see and contribute important data to conservation science.”