If you walk Brickyard Beach regularly, you might, at some point, notice a dead bird with a metal tag attached to its wing. If so, don’t be alarmed - there’s nothing fishy going on! In fact, you’re seeing a scientific research project in action. Brickyard is one of over seventy-five BC beaches monitored by Beached Bird Survey volunteers. On Gabriola, that’s Dennis and me.
The purpose of the Beached Bird Survey, a program of Bird Studies Canada, is to collect baseline information on the causes and rates of seabird mortality. Seabirds can die from oil spills, entanglement in fishing gear, predation, and because of habitat loss and climate change. Good indicators of marine ecosystem health, they can serve as an early detection system for changes in ocean conditions and oil spills.
As Beached Bird Survey volunteers, we do a monthly beach walk along Brickyard looking for seabirds that have died and washed ashore. If we find one, we inspect the carcass and send the data to Bird Studies Canada. Last month we found a dead female mallard; you can see photos on the Gabriola Bird Blog: http://gabriolabirdblog.blogspot.ca/2012/10/beached-birds-at-brickyard.html.
For more information about The Beached Bird Survey go to www.bsc-eoc.org/volunteer/bcbeachbird, or call 1-877-349-2473.
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