A blue bird perchs on some barbed wire near a nesting box on Braeside Road last Wednesday afternoon. The box is just one of 250 blue bird nesting boxes that are being installed around the agricultural community in Vanderhoof this spring.

UNBC partnership boost bird project

The Vanderhoof Fish and Game Club has partnered with UNBC on a project that will bring 250 new blue bird nest boxes into the community this spring.

The Vanderhoof Fish and Game Club has partnered with UNBC on a project that will bring 250 new blue bird nest boxes into the community this spring.

The partnership will enhance a conservation project in Vanderhoof which originally started last year, and involved the installation of 200 duck and 40 raptor boxes around the agricultural community.

The project is being funded by a grant from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

After project leader, Wayne Salewski, read a story in a newspaper that Dr. Russ Dawson at UNBC was receiving a grant for a study that would track migrating blue birds, he contacted the professor to suggest a partnership between the two projects.

Dr. Russ Dawson a professor of the Ecosystem Science and Management (Biology) Program at UNBC currently uses six study areas in Canada for his program, four around Prince George, one south of Williams Lake specifically for bluebirds and one in northern Saskatchewan for the study of falcons. He says having an additional study area in Vanderhoof will benefit the study of migrating blue birds by giving it more depth.

“Our study area near Williams Lake is along the Fraser River near the Gang Ranch, an area that is extremely arid.

“Studying blue birds in the Vanderhoof area, where the ecosystem and climate is very different, will help us understand how variation in things like climate and food supply affect the birds, and so it is a very nice contrast,” he said.

“But even without the research, I think most people find aesthetic value in having mountain bluebirds around,” he added.

Salewski says the original project came about as a reaction to the pine beetle epidemic.

“The original intent was to help replace lost nesting opportunities for cavity nesters as a result of the mountain pine beetle epidemic,” said Salewski.

He added that the partnership will be good for the area because the study will see students traveling to and from the area and so will be good for the local economy, and the study also gives the bird boxes another use.

Dr. Dawsons research program is based around trying to understand what influences reproductive success in birds and what drives changes in population sizes.

“Some of the things we are interested in knowing more about is how factors such as food supply and climate influence reproduction.”

“We need to understand how birds will respond, both positively and negatively, to such changes,” he said.

In order to gather the research needed for the study, students will be monitoring the breeding biology of the birds that use the nest boxes.

Leg bands will be placed on all of the young birds to trace survival rates. Adults birds will have an additional colored band.

“For adult bluebirds, in addition to putting a regular numbered leg band on them, we also would put colored bands on their legs with unique combinations.

“This allows us to keep track of adults from year to year, and we can just read their color combinations with binoculars and don’t have to catch them year after year,” said Dr. Dawson.

Each of the bird boxes has been given GPS coordinates so that UNBC students will be able to easily locate them.

The majority of boxes for the partnered projects were made by handicapped students in Vanderhoof.

“We are proud of our relationship with the woodworking classes of Rock Allred from the Nechako Valley Senior Secondary high school here in Vanderhoof which combined our project with handicapped classes to construct the majority of the boxes for this project,” said Salewski.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Over 2,000 people used the pool in the first 2-weeks

Lifeguard training course needs a minimum of six people to register before Feb. 21

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Let’s talk about mental health

Jordan Marshall Memorial Hockey tournament to be held Feb. 22 - Feb. 24

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

Most Read