The Impact of your Donation

November 2023

What does your donation to RPBO achieve?

When you donate to Rocky Point Bird Observatory, you are making a meaningful impact on bird conservation efforts.  Rocky Point Bird Observatory (RPBO)  is dedicated to making Vancouver Island a centre of excellence for migratory bird monitoring, scientific research and public education.  A staggering 3 billion birds have been lost from North America in the past 30 years. Why?  RPBO is helping to find the answer.

Migration Monitoring

Your donation supports our migration monitoring projects.

RPBO collects valuable data on bird behaviour, migration patterns, and population trends. The more data we collect, the better equipped we are to protect birds and the places they need to survive. For almost 30 years, RPBO has been part of an international effort to monitor landbird migrations and has been a member of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network (CMMN), gathering information on bird movements over southern Vancouver Island and beyond. Members of the CMMN track the migration of Canada's birds in the spring and fall each year, adding to our knowledge of population trends, demographics, phenology, and other essential information about the species that pass through each location.

From our initial project, fall migration monitoring at Rocky Point near Metchosin, we have expanded to:

  • two fall monitoring stations for songbirds
  • two fall migration monitoring stations for owls
  • two spring songbird sites (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship)
  • more than a dozen sites throughout BC and one in Alberta for hummingbird migration and breeding studies, and
  • a seawatch project gathering data on seabird movement through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Research

Your donation helps fund research projects that provide crucial insights into bird ecology, helping inform conservation strategies and management practices.

Rocky Point Bird Observatory has participated in collaborative studies such as gathering bird parasites (ticks, flat flies) for researchers, collecting blood samples to track West Nile virus, deploying tracking tags to monitor migratory routes of Northern Saw-whet Owls and Fox Sparrows, collecting hummingbirds, using samples for pesticide analysis, and contributing feather samples for DNA barcoding. As one of the most western bird observatories in North America, we receive several requests each year to provide data and/or samples to researchers from across the continent to support studies of a wide variety of species.

Thanks to the support of our donors, and of granting organizations such as the Victoria Foundation, RPBO has added a Science Program Manager to our staff.  RPBO has built an impressive database of more than 130,000 records containing information about local species and individual data such as bird age, sex, weight, wing length, detection dates, and more. This data can contribute to the understanding of population trends, survival rates, demographics, species’ ranges, and effects of climate change or natural disasters such as forest fires, floods, and heat domes.  The role of the Science Program Manager is to both interpret this data, expand the use of the data through research collaborations, and amplify the impact of our work.

Much of the effort to collect this data has been volunteered to RPBO - more than 8000 hours per year. Regardless of their professional backgrounds, volunteers can become skilled field technicians by following our established protocols to support our projects. The balance of the effort comes from seasonal employees, hired during the migration monitoring season. They train and monitor the volunteers and oversee the data collection and integrity checking. We have excelled at getting data into the system.

Combined with the generosity of our regular contributors, this helps RPBO to  continue to gather data which is used to monitor bird population trends, investigate declines, and recommend actions to protect the health of ecosystems on which we all depend.

Education

RPBO is committed to raising awareness about birds and their conservation needs. Your donation supports educational programs and outreach initiatives that engage communities, schools, and the general public.

The RPBO Education program runs events and workshops, brings educational tables and activities to various external community events, books private educational programs for youth such as classroom visits and banding station field trips, and runs free online presentations on a variety of topics. Our education initiatives promote bird appreciation, environmental stewardship, and the importance of bird conservation

 

By donating to RPBO, you are directly contributing to these achievements and supporting the organization’s broader mission of bird conservation.  Your generosity makes a difference in the lives of birds, their habitats, and the overall health of our ecosystems.

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