Featured Volunteer News

Rocky Point Bird Observatory (RPBO) is seeking a volunteer management professional to assist us in optimizing our volunteer recruitment, onboarding, and participation experience.  We have received a $6,000 grant from the New Horizons For Seniors Program to hire a consultant who is at least 55 years of age. No knowledge of birds is required.  Work may be performed remotely and using conferencing software.

For more details, click here for the Request for Proposal.

WHY I LOVE VOLUNTEERING FOR RPBO at the BANDING STATION

Melissa Anderson RPBO Volunteer, May 2023

The first time you see up close a Rufous Hummingbird or perhaps something larger and unexpected like a Belted Kingfisher at the banding station; it is magical. I am not a birder (although that has changed), more of a naturalist / frustrated biologist type, but volunteering with RPBO has everything I look for: it is out of doors, you are with a diverse group of wonderful people of all ages, there are so many learning opportunities and we are contributing to science and conservation.

As a scribe, my job is to accurately input the information relayed by the bander. You get to see these birds up close in the hand. I love it when we get a “recap” bird banded in a previous season and marvel at the perhaps thousands of kilometres it has flown in the interim and the hazards it has survived. I also get a thrill tallying the counts at the end of the shift, knowing that this data will help us better understand and protect these beautiful creatures.

People ask me why on earth I get up in the dark of night and drive across town to volunteer. I tell them that opening the nets in the moments after dawn is one of the most spectacular times to be in nature. All of one’s senses are awakened.

On the flip side, owl banding means you get to stay up late. Being in the woods in the pitch dark is amazing. To be still and listen to this whole other nocturnal world is an experience we don’t usually participate in. Not to mention that Northern Saw-whet Owls are so cute!

I get so excited when the volunteer sheets open for signup because I can't wait to get back out to the banding stations. Although I originally had no interest in extracting birds from the nets, thinking myself too clumsy, among other things, last year I started to try it under the careful tutelage and mentorship of the experienced banders and volunteers. I look forward to continuing my training this season. You don't have to be a birder to volunteer with RPBO but volunteering certainly makes you want to become one.

Volunteer Melissa Anderson

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