30th Anniversary

LET'S CELEBRATE RPBO's 30th ANNIVERSARY

RPBO would like to compile lists of 30 bird-oriented activities/ observations/ topics that our members have enjoyed!

Lists can be produced on any topic. Here are some examples:

  • 30 favourite species of bird observed
  • 30 memorable bird-watching locations
  • 30 interesting characteristics of various bird species
  • 30 species of birds seen on television or in movies
  • 30 excellent bird books
  • 30 bird-friendly plants
  • 30 interesting bird behaviours

Members are also invited to write short descriptions of why they chose their submissions. These descriptions together with the associated lists will be shared with other members throughout the year.

Other ideas?  Send us one or send us thirty!

30 Mind-Blowing Things RPBO Taught Me

by Gaylia Lassner, RPBO Development Director
1)   The birds in my backyard this year are probably the same birds that were there last year.
2)   Barred Owls eat the adorable Northern Saw-whet Owls.
3)   A Northern Saw-whet Owls' heads look like an orange with a section removed. The huge gaps are their EARS - you can see the backs of their eyeballs in this ear space!
4)   Sometimes you "Furl" a mist net.
5)   Sometimes you "Twizzle" a mist net.
6)   "Furling" and "Twizzling" are both very fun to do.
7)   It is interesting and rewarding to learn your local bird names.
8)   It is important to teach children the names of local birds.
9)   Knowing something about a bird fundamentally changes how you think of them. To learn is to care.
10) The design of a bird is not random. Everything has a reason - such as the Brown Creeper having short legs so that its body stays very close to the tree trunk.
11)  Birding is a hobby accessible to all at any time of your life.  You can begin at any age, and you will never finish.
12)  In Victoria, it's not Robins that let us know Spring is coming. One of the first species to arrive each Spring is the Violet-Green Sparrow.
13) The mess on the top of the light standard in my local soccer field is actually an Osprey nest.
14) Two of the most common raptors on Vancouver Island are Bald Eagles and Turkey Vultures.
15) The word "bald" comes from an old English word that means "white". An adult Bald Eagle's head is not unfeathered - it's white feathers.
16) Turkey Vultures are not very good at flying, but they excel at soaring.
17) One of the most beautiful sights to see in Fall is a Turkey Vulture kettle. They will spiral higher and higher in the sky until they think they have enough height to soar over to Washington State.
18) The Bewick's Wren sings up to 20 different songs. BewickWren_DBell
19) If someone asks you to identify which bird is singing, and you don't know, you can appear very smart by saying, "It's probably a Bewick's Wren."
20) Owls have a third eyelid that protects their eyes from debris when they are swooping in to attack.
21) Birders are the most fun people with whom to spend long silent periods of time outdoors.
22) The Common Swift can stay in the air for up to ten months at a time!
23) It is possible to "trick" the Merlin app with an effective imitation of a Barred Owl - "Whooo cooks for youuu"
24) The feathery comb on the leading edge of an owl's wing breaks up the airstream so there is no sound,  allowing the owl to hunt silently.
25) Researchers have found specialized cells in the eyes of some bird species that allow them to "see" the Earth's magnetic field.
26) Give birds the space and respect they need. Everyone wants to rush out and see a rare and beautiful bird, but that is not always what is best for the birds.
27) Windows are a significant threat to birds, but there are excellent products available to help protect birds from window strikes.
28) An unclean hummingbird feeder can be deadly to the birds. Clean carefully between refills.
29) Even the most unlikely and disinterested person will learn to love birds after spending time with RPBO members.
30) Our actions today can make a difference to bird conservation.

30 Friends I Made at RPBO

by Anne Cotter, RPBO Member & Volunteer
I've met over 30 wonderful people who are all connected by the love of birds.  In no particular order:
Ann S          Alison          Jannaca          Storm          Megan          RaeAnn          Julian
Emma R      Evan            David               Aiva              AnnN            Jo                   Mike
Andrew       Gail              Gaylia              Joachim       Pier              Evie                Daniel
Mara           Louis            Robyn             Mark             Rick             Carolyn
Tamara      Cathy            Julie

30 Red-tailed Hawks in a Kettle

by Daniel Donnecke, RPBO Science Advisory Committee Chair & Project Coordinator SeaWatch
"Rocky Point (restricted access site) is the only place I have ever seen 30 red-tailed hawks. They formed their own kettle!"

30 of My Most Memorable World Bird Species

by Eric Tull, RPBO Member

Brooke Clibbon and I have been fortunate to be able to do a considerable amount of world birding together. Following is a list of 30 of my most memorable birds that we saw when birding together. They are in chronological order of our sightings.  In selecting these 30 most memorable birds, I must have skipped over at least an equal number of other memorable birds.  If you have the opportunity to travel to another country, I urge you to go. There are wonderful birds to be seen and heard, wherever you chance to go.

1. Japanese Bush Warbler (Hawaii 1993)
This LBJ skulker would not show itself until Brooke somehow managed to imitate its incredible whistle. Image
2. King Penguin (South Georgia 2000)
Huge colony of these big birds (almost a metre tall). They were intrigued by my blue rain pants and would approach and gently peck at them.  Image
3. Snowy (Wandering) Albatross (South Georgia 2000)
Nesting adult waddled up a little hill, opened its huge narrow wings, and ran downhill, only to nosedive into the dirt. It did this twice before catching the wind on its third attempt and soaring up effortlessly.  Image
4. Resplendent Quetzal (Panama 2001)
Brilliant green male with red belly and long green plumes from its uppertail coverts. Perched directly overhead.  Image
5. Secretarybird (Kenya 2002)
Large raptor with long legs, long central tail feathers, and wild head plumes. Usually seen walking or running after its prey, but we first saw it on our first day in Africa when it flew directly over the vehicle.  Image
6. African Fish-Eagle (Kenya 2002)
Spectacular eagle whose whistle is heard in every African nature documentary. Our boatman threw out a fish and whistled and the eagle swooped down and grabbed it in passing by us.  Image   Voice
7. New Zealand Kaka (New Zealand 2005)
13 of these large charming parrots came to the back porch of our place on Stewart Island and made quick but gentle work of the almonds we offered them.  Image
8. Royal Spoonbill (New Zealand 2005)
White spoonbill with black bill and long plumes from back of head. He seemed to know Brooke was videoing him as he preened and posed for the camera.  Image
9. Galah (Australia 2007)
A pink and grey cockatoo with somewhat of a white crest, they were found in flocks over much of Australia, often allowing close approach.  Image
10. Eastern Whipbird (Australia 2007)
We heard the very distinctive call in the forest but could not see what bird it was. Brooke worked her way through the printed field guide and figured out which bird the call belonged to. In fact, two birds duet in some of their calls with perfect timing so they sound like one bird.  Image  Voice
11. Victorias Riflebird (Australia 2007)
This is a type of Bird-of-Paradise. We found a male on a broken off tree trunk, calling with a great squawk. A female came in, and he wrapped his wings around her and danced back and forth. She scooted off unimpressed.  Image  Voice
12. Southern Cassowary (Australia 2007)
These birds can be dangerous, so Brooke kept a large garbage can between her and the bird while she videoed it. A young bird, I suspect it was just looking for a handout.  Image
13. Malleefowl (Australia 2007)
The guide set us down and rang a little bell. Out from nowhere appeared this large gamebird and accepted the food offered by the guide. Later we saw this species building a large mound into which the female would lay her eggs. She then lets the heat of decay of the mound incubate the eggs. The newly-hatched young climb out of the mound and leave the nest to face the world on their own. Image
14. Blue-footed Booby (Galapagos 2008)
These birds have bright sky-blue feet. Brooke videoed a pair doing their mating dance which put much effort into displaying their feet.  Image
15. Black-tailed Trainbearer (Ecuador 2008)
We found and identified this long-tailed hummingbird by ourselves before we met the guide. It was the first of 52 spectacular hummingbird species that we saw on the trip to Ecuador.  Image
16. Andean Condor (Ecuador 2008)
These huge birds with their long broad wings flew low over us as we birded a pass in the Andes.  Image
17. Eurasian Hoopoe (Qatar 2010)
With its strange shape, flashing wing pattern, and wild crest that it flares up when it lands, this common migrant was a favourite with everyone we showed it to.   Image
18. Bearded Vulture (Tibet 2010)
We had these wedge-tailed vultures (also called Lammergeiers) flying overhead while hiking in the open hills of Tibet. They feed on bones that they break by dropping on rocks. Fortunately, they were not dropping any bones while we were under them.  Image
19. Great Bustard (Spain 2011)
The males of these birds seem to almost turn themselves inside-out when displaying in trying to catch the attention of a female.  Image
20. Crested Barbet (Botswana 2011)
We called this the “committee bird”. It looks like it has been designed by a committee, with each committee member responsible for designing a different part of the bird.  Image
21. White Tern (Seychelles 2012)
Brooke had always wanted to see this bird. It is ethereally white with a black eye and a blue, slightly upturned bill. They were nesting on an offshore island. The female lays a single egg on a bare branch of a tree – no nest! Somehow they manage to incubate the egg without its falling and then raise the young bird perched on the branch.  Image
22. Shoebill (Uganda 2012)
A huge prehistoric-looking bird with a humongous bill found in papyrus swamps in central Africa. Our guide and boatman jumped out of the boat into the water and pushed it over the papyrus to get us closer to the bird. We were glad to learn that there were no crocodiles or hippos in the swamp.  Image
23. Red-crowned Crane (Japan 2014)
We visited Japan in late winter to see the dancing cranes. The reward was a spectacular dance session, but the cost was two days holed up in a hotel snowed in by a blizzard.  Image
24. Elegant-crested Tinamou (Argentina 2018)
46 years after I first heard a tinamou, I finally saw one. With its wispy crest, it is arguably the most attractive tinamou of the family.  Image
25. Inca Tern (Chile 2018)
We dodged our way across a busy four-lane highway to get to the seawall. Ten feet below us, nesting on the seawall, were these stunning birds with their all grey bodies, and a white face stripe ending in a long plume.   Image
26. Bearded Bellbird (Trinidad 2019)
We had just checked into the Asa Wright Centre and got to our rooms when a bellbird landed in plain sight in a tree near our balcony and let out with his loud ringing call.  Image   Voice
27. Red-legged Seriema (Argentina 2022)
Seriemas are the new world counterpart of the Secretarybird. Our guide imitated its whistle, and it walked in much closer.  Image  Voice
28. Ibisbill (Bhutan 2023)
The very first bird we saw in Bhutan, on the rocks by the rivercourse right in town. A boldly-marked shorebird with a decurved red bill.  Image
29. Himalayan Monal (Bhutan 2023)
A coat of many colours. The male is iridescent blue, green, purple, copper, red and orange with brown and black as well. When the sun catches his back, he shines spectacularly.  Image
30. Kagu (New Caledonia 2023)
The Kagu is a large, flightless, ash-grey bird with a showy wing display and long, wispy crest plumes that it can erect when excited. What is a flightless bird doing on a remote South Pacific island? Its only somewhat close relative is in Latin America.  Image

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