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By KokakoKid
#80746
Hi birders,

As the fall soaks us to the bone I am reminded to look for the arrival of Trumpeter Swans in the fields along Highway 99 around the intersection with Ladner Trunk Road. "Keep your eyes on the road!", I keep telling myself!

All joking aside, this year Bird Studies Canada would like to initiate an annual winter swan count in the Fraser River IBA to monitor swan numbers. The main goal of the study is to assess habitat use by the birds and relate this to the availability of suitable land. This IBA has been listed as an IBA in Danger due its exceptional value to wildlife combined with increasing development pressure on the land. This pressure is caused by a myriad of factors, from the Tsawwassen Mills and Tsawwassen Commons malls, the imminent second coal port, and the building of the Massey Tunnel replacement which has increased desirability of Delta farmland for housing development. It is therefore so vitally important that we keep an eye on our feathered friends!

In addition to the stated goal of the study above it aims to help to raise the profile of the IBA in the minds of the public, which is important for reaching many of the residents from Vancouver and elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, many of whom have no idea how important the farmland is for wintering birds. Swans are large and highly visible, and so can act as a 'poster child' for conservation of this IBA.

We hope that the counts will happen once a month for 5 months (Nov-Mar) and may consist of a coordinated effort by a team of observers over the whole IBA. I am designing the data collection protocol at the moment, but it is likely to follow the eBird IBA Protocol, which can be found here http://www.ibacanada.org/documents/eBir ... otocol.pdf.

If you are interested in signing up to take part in this survey, please let me know by contacting me on dbradley@birdscanada.org. I will compile the results each month and issue a yearly report. Analysis of changes in swan numbers will be done in the future.

Thanks,

David Bradley
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