If birds interest you and you have the time, you do something to protect shore birds.
The B.C. Coastal Waterbird Survey is part of a national initiative to gather information about bird populations, to understand which birds are plentiful and which are under threat.
In Nanaimo, volunteers take to local shores once a month to view and record numbers of a variety of shore birds.
The information collected becomes baseline data for a variety of conservation purposes, from measuring the impact of oil spills, through knowing which species need additional protection from loss of habitat.
The people who do it, do so purely for the love of nature.
"The way the program works, it's a volunteer based survey that takes place once a month, on the second Sunday," said Karen Barry, program coordinator with Bird Studies Canada's B.C. office.
"It's pretty well the only longterm monitoring program in coastal B.C. Information is used for a variety of purposes, but in general it's used to identify species in decline."
The program extends up the coast all the way to Haida Gwaii. The greatest concentration of volunteers, understandably, is in the most densely populated centres.
More volunteers are needed in Nanaimo.
When the program enters its 15th season, in September, Barry hopes to find a few more volunteers in Nanaimo. Nanaimo River estuary is one of several important areas where volunteers are needed.
"We usually tell people anyone with an interest is certainly welcome."
Volunteers need a good pair of binoculars "and a good spotting scope would come in handy."
To learn, email email@example.com.
Training sessions in bird identification are sometimes offered for novice bird watchers. It's suitable for people of all ages.
© Copyright 2013