Virginia Rail, Osprey, Great Blue Heron and Red-Necked Grebe are all species of birds that the Cariboo Wolf Pack 4-H Club spotted at Dragon Lake last month.
Our club participates in a special project called “Find Your 4-H Wings,” which is a 4-H Canada initiative that focuses on learning about bird and bat species in our area and protecting their environment.
To learn more details about the birds in our area, we invited Manfred Rawshitz from the Quesnel Naturalist Club to lead a bird-watching walk around Dragon Lake.
Manfred gave tips on the best methods for spotting birds, including going out early in the morning when the birds are most active, standing still and quietly waiting for the birds to come near, and taking the opportunity to watch birds in your own backyard.
A highlight for the members was watching an Osprey, a large species of hawk, diving into the water attempting to catch a fish. He kept this up for about half an hour, though we never actually saw him catch the fish.
After watching him for some time, we heard a very rare bird, the Virginia Rail.
This is very uncommon in our area, so we were very lucky to hear its sharp two-note call. Manfred clanged two rocks together to imitate this call, and the bird responded! Naturally, all the members were very excited.
We were also lucky enough to spot a Black-Billed Magpie’s nest and get very close to some Tree Swallows nesting alongside a field.
We all learned so much about birds on our walk and gained a deeper appreciation for how much they do for our environment.
Manfred explained how absolutely vital they are to our ecosystem. One bird can eat thousands of bugs a day, protecting plants, trees and shrubbery from these pests.
We had a great time learning about the birds in our area and learned many new species, which we will be excited to look for in our own backyards.
We are very grateful to Manfred for taking the time to share his tremendous knowledge with us and help us appreciate how important birds are to us.
— Submitted by Jacinta Meir and Christinna Matsuba