Canada’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Program is a science-based initiative to identify, conserve, and monitor a network of sites that provide essential habitat for Canada’s bird populations. Canada is part of a global network consisting of over 12,000 sites in 200 countries. There are about 600 sites in Canada and 83 in BC.
There are two IBAs in our area. These are the South Thompson River IBA and the Douglas Lake Plateau IBA. Rick Howie has been the caretaker for the South Thompson River IBA for many years. The Douglas Lake Plateau IBA is a very large area and has been shared by Rick Howie and Alan Burger. Rick would like to turn these areas over to a new person or group of people. The map below shows their locations.
What do caretakers do?
A Caretaker is a local volunteer who is matched to one (or more) Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs). The activities of caretakers depend on their interests and time they have available. At minimum, the caretaker will visit the IBA at least once a year and document what is observed. These observations can include the bird species and estimated numbers and any degradation or potential threats to bird habitat. Caretakers work with their local naturalist club to raise awareness of the importance of IBAs and promote participation in field trips and annual bird counts.
Observation reports are submitted to appropriate online monitoring programs so that they become part of important databases. Naturalist club members and the provincial IBA coordinator are available to assist with the procedure for submitting data.
Depending on the interests of the caretaker, there are numerous ways to support the IBA network. These are best done by working with the local naturalist club. These may include helping others connect with nature and learn about IBAs through public talks, nature walks, birding field trips, children’s education programs, or by writing articles and letters for newsletters, magazines, newspapers, and other outlets.
If you are interested in becoming a caretaker, you can contact the Kamloops Naturalist Club for more information.