Birds and people are a lot alike — both like to head to Mexico for winter and return north when the leaves begin to bud.
With spring now in full swing, thousands of migratory birds are making their way to B.C. and with their arrival, local parks, trees and grasslands are alive with their bird song
“They have sex on their mind, they’re looking to mate,” says Elaine Golds. “They want a safe nest so they can lay their eggs, incubate them for three weeks and feed on abundant insects.”
Nowhere is the annual spring mating ritual more apparent than at Colony Farm Regional Park in Coquitlam which is hosting a special event this Saturday, May 11, International Migratory Bird Day.
Home to more than 100 species of birds, the 260 hectare park off Lougheed Highway is an important destination for migrating birds.
From spring through summer, the park plays host to tiny hummingbirds, colourful lazuli bunting and large great blue herons, to name a few, with many of the birds drawn to the bushes and old field habitat.
It’s ideal for birds, especially for those that nest on the ground, Golds says, because the tall grasses hide the nests from predators.
“We have altered the face of the planet and this park, where habitat is protected, is a key lynchpin in the survival of birds.”
Families interested in getting to know this park, formerly a working farm producing dairy and vegetables for the former Riverview Hospital, can learn about it and take part in activities from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday.
Association president Jane Thomsing said there will be activities for children, field walks to study birds, (some binoculars will be available), and visitors will also learn about the park’s history, and can tour the community gardens.
Many visitors may not know the vast park on the border of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam used to feed patients and staff at Riverview Hospital.
The farm was shut down in 1983 and, in 1989, the Burke Mountain Naturalists initiated a campaign to have the land protected. In 1996, after a lengthy public consultation process, Colony Farm was transferred by the province to the Metro Vancouver to be managed as a regional park.
Today, Metro Vancouver manages the park in accordance with the Colony Farm Land Use Plan, with the support of the Colony Farm Park Association.
For more information about the association, and upcoming events, including a Lazuli Bunting walk Saturday, Jun 1 and Stories under the Stars Saturday, July 20, visit here. Information about upcoming events and the park is also available here.