Paul Foth wants to give South Cariboo residents a bird’s eye view into his favourite hobby.
The organizer of 100 Mile’s Christmas Bird Count will be offering virtual Zoom lessons to avid birders during the month of April. From 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday, Foth will offer four workshops that teach people the basics of birdwatching. By the end of the four sessions, which cost $40 or $10 a session, participants should be ready to go out and look for birds on their own.
“Starting in March and in through May we’ll be getting waves of birds, so it’s a great time to learn about them,” he said. “Spring is the best time to get into birding. It’s the most fun time and the best time to get to know different bird species. It’s when they’re at their brightest and most distinctive.”
The first session will introduce the basics of bird identification, the structure of bird beaks and wings and common mistakes such as putting too much emphasis on the name of a bird. Foth said a purple finch doesn’t look purple while an eagle that looks like a golden eagle could be an immature bald eagle.
The second session will cover plumage and moulting and how they help identify birds, while the third session will explore birds’ behaviour and learning to identify birds by their calls and songs. The final session will be about bird finding, where Foth will go into explaining migration patterns, habitat and when and where is the best time to find certain avians. He’ll also share a few helpful bird resources so participants can further their learning over the course of the summer.
“Participants will have ‘homework for that week to kind of learn how to put principals into practice on how to identify birds,” Foth said.
During the spring, Foth said not only do migratory birds return to the region but songbirds grow brighter plumage to attract mates making them far easier to identify. This makes it an exciting time for birders and an easy way to get into birdwatching for novitiate birders.
Foth also hopes to start doing bird tours in the area after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’re great for someone who is interested in learning how to identify birds. Someone who has maybe been a backyard birdwatcher and wants to get to know more about bird families and how to tell them apart,” Foth said. “These workshops focus on the principles you want to put into practice from the beginning whether you’re a new birder or an advanced birder.”
To sign up for a workshop email Foth at email@example.com or by going to his website gopishing.com. Pishing, Foth explained, is the sound birders make when imitating the calls of songbirds, something he will also be teaching his students.