Tag Archives: Turkey vulture

Birds are smarter than you think

Sandra Milligan has been teaching biology at North Island College, in Campbell River, for more than 20 years. She is an avid birder with deep roots in her local community. Someone from Sierra Quadra came to lecture she gave on bird intelligence, at ElderCollege in Campbell River, last fall. This led to Sierra Quadra inviting Milligan to speak at the Quadra Community Centre at 7:30  PM in Saturday, March 2. 

“Birds are incredibly intelligent, contrary to what science has believed in the past.  They understand what each other is thinking. One of my favourite topics, because I’m a bird watcher, (aka a bird listener) is to talk about bird communication and language. They can have hundreds (and thousands even) of different vocalizations and they really communicate in much more depth than science previously believed to be happening,” she explained.  

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Pink Salmon return to Cortes after 8 years, but water levels are too low

Part 2 of a series, click here for part 1.

Cortes Currents was mistaken in the original version of this story. The Chum run did not come into Basil Creek early this year – these are Pinks.

According to Cortes Island Streamkeeper Christine Robinson there have not been any Pink runs on Cortes since 2015 (when most of them perished in front of the culvert in Squirrel Cove), but there was a huge surplus this year.  Pinks are known to stray and find creeks other than their natal streams, and this may be an explanation for their presence on Cortes Island. They started to turn up in Squirrel Cove Creek two to three weeks ago, and Basil Creek and Chris’ Lagoon around Sept 28, but there does not appear to be enough water in the creeks for them.

Continue reading Pink Salmon return to Cortes after 8 years, but water levels are too low

Fresh look at an iconic display: The Cortes Island Water Cycle

Wild Cortes came into being as a result of a series of interactions between Laurel Bohart and Lynne Jordan, former President of the Cortes Island Museum. They started in 2005, shortly after Bohart moved to Cortes Island.  

“I met Lynn Jordan on on the ferry. She had this parrot, an African grey, and it was dead and frozen. She wanted to find a taxidermist, so I mounted her bird. That was the beginning of Wild Cortes, because we did ‘Ravens Relations,’ and put it up in the museum for a few years. People were absolutely enthralled. They wanted to know if we would have more animals, so we dreamed up the original Wild Cortes, the story of water,” she explained.

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Saving the Cowichan Estuary from drowning in a climate-fed ‘coastal squeeze’

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

High atop a dike hemming the Koksilah River as its fresh waters meet salt, red-winged blackbirds call out as they patrol their territory.

Noisy heralds of spring, the blackbirds return to the Cowichan Estuary each year to nest and protest human intrusion with sharp signature trills from the brush along the riverbank.

Today the interloper is Tom Reid, conservation land management program manager with the Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC), who stands atop the 15-foot-high rock embankment he is working to destroy.

The dike, built to fortify farmland stolen from the estuary, is stifling the tidal marsh vital to the survival of a host of endangered salmon and bird species that rely on it for breeding, feeding and migration, he said.

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Cortes Island 2023 Spring Bird Count & an app called ‘Merlin’

Local naturalist George Sirk was sick for the Cortes Island Spring Bird Count earlier this month, so bird watchers had to rely on a new app to help them identify species. This new app, called Merlin, is one of many topics that he and Nancy Kendel, from the Cortes Island Museum, discussed with Cortes Currents. 

The conversation started out with Kendel (NK) giving an overview:

Continue reading Cortes Island 2023 Spring Bird Count & an app called ‘Merlin’