Season’s Greetings!

Well wishes to everyone!

This time of year finds me in my usual place, hermited away and dreaming of spring Bluebirds. Like a theatre production where Western Bluebirds are the stars, there is behind the scenes work going on to ensure that the show goes on.

This year’s planning revolves around bringing more families of Western Bluebirds from Washington State to the Cowichan Valley. Our current population is too small to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (just to keep the theatre metaphor going) and needs our help to raise their numbers to a sustainable level. We had planned to start this new round of translocations this past summer but the pandemic restrictions put those plans on hold. I am hopeful that we will be able to go forward with translocations this coming spring/summer.

My reasons for hope are twofold. I have been in contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and they have said that we would qualify for travel across the border for non-discretionary purposes. This means that even if the border remains closed into next field season we will be able to make arrangements for border crossing. I am in the process of acquiring all the permits needed.

My second reason for hope is the generosity of funders. This year the Sitka Foundation is contributing $15000 to the Bring Back the Bluebirds Project! We have also received $5000 from the McLean Foundation as well as donations from generous individuals. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation made large contributions last year and we have reached out to them again this year. These contributions bring us much closer to meeting the costs of this ambitious project and we are so grateful!

For those looking for ways to help out the project financially, we have a Thrifty’s Smile Card fundraiser in progress. Thrifty’s contributes money in proportion to the funds added to Smile Cards (5%). There are still some cards available, contact me and I can bring you one. Donations are also welcome, to contribute go to https://www.canadahelps.org/…/bc-conservation-foundation/ and choose Bring Back the Bluebirds from the BCCF charity menu. Thank you so much for your support.

I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the funders, volunteers, and nest box hosts that made last season’s field work possible. I have already mentioned Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. Other funders include: Ministry of Transportation, Municipality of North Cowichan, Victoria Natural History Society, Return-It Bottle Depot, and the many individuals that made donations throughout the year. A particular thank you to Alison Rimmer who organized a fundraiser selling Strawberry plants and Peonies for the project. Heartfelt gratitude goes to the members of the Cowichan Valley Naturalist Society, many of whom have been trail monitors each year; they have dedicated 1000’s of hours maintaining and monitoring trails and offering their support where needed. Especially thank you to Genevieve who has been a source of guidance and help through the year. Thank you also to our Victoria trail monitors and volunteers. Thank you to our nest box hosts. Without the stewardship of our nest box hosts, our bluebirds as well as many other cavity nesting birds would be homeless, thank you for sharing your homes with the birds! Last but not least, a big thank you to Gary Slater, our project Ornithologist.

In the spirit of hope; hope for a Happy Holiday for you all, for a joyous New Year, and for a season of renewed hope for our Western Bluebirds, I offer this quote from Rufus Wainwright.

“Faith is a bluebird you see from afar, it’s for real and as sure as the first morning star. You can’t touch it or buy it or wrap it up tight, but it’s there all the same making things turn out right.”

Best wishes,

Jacquie Taylor

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