The birds of the world are in trouble! In North America we have lost over 2.9 billion songbirds since 1970.
That is why at Vancouver Avian Research Centre (VARC), our mission statement is safeguarding birds and their habitats to ensure their long-term survival.
VARC is a Registered Canadian Charity (#82118 2656 RR0001) passionately dedicated to wild bird research, conservation and education.
- RESEARCH – We believe that research, monitoring and data collection are vital in guiding successful management action for habitat conservation.
- CONSERVATION – We are committed to taking positive action for change by using the knowledge and data we collect to influence policy makers at local, provincial and federal levels.
- EDUCATION – We strongly believe that education is the first step in safeguarding birds and their habitats. We offer an extensive variety of public outreach programs, lectures and workshops for both adults and youth, to raise awareness of environmental issues as they relate to birds.
We support these three vital areas through two key activities:
- Collecting data and conducting research on bird populations; and
- Performing public outreach and education to raise awareness of environmental issues as they relate to birds.
VARC commenced operations as a bird banding station at Colony Farm Regional Park in Metro Vancouver in 2009. We hold an Operating Lease with Metro parks in order to be based here.
Since our inception, we have banded approximately 50,000 individual birds and amassed a substantial data set. We have also welcomed 50 + university/college groups to the station and held numerous Family Days and Public Outreach programs. We have developed both Bird Monitoring and Banding and Bird identification workshops which we have led each year to assist both students and environmental consultants in developing their ornithological skills. These courses have proven so successful that they have been adopted by other banding stations.
In 2017 we commenced a Bluebird Nest Box project in Merritt, BC, engaging approximately 20 volunteers to monitor out 250 boxes in the area.
In more recent years we have developed our Schools program to reach over 2,000 children and Children’s Summer Camp programs, for which we partner with the SPCA and Vancouver’s Van Dusen Botanical Gardens.
VARC hosted the Western Bird Banding Association Conference in 2016, participated in the North American Ornithological Conference at UBC and was part of the Organizing Committee for the Vancouver International Bird Festival in 2018.
We recently participated in an Advanced Topics in Conservation Biology graduate course in the Department of Biology at UBC. We supplied our long-term data set and helped a small group of students interpret, analyze, and present the first robust statistical assessment of changes in bird capture patterns over time at the station.