A lovely little note from our community’s chief bird-wrangler, John Tschopp, arrived in my in-box mid-week, acknowledging all the landowners who permitted some innocuous trespassing on the weekend, while local birders tallied up birds for the Bird Count.
It reminded me of this sign from Winnie-the-Pooh, as well as the remarkable story Tschopp told me, about veeries, the songbirds that have been traced, travelling between Pemberton and the Amazon rainforest.
“To birds, political boundaries mean nothing,” Tschopp told me.
One summer, University researchers caught three veeries from Tschopp’s property and fitted them with geolocators. The devices were simple – they just recorded data, but didn’t transmit it – so for the research to be complete, the tagged birds needed to be caught upon their return. Two were found back at Tschopp’s and the data showed that they had spent the winter in the Amazon rainforest.
“They migrate singly,” said Tschopp. “Each individual does the trip on its own. Nobody shows them the way. The navigation is genetically imprinted. They head off in the dark of the night, find their way to the Amazon, and then they come back.”
I feel heartened that our neighbourhood is safe habitat for birds from all around the world, and feel galvanized about the importance of protecting that status – including the cottonwood bottomland forests that provide such rich habitat.
Thanks to all the birders who are keeping tabs on the birds, helping connect Pemberton to the bigger world.