Volunteers needed to count birds

  • Apr. 2, 2007 5:00 p.m.

Submitted by Lisa McKnight-Yeates-The Laskeek Bay Conservation Society is looking for volunteers for the field camp on Limestone Island this season. LBCS undertakes and supports research and long-term monitoring of wildlife populations of the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Haida Gwaii, especially in the Laskeek Bay area.
Volunteers are given a unique opportunity to work alongside the field camp biologist and research assistant, and are taught field research skills such as monitoring, data collection and wildlife observations.
Shifts of volunteers, usually two at a time, are flown into camp from Queen Charlotte City, for a one or two week period. Tent sites surround the main cabin which is the centre of the research station. The cabin serves as an office, kitchen, dining room, library and social centre. Volunteers are provided tents and sleeping pads. Meals are included, but volunteers are expected to help with cooking and cleaning duties. Trail building, loading and unloading boats and packing gear are done by staff and volunteers.
It’s not all work and no play. Volunteers have plenty of time to explore the island, take photographs, watch wildlife or do absolutely nothing.
Volunteers must be in reasonable shape and must be comfortable living in a wilderness setting. The camp is remote and does not have the luxuries of home. There is an outside shower stall set up near the mouth of a small creek, near the cabin; water can be heated up in the cabin, for washing. A biffy is currently the washroom, although there are plans to install a composting toilet this year. Field staff are trained in wilderness emergency first aid. VHF radio and satellite phone communication are available but only for business and emergency purposes.
The main focus of the LBCS monitoring is the long term study of the ancient murrelet, an ‘at risk’ seabird species. More than half the world’s population of ancient murrelets breed and nest on Haida Gwaii. They are nocturnal, colonial burrow nesters and are particularly vulnerable to introduced predators, such as raccoons and rats. Dr. Tony Gaston is the research scientist who directs the work of LBCS.
Monitoring and research is also done on other seabirds and shorebirds such as the pigeon guillemot, black oystercatcher and the glaucous-winged gull. LBCS also monitors forest birds, birds of prey, introduced species and marine mammals.
Volunteers are required for various weeks in May, June and the beginning of July. Those interested in volunteering can get more information on the Laskeek Bay website, www.laskeekbay.org or by calling 559-2345 or sending an email to laskeek@laskeekbay.org