Guest Blog: BC’s Nesting Seabirds Have World Significance

The Ronald D. Jakimchuk Foundation for Wildlife and Biodiversity Research was established as a donor advised fund at the Victoria Foundation in 2017. This fund supports the acquisition, preservation and dissemination of natural history information on native wildlife in the Province of British Columbia by:

  • Supporting the Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies in their on-going activities to acquire field notes and other data from competent naturalists and professional biologists which might otherwise be lost and maintaining an archive of such unpublished data to be made available to wildlife researchers.
  • Fostering the dissemination of such information via various forms of publications, notably the bi-annual journal Wildlife Afield, issued by the Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies, the web page of the Centre and periodic books and reports published under the auspices of the Centre.
  • Enabling the use of knowledge acquired by the Centre in protection and rehabilitation of threatened wildlife species, and in programs that may be developed in support of those goals.
  • Promoting public awareness on the importance of wildlife in British Columbia.

The book referenced below is one example of the important work they are supporting.

A newly published book, Seabird Colonies of British Columbia: A Century of Changes is the first of four volumes that will provide a comprehensive documentation of seabird breeding colonies and species in the province. This first, 298-page volume, provides an overview of nesting seabirds in British Columbia, including a history of survey efforts, provincial population summaries, species accounts, threats, and conservation measures.

Ancient murrelet, Race Rocks. Photograph By JARED HOBBS

The book was published by the Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies and was supported by the recently established Ronald D. Jakimchuk Foundation for Wildlife and Biodiversity Research. The foundation was formed under the auspices of, and is administered by, the Victoria Foundation. The Jakimchuk Foundation was established to support the Biodiversity Centre program of preserving field notes and records of naturalists and biologists in BC, and to promote the dissemination of information via a peer–reviewed, biannual natural history journal, Wildlife Afield, and other publications.

The book is both an invaluable scientific reference and a highly readable account filled with fascinating details about the lives of nesting birds and their nesting ecology, and about the survey adventures of pioneering biologists in what were often dangerous undertakings in difficult conditions. It is superbly illustrated, with hundreds of photographs, drawings and charts. Paintings by two provincial artists are added as coloured inserts.

Rhinoceros auklet, Cleland Island. Photograph By R. WAYNE CAMPBELL

Authors Michael Rodway, Wayne Campbell and Moira Lemon bring together five decades of survey and analytical work in this catalogue. The authors have a combined 127 years of experience working on seabirds.

The book discusses 16 species including seabirds and ecologically related species which breed on coastal islands. These include two storm-petrels, three cormorants, nine members of the auk family, a shorebird (Black Oystercatcher) and a gull (Glaucous–winged Gull). In total, over 5.6 million seabirds have been found breeding at 542 sites in the province. BC supports major portions of world populations for three species – Ancient Murrelet, Cassin’s Auklet and Rhinoceros Auklet.

The book also provides a series of conservation guidelines to maintain populations vulnerable to various types of human and environmental disturbances. Those recommendations and the database provided by this catalogue are increasingly valuable and relevant as human activities and proposed industrial developments increase along the coast.

Double-crested cormorants. Photograph By R. WAYNE CAMPBELL

Three future volumes are planned to provide detailed regional accounts and history for every known seabird breeding colony in BC. This is a book for naturalists, birders, students, teachers, boaters, beachcombers, fishers, tug boat captains, and any British Columbian interested in and concerned about our rich coastal natural heritage.

Copies of the book can be purchased online at or from the Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies at 3825 Cadboro Bay Road, PO Box 55053 Victoria BC Canada, V8N 6L8.

~ Guest Blog written by Ron Jakimchuk.


More information

For additional information, see ‘Birds of a feather flock to West Coast islands’ in the Sunday, April 15, 2018 edition of the Times Colonist.