A lark sparrow that usually winters in California captured birders’ attention in the annual Port Alberni Christmas Bird Count at the end of December. (Rick Avis photo)

Birdwatching backpacks take flight at Fraser Valley libraries

Libraries making birdwatching easy with binocular and book borrowing program

The Fraser Valley Regional Library is hoping its customers will flock to its new lending collection.

Fifty Birdwatching Backpacks will be available to library customers starting Monday, July 15, and will circulate between FVRL’s 25 library locations. FVRL cardholders will be able to sign out backpacks at no cost for a one-week loan period. For more details, or to place holds starting July 15, visit www.fvrl.ca/birdwatching.

Each Birdwatching Backpack will contain a pair of Vortex Crossfire binoculars with soft case, the National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America, a copy of British Columbia Birds: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species, and a laminated birdwatching guide with helpful tips along with a backpack parts list.

The new collection is the result of a partnership between the library and Wild Birds Unlimited – Vancouver, with the support of the City of Delta and Bird Studies Canada.

Birdwatching Backpacks are part of the FVRL Playground – a collection of non-traditional lending items and in-library experiences that support STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). FVRL says the backpacks are a welcome addition to its Playground, as they promote a greater understanding of ecology, biodiversity and the environment.

Birdwatching — now often called birding — is one of the fastest growing pastimes in North America.

“The Fraser Valley offers so many great opportunities for birdwatching, right here in our own backyard,” says Heather Scoular, FVRL director of customer experience. “Now everyone can try out this relaxing and educational activity without investing in expensive equipment or books. It’s free for anyone with a library card”

Interested in learning more about birdwatching? Check out FVRL’s July 13 Birdwatching Backpack Launch Party at Ladner Pioneer Library (4683 51 Street, Delta). Explore the new collection, hear from local experts and enjoy family-friendly activities, including a special presentation by the OWL Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.


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