South Okanagan photographer catches return of spring birds to the valley | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan photographer catches return of spring birds to the valley

South Okanagan bird photographer Meghann Fletcher captured this shot of a Western Meadowlark last weekend.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Meghann Fletcher
March 28, 2021 - 11:00 AM

The return of spring birds to the Okanagan Valley may raise spirits.

South Okanagan bird photographer Meghann Fletcher shared two great photos of returning spring birds she took last weekend, which was the first weekend of astronomical spring. 

A recent study published by Senckenberg, the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research and the University of Kiel, revealed individual life enjoyment is correlated to the number of bird species in one’s surroundings.

The photo above is of the Western Meadowlark, which Fletcher photographed in the White Lake area west of Okanagan Falls.

The photo shown below is of a Western Bluebird, which was photographed along Allendale Road just southeast of Okanagan Falls.

“The Western Meadowlark can usually be heard before it’s seen. It shares a beautiful spring song while sitting on telephone lines and in sage bushes. It has a vibrant yellow chest with a black V, and the feathers on its back camouflage it in open grasslands. I know spring has come when I hear its song,” Fletcher said in an email.

The male Western Bluebird is mainly light blue with burnt orange and white on its chest. Fletcher says it is prone to quick movements which makes it a challenge to photograph.

“I also saw a male Mountain Bluebird, which is bright blue with white, as well as a few red-tailed Hawks. There are also lots of flickers and robins back in the valley,” she says.

Fletcher has had her photographs published in American nature magazine Birds & Blooms

Fourteen additional bird species in residents vicinity raised the level of life satisfaction among Europeans at least as much as an extra 124 Euros ($184 Canadian) per month in the household account, based on an average income of 1,237 Euro per month, according to a press release issued by Senckenberg.

Researchers used the data from the 2012 European Quality of Life Survey to determine the connection between bird species diversity in their surroundings and the life satisfaction of more than 26,000 adults from 26 European countries. Species diversity was measured based on the diversity of avian species, as documented in the European breeding bird atlas, according to the press release.

“Europeans are particularly satisfied with their lives if their immediate surroundings host a high species diversity,” said the study’s lead author, Joel Methorst, a Ph.D. student at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, in the press release.

“According to our findings, the happiest Europeans are those who can experience numerous different bird species in their daily life, or who live in near-natural surroundings that are home to many species.”

Birds are indicators of biological diversity since they are among the most visible aspects of nature particularly in urban areas, according to the press release.

A high number of bird species can be found in areas with a high proportion of near-natural and diverse landscapes that hold greenspaces and bodies of water.

“The Global Assessment 2019 by the World Biodiversity Council IPBES and studies of avian species in agricultural landscapes in Europe clearly show that the biological diversity is currently undergoing a dramatic decline. This poses the risk that human well-being will also suffer from an impoverished nature. Nature conservation therefore not only ensures our material basis of life, but it also constitutes an investment in the well-being of us all,” Methorst said.

A Western bluebird.
A Western bluebird.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Meghann Fletcher

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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