Archive for the 'Burnaby Mountain' Category

Naheeno Park: May 12th 2010

Wednesday was the start of the summer term at SFU and, happening to have a break between classes and no homework as of yet, I decided to have another look at Naheeno Park. The last time I wrote about birding Naheeno Park it was winter and the birds were common and not particularly abundant. This time, however, there was a fair bit more going on.

The trees were now covered with leaves and the understory was a thick tangle of brush; insects were everywhere. There were quite a few American Robins about, many of them singing and out of sight in the forest but I flushed quite a few as I made my way down the trails. More interestingly (not that American Robins aren’t interesting in their own right) numerous Wilson’s Warblers and several Orange-crowned Warblers were singing up in the canopy.

I spent most of my time along the trail that parallels the power lines as this is where a large amount of the activity was occurring. I had brief looks at a Warbling Vireo followed by some spectacularly close up views of a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers and at one point a Red breasted Sapsucker clambered up one of the utility poles. A Swainson’s Thrush, which was darting in and out of cover along the trail, was probably my best bird of the day as I’m used to seeing them as a distant speck singing at the top of a tall conifer.

Naheeno Park seemed like an entirely different place when compared to my outing in December. Hopefully I’ll be able to wrangle some spare time during the coming semester to visit it again!


A Stroll Down the TCT

On Thursday I had a rare opportunity to get out for a little bit of birding in between classes… well, I should have really been working on homework but sometimes you get that itch and you just need to bird to get it scratched. With a limited amount of time I decided to check out a stretch of the Trans Canada Trail that runs parallel to University Dr. on Burnaby Mountain.

My first notable sighting was of a Chestnut-backed Chickadee digging into a snag. The bird would peck at the excavation sight for a few seconds before flying to a nearby branch with a small chip of wood or two in its beak. The chickadee would then drop the wood chips, fly back to the snag, and repeat the process. I watched the bird continue unabated for ten minutes or so before I had to continue on.

Interestingly, male Chestnut-backed Chickadees select the nest sight but it is the female who actually prepares or constructs the nest (1). It usually takes seven to eight days to build the nest; that’s just over a week of practically non-stop hard labour (2)! After finishing the nest the female will take a day off before commencing with egg laying (2).

Further down the trail from that tough-as-nails female Chestnut-backed Chickadee I came across a mixed flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets, Black-capped Chickadees, and a lone Ruby-crowned Kinglet. In the distance a Winter Wren broke out into song and soon after a Common Raven cawed before flying above the trees where I was standing.

After my brief escape to reality I went back inside refreshed and ready for class.


  1. Fowler, Jr., K. M. 1998. Breeding biology of the Chestnut-backed Chickadee. Typed manuscript of a paper presented at the North American Ornithological Conference. 11 April 1998, St. Louis, MO.
  2. Dahlsten, Donald L., Leonard A. Brennan, D. Archibald Mccallum and Sandra L. Gaunt. 2002. Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:

Naheeno Park: December 2nd 2009

The sunny weather conditions provided the perfect opportunity to take a break from studying and get out birding. I decided to check out Naheeno Park; a place I haven’t been birding before. It is located on Burnaby Mountain just south of SFU’s campus inside the “ring road” formed by University Drive and Gaglardi Way.

I ended up doing a trail that branches off of the main path (Mel’s Trail I think?) and does a loop across two creeks and then rejoins the main trail. It was quite peaceful, except for the traffic at SFU, but there wasn’t much activity as far as birds are concerned. This time of year isn’t exactly the best time to bird Burnaby Mountain; it’s better during migration when various species warblers are moving through.

At one point I did get some close up views of a flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets that decided I wasn’t a threat (or they were just too busy gaining much needed energy) and came within a meter or so of my position. In winter they feed primarily on insects and a little bit of seeds (Ingold and Galati 1997). I was able to watch them glean insects of off the leaves of a young Douglas fir; often they would hover to get at the underside of the leaves.

Despite the lack of activity I still had a great time and I look forward to revisiting Naheeno Park in the spring when it will hopefully have a lot more going on.


Ingold, James L. and Robert Galati. 1997. Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: