About Me

Richard (Dick) Cannings

I was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley, in a family keenly interested in natural history.  This early involvement in birds, bugs and plants led me to a university education in zoology, including a BSc degree from the University of British Columbia and a MSc from Memorial University of Newfoundland.  Six summers as a Park Naturalist in my university student years gave me a broad knowledge of the ecology of British Columbia.  This knowledge was deepened through my 15 years as Curator of the Cowan Vertebrate Museum at the University of British Columbia.  That position not only gave me a tremendous opportunity to learn more about my favourite subject--birds--but also gave me experience in teaching ecological field methods and natural history to university students. I still teach a field ecology course for UBC every year, held in such diverse places as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Arizona and the Yukon.  My main research interest is the breeding biology of birds, particularly small owls.  I continue to do consulting work, primarily on impacts to species at risk in the Okanagan Valley.
After having lived away from the valley for almost 25 years, in 1995 I returned to what has always been home, and now work as a consulting biologist in Naramata, BC.  I work half-time for Bird Studies Canada, coordinating Canadian Christmas Bird Counts, the eBird program and the British Columbia Owl Survey.
I have served on various boards and committees, including 8 years as co-chair for birds on the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, 11 years on the British Columbia Environmental Appeal Board and 5 years on the British Columbia Forest Appeals Commission.  I was a founding director of the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance and a present member of the British Columbia board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Note:  I have moved my website to http://dickcannings.com/ .  Please visit that site for my latest posts.  I'll leave this site up for now but won't be adding any material to it (I'm maxed out on the upload limit!).  Sorry for the inconvenience.

  I am a biologist, birder and author living in the Okanagan Valley of southern British Columbia. I have the good fortune to live in the house I was born and raised in, lulled to sleep by the hoots of Great Horned Owls and woken by meadowlark song.  I grew up in a family keenly interested in nature, and it's nice to see the cycle repeating itself.  The yard is a wonderful one-acre sanctuary for all sorts of wildlife--and for my family as well--full of old memories and filling again with new ones.

I spend half my time working for Bird Studies Canada coordinating Canadian Christmas Bird Counts, the Great Backyard Bird Count, the eBird program, the BC Breeding Bird Atlas and the British Columbia Owl Survey.  I also work as a consulting biologist, mostly on projects concerning the status of bird populations in Canada and the endangered landscapes of British Columbia.  And I spend a lot of time writing about the natural world.

Like all naturalists, I have always been concerned about the plight of species at risk, and spent 8 very interesting and fulfilling years as co-chair for birds on the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.  I was a founding director of the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance and am a member of the British Columbia board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

I have produced regular radio items on natural history themes for CBC and taught continuing education courses on birding and nature.  I’ve also led about 50 natural history tours to destinations around the world, particularly in the New World tropics. When I’m not birding, I play fiddle in a local Scottish country dance band.

My writing centres on the natural history of British Columbia and the biology of birds, including guide books, references, essays and anthologies.  I also have written the text for photographic collections of colleagues who are much better photographers than I am.  I'm also a consulting editor for natural history at Greystone Books, so if you have any book ideas please send them my way!

For more information on my books, click here.

To read my blog, click here.

If you'd like to ask a question or make a comment, click the small comment link above at the top of the blog page.

You can see a checklist of the birds of my backyard here.

I'm on Twitter @dickcannings.