Plan an ‘Egg-ceptional’ Easter at the Bloedel Conservatory!

Join the Fun for an Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt!

easter eggs

The Easter Bunny, in cahoots with artist Melissa Hume, will secretly hide whimsical one-of-a-kind artisan Easter eggs throughout the lush tropics of Bloedel. Starting March 25th, pick up a map at admissions, then try to spot all 12 eggs! Our chatty parrots might even give you a hint! Draw your 3 favorite eggs and receive a bag of treats + a chance to win one of Melissa’s beautiful ceramic egg treasures. Tag a selfie in your best Easter Bonnet, Bird Crest or Bunny Ears at Bloedel with #bloedeleaster on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win a special Purdy’s Easter basket!

Great for Kids of All Ages!
March 26th & 27th, 2016 | 10:00am – 5:00pm
Scavenger Hunt included with paid Child Admission (3-12 yrs)

Our Bloedel Docents will be onsite for the Easter long weekend to answer any questions and share intriguing stories of the collections under the dome. And of course our bright, colourful birds are always happy to entertain and delight the whole family! See you there!

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Bloedel Conservatory – A Year in Review: 2015

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More and more people have been celebrating the Bloedel Conservatory and rediscovering the magic under the dome! Frequently heard are comments like “The Bloedel Conservatory is my new happy place” and “Bloedel is my dome away from home”. This means that the partnership and hard work of all staff and volunteers of the Park Board and the VBGA are working and headed in the right direction! At the start of every New Year, it is important to reflect on our successes and share our gratitude.

Highlights of 2015 include:

The Bloedel Roving Docent Program wrapped up it’s second successful year in 2015 and is continuing in 2016 with 18 new trainees. New docents begin training in January and undergo an intensive eight week program to learn about the world of tropical plants and birds that live under the dome – plus their bigger connection to rainforests around the world. This team of dedicated volunteers has been a tremendous asset to the Conservatory, heightening the visitor experience by sharing the incredible stories at Bloedel with guests. They are on hand every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10am – 4pm.

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Ildiko Szabo, Assistant Curator Cowan Tetrapod Collection, UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum giving a presentation to Bloedel Roving Docents.

A number of successful events took place throughout the year at the Conservatory and surrounding Queen Elizabeth Park:

Family Fun on Family Day: Activities included bird talks, ladybug and butterfly releases (including information about why they are good for your garden), opportunities to feed the finches, as well as a Tropical Adaptations station that provided information about unique strategies rainforest plants use to survive in this unique climate.

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Joshua Yu, Owner of Metamorphic Butterfly Farms, giving demo about the life cycle of butterflies on Family Day.

A Special Mother’s Day Celebration: Vancouver Orchid Society specialist Margaret Pratt shared examples from the spectacular world of orchids and discussed their care; craft tables for kids where set up where children could plant a starter herb and create their own Mother’s Day card; and artists from the Katami Design Studio designed special Bloedel Conservatory jewellery just for the occasion.

orchid combo

Orchids left to right: Lady Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum), Dancing Ladies (Oncidium), Butterfly orchid (Psychopsis papilio)

National Garden Days: For the first time in Vancouver, five incredible public gardens united to offer a special Vancouver Garden Pass for the National Garden Days celebration. Just in time for Father’s Day, garden aficionados could visit the Bloedel Conservatory, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Sun Yat Sen Classic Chinese Garden, Nitobe Memorial Garden and UBC’s Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research all on one pass.

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Queen Elizabeth Park’s 75th Anniversary: More than 20,000 people came out to celebrate QE Park’s 75th Anniversary! Free concerts, aerial acrobatics of CircusWest and activities including Pickleball, Pitch & Putt, entrance to the Bloedel Conservatory and $5 Zipline rides filled the park with music and entertainment throughout the day. Over the course of the summer and fall, the QE Park Zipline, constructed and operated by Greenheart International FlightLinez, saw over 25,000 thrill seekers zoom over the Large Quarry Garden gaining incredible views of Vancouver. It operated for 87 days, 7 days a week and generated $334,787 total revenue with partial proceeds going to Children’s charities including BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Toy Mountain 2015, and Variety – The Children’s Charity. The Bloedel Conservatory also experienced a boost in attendance with a discount extended to Zipline riders.

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Vancouver Park Board Vice Chair, Commissioner Sarah Kirby-Yung and Chair, Commissioner John Coupar at QE Park’s 75th Anniversary

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Crowds enjoying QE Park, the Bloedel Conservatory and the best views of Vancouver during the Park’s 75th Anniversary

Enchanted Nights: New this year, a world of whimsy and magic at the Bloedel Conservatory is wowing visitors with artisan sprite villages, hand-blown glass, Fairy Queens and unicorn rides.

Bloedel Lights

Bloedel Conservatory and Fountain lit up for Enchanted Nights Holiday Show

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Fairy Queen Tatianna greeting young visitor at Enchanted Night’s

In this holiday attraction for all ages, patrons can walk through a miniature world of fantasy with magical lights, holiday music, and live entertainment set amongst the dome’s tropical plants and exotic birds. Displays have been created by Corey Cote, the Enchanted Forest Collective, Christopher Moreno of 365 Productions, Melissa Hume of Dirty Clay Studios, and Benjamin Kikkert of New-Small & Sterling Studio Glass. Hurry while you can! Enchanted Nights at Bloedel is open until January 3rd, from 4 pm to 9 pm.

enchanted nights combo

With all the extra light created by the New Roof Renovation in 2014, the Conservatory experienced stunning new blossoms in 2015 including African Popcorn plants, plate-sized hibiscus, a variety of gingers and Mysore Trumpet Vines.

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Bloedel Conservatory’s completed roof renovation

V.Earle orange hibiscus

This year also welcomed a number of new birds to the flock. Blanca, the Umbrella Cockatoo loves visitors, often fanning her crest and showing off her great dance moves. Diamond Doves add to the melodies under the dome with their gorgeous ‘wood-flute’ sounding songs, while the new Chinese Pheasant, Roul Roul Partridges, Bourke’s parakeets and variety of finches add colour and entertainment around the feeding station.

new bird combo 2015

Clockwise left to right: Blanca, the Umbrella Cockatoo, Chinese Pheasant, Shaft-tailed finch, Diamond Dove, Roul Roul Partridges

And for the first time, the Bloedel Conservatory joined the Pollinator Project and introduced Mason Bees into the lush iconic dome. Unlike Honey Bees that live and work in a community, Mason Bees are solitary. Because there is no Queen bee, they do not sting. This makes the Mason Bee ideal for public places.

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Mason bee (Osmia cornifrons). Photo by Beatriz Moisset, Creative Commons

On that note, please accept our appreciation and sincere thanks to you as a supporter of the Bloedel Conservatory. Whether you have joined us at events, generously donated, or simply shared our commitment to reinvigorate the Conservatory and re-engage with the community, our mission is made that much more attainable knowing that we have your support! Thank you and Happy New Year!

 

 

Queen Elizabeth Park Turns 75!

Come out and join the celebration! This Sunday is a family-fun filled free day throughout Queen Elizabeth Park, honouring its 75th Anniversary!

Large Quarry Garden at Queen Elizabeth Park

There will be much to do! Take in a free concert, enjoy the Stanley Park Brewing licensed area, be awed by the aerial acrobatics of CircusWest, stop in and chat with the parrots at the Bloedel Conservatory (free admission), take a thrill ride on the $5.00 Zipline, or try your skill at free Pickleball, Pitch & Putt and Lawn Bowling, plus much more!

WHO: All Ages – Free

WHEN: Sunday, September 13th  Noon – 7pm

WHERE: Queen Elizabeth Park Plaza, Lawn Bowling Centre, Tennis Courts

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Stage schedule

Time  Event/Entertainment
12:00 noon to 12:30pm Opening Speeches
12:30pm to 1:30pm Pop Junkies
1:45pm to 2:45pm Hot Panda
3:00pm to 4:15pm Patrick Nazemi
4:30pm to 5:30pm The Zolas
5:45pm to 7:00pm Delhi 2 Dublin
2:00pm, 3:30pm, and 5:00pm Aerial show by CircusWest at the fountain plaza

All day activities from Noon to 7:00pm

zipline sm•  Stanley Park Brewing licensed area

•  $5.00 zipline rides

•  Free pitch & putt

•  Free admission at the Bloedel Conservatory

•  Face painting at the fountain plaza

•  Photo booth at the fountain plaza

•  Pickleball at the tennis courts

•  Free drop-in at the QE lawn bowling club

 

 

It will be a fantastic day! Something to do for everyone in the family! Come out and celebrate this beautiful park at the highest point in the City!

Quick History of Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is a city landmark, once known affectionately as ‘Little Mountain’ as its summit is just over 501 feet and is located at the geographic centre of the city. The land was originally owned by the Canadian Railway and was turned into a basalt rock quarry between 1890 – 1911. Rock from the quarry was used to build the first roadways in Vancouver.

In 1912, the Canadian Pacific Railway first offered the land to the City of Vancouver. No action was taken at the time, but it was reserved for park purposes. In 1929, Vancouver amalgamated with the municipalities of Point Grey and South Vancouver. It then proceeded to acquire the property from CP Rail. By the end of the 1930’s, it was turned over to the Vancouver Park Board.

King George Queen Mum Vancouver Archives#CVA 371-100

1939 was a historic year! King George VI and his consort Queen Elizabeth traveled the Country on their first official Canadian tour. The royal couple traveled from the east to the west coast on the Canadian Pacific Railroad. While in Vancouver, they visited North and West Vancouver, Stanley Park, UBC and Little Mountain.

In July 1940, Little Mountain was officially renamed “Queen Elizabeth Park” in dedication to the visit from the royal couple. From that time, with $5,000 per year funding from Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, Park staff began transforming the overgrown hillsides into Canada’s first civic arboretum, with over 1500 species of trees. Examples of all the native trees found across the nation were planted along with many exotic species to create the beautiful landscape, which is Queen Elizabeth Park today.

Queen Elizabeth Park covers 52 hectares (130 acres) and is one of the most beautifully maintained public parks in the world. It is second only to Stanley Park in annual visitations, receiving nearly 6 million people per year.

The Bloedel Conservatory Inspires Poetry!

Orange Bishop Weaver finch

Orange Bishop Weaver Finch. Photo by Vicky Earle

“arching fronds

of the Madagascar palm—

darting finches”

by Brenda Larsen, VHG member

 Haiku poetry is defined as:

a short poem, usually of three lines, that originated from Japan. It is one of the most well known forms of poetry in the world today, written by people in many different countries.

The Bloedel Conservatory, our domed tropical oasis at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park, has become a muse for many artists in a variety of disciplines. Members of the Vancouver Haiku Group (VHG) recently met at the Conservatory for a haiku walk that included self-guided tours.

Haiku is inspired by an emotional, sensory awareness of the world around us. To gain fresh perspectives for their writing, haiku poets often gather for walks (referred to as ginko walks) at special locations known for their beauty and/or historical significance. Members of the VHG participate in workshops, public readings and walks throughout the year to inspire and support the writing of haiku. Dr. Gabi Greve, author of World Kigo Database (WKD), refers to a haiku walk on her blog as a Ginkoo and breaks the word Ginkoo into two parts: gin means singing, praising, making a poem and koo means walking. A kigo is a word that indicates the season in which the haiku takes place.

Marianne J. Dupre, a member of the VHG, who lives near and is a frequent visitor of Queen Elizabeth Park, describes a beautiful haiku walk through the Bloedel Conservatory:

Entrance to the Bamboo Bridge in the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo by Vicky Earle

Entrance to the Bamboo Bridge in the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo by Vicky Earle

Haiku on the hilltop

It was a glorious day to be inspired. After weeks of rain, it was the first real day of spring and I was out to enjoy the warmth of the sun. High above the sounds of city traffic, the hilltop was alive with activity. Children were on bicycles and skateboards, mothers and fathers pushed babies in strollers, while teens captured in-the-moment selfies on their cell phones. Even a few beaming brides and grooms strolled across my path in search of the ideal scenic backdrop for wedding album photos.

If the day wasn’t glorious enough to write about, the Bloedel Conservatory teased the muse in me. A wave of damp, earthy heat met me as I entered the front door, and the tropical city jungle was mine to explore. Rich green palms towered ahead of me, their fronds fanning the pathway, while exotic finches trilled in the treetops. Water flowed low beneath bamboo bridges, trickling into small pools with bright orange Japanese koi. Silver coins, reflecting sunlight from the glass roof, winked at me below the ripples of a pool. Along the path a small wooden waterwheel thumped and splashed steadily, feeding a small meandering stream.

Lost in my own awareness of sight, sound, and scent, I set off, my every step giving me pause for reflection. The scent of hyacinth was in the air, along with squawks from jewel-toned parrots grooming themselves, and the lighthearted sounds of children’s laughter.

I recognized houseplants we had at home like palms, ficus, bromeliads, philodendrons and corn plants, all more rich in colour, texture and size in an environment similar to their native habitat. Pastel tulips and delicate white lilies seemed to sigh open as I passed by, and brilliant azalea shrubs dazzled me with their bold hues.

On a drawbridge a girl scampered across to meet her mother, pausing for just a moment to feel the sway of the ropes. A shy boy tentatively sat next to me on a bench beneath a rubber tree then grinned on cue for his father’s camera. Another little girl talked sweetly to a branch full of small birds, coaxing them to answer her back. She didn’t notice the silver pheasant poised, confident and curious on the path behind her.

I pulled a notebook and pen from my bag, and focused my camera to record impressions that would define what my senses had captured. I lingered for more than two hours, circling the paths time and again, seeking details that may have been overlooked. Finally, with my head full of sensory images, I sat outside at the edge of the Dancing Waters fountain to write. While deep in thought, the gradual rise of jetted fountain water applauded my efforts.

More Haiku inspired by self-guided tours under the dome

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Rosie, African Grey Parrot. Photo by Vicky Earle

 

red-tailed Rosie says

I love you . . .

candy corn beak

by Angela J. Naccarato

 

photo by D Sharon Pruitt

photo by D Sharon Pruitt

 

a child

asks for a piggyback ride—

strangler fig

by Jessica Tremblay

 

Carmen and Maria, Green Winged Macaws at the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo by Vicky Earle

Carmen and Maria, Green Winged Macaws at the Bloedel Conservatory

 

under a wet palm leaf

the macaw munches berries

the click of the shutter

by Lynne Jambor

 

If you are interested in joining the Vancouver Haiku Group, new members are welcome. Currently, the VHG includes members from Vancouver and surrounding areas who meet once a month to share and discuss haiku and welcome people who are interested in learning about and writing haiku. As a member of the VHG you will learn to write contemporary English-speaking and experimental haiku through a variety of exercises. Discussions about the structure and form of haiku are based on contemporary English-style and traditional Japanese-style haiku. Membership is open to all people who are interested in writing haiku. For further information about the Vancouver Haiku Group or queries regarding membership, forward an email to Angela J. Naccarato, facilitator for the Vancouver Haiku Group, at angelan@telus.net. You can also follow VHG on Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Vancouver-Haiku-Group/1571492576409446.

A very big thank you goes to Angela Naccarato and the members of the VHG for sharing their poetry and making this post possible. The Bloedel Conservatory is open everyday (except Christmas day). Why not grab your camera, sketch or notebook and come be inspired! The muse beckons …

New Sculptures Outside the Bloedel Conservatory!

Four new marble and granite sculptures by artist Cameron Kerr of Campbell River, have been installed at Queen Elizabeth Park plaza in front of the Bloedel Conservatory. The sculptures, inspired by modernist architecture, are beautifully carved, while the raw stone influenced the direction the pieces took during the sculpting process.

Kerr attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, Italy and took Master Classes with modernist British sculptors William Tucker and Anthony Gormley, Gormley being best known for the public sculpture ‘Angel of the North’ in the North of England. Mr. Kerr is a graduate of the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.

The sculptures, each weighing between 2,500 to 5,000 pounds apiece, were transferred from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre plaza to Bloedel Conservatory viewing deck last weekend. The artwork was originally commissioned by the City Public Art Program to mark the Vancouver’s 125th anniversary. These sculptures are currently a temporary installation, but could become permanent artwork in Queen Elizabeth Park with approval from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

Happy 42nd Anniversary Bloedel Conservatory!

Bloedel Consevatory in the Fall

The Bloedel Conservatory opened December 6th, 1969 and was the first domed floral conservatory in Canada! It is at the geographic centre of Vancouver at its highest point in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Bloedel Conservatory under construction.

We thought you might like to read about the history of this fantastic green jewel at the top of our city on this special Anniversary day!

In 1966, while Canada prepared for its Centennial celebrations, two men in Vancouver had a grand vision. Stuart Lefeaux, Superintendent of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, and Deputy Superintendent Bill Livingstone wanted to something that would enhance the image of Vancouver and give people something to be really excited about! Their vision was to build a Conservatory for exotic plants that would not only be educational, but would also be a beautiful place to visit. Where better to build such a structure than the geographic centre of the city and at its highest point of land? Queen Elizabeth Park was the obvious answer. But now how to pay for it? Stuart and Bill knew there must be a philanthropist in the city who would like their name attached to such a project.

Prentice and Virginia Bloedel. Photo courtesy of Virginia Wright Bloedel

They approached Prentice Bloedel, retired Vice Chairman of the Macmillan Bloedel Lumber Company. Prentice, a visionary in his own right, teacher at heart and a pioneer in the areas of recycling and the human/ environmental connection agreed! The Bloedel Foundation put forward $1.4 million dollars (worth $8.6 million in 2012 dollars) in conjunction with contributions by the City of Vancouver and the Provincial Government to build the Bloedel Conservatory, the fountains and the surrounding plaza. This was the largest civic gift given to Vancouver to date.

Construction of the aluminum framing of the Bloedel Conservatory.

Construction of the aluminum framing of the Bloedel Conservatory.

The elements for the triodetic dome frame were manufactured in Ottawa and shipped 3,000 miles across the country to Queen Elizabeth Park. Once it arrived, the aluminum framework was erected in just 10 days although the entire Conservatory structure took over 1 year to complete. The Grand Opening of the Conservatory took place on December 6, 1969 and hosted over 500,000 people in its first year of operation.

Bringing in the palms at the Bloedel Conservatory, 1969.

The Bloedel Conservatory is significant for its historical, symbolic, cultural, and social values, and particularly for its use of technologies and building methods which were quite advanced for its time. The Conservatory, the fountain and the surrounding plaza were all designed to work together and with specific goals to show man’s connection to nature. The curving lines of the fountain harmonize with the Conservatory dome, while the leaping fountains add vertical movement to mirror distant trees. The dome structure with its absence of interior supporting columns was chosen to provide an unobstructed view of the exotic gardens within. The Bloedel Conservatory won the prestigious Vincent Massey Award for Excellence in Urban Environment in 1971 and is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Join us for the Jewel Box of Lights Opening Event, this Friday, December 9th between 6 and 9pm to help us celebrate this amazing tropical oasis!

“Bloedel is a Jewel Box as are the stars, and at Queen Elizabeth Park you can almost touch the heavens on a clear night!” ~ T. Clark

A great time is sure to be had by all!

Making Hearts Happy!

As much as I visit the Bloedel Conservatory, our green oasis at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park, I rarely take time to read the Visitor Comment Book. But today was different. Today, I was waiting for a friend and didn’t want to stray too far from the front door. To bide time, I began to look through the pages of the Visitor Book. There were many heartfelt raves like “Wonderful!”, “Beautiful!”,  and “Wow!” However, I was not prepared for the more creative comments and touching sentiments.

These comments ranged from “Mindblowing” to “You need monkeys!”, to “Splendifulous“, “Breathtaking” and “Bellisimo“. “This is our first date here and we loved it“, “Will brag to everyone that I was here!” and from Sairin and Mustafa of India You made our hearts so happy! Thank you!

I was thrilled to see visitors hailing from near and far – not only local visitors from all over BC and every Canadian province, but also from around the globe. Here is testament that our little Conservatory truly is a World destination! I read page upon page of comments from Holland, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Belgium, China, Slovenia, England, Finland, Romania, Ireland, South Korea, Philippines, Italy, India, Switzerland, New Zealand, Venezuela and the Czech Republic (to name a few).

At that moment, I was so proud to have played a part in saving the Bloedel Conservatory! I think Bill Livingstone and Stuart Lefeaux, the two men who had the grand vision to build this floral conservatory would be very proud. Not to mention, this is exactly what Prentice Bloedel desired when he put forward the funding to build the dome: to showcase the beauty of the tropics through amazing floral displays and to familiarize and inspire people of all ages with the world of plants. I do hope the gardeners and staff at the Conservatory take a moment from time to time to read the Visitor’s Book. It is an uplifting tribute to their ongoing dedication and hard work that keeps the magic of the dome alive. Absolute enjoyment!”, “Fantastic!“, “Magnifique!” 

Post by Vicky Earle, Vice President, Friends of the Bloedel

Quick Guide: Birds of Bloedel

With Summer Hours now in place, you have more time to enjoy the Conservatory! Monday – Friday  9 am ~ 8 pm;  Weekends  10am ~ 9pm

It’s easy to recognize the larger parrots at the Bloedel Conservatory, but the smaller free-flying birds are a bit harder to name.  Some of these little guys only show themselves occasionally, so it has been tricky getting portraits of them all. This post will be updated frequently as more photos are collected. If you can spot every bird on this list, you are fortunate indeed!  Enjoy! Leave us a comment and let us know which birds are your favorites!

Napoleon Weaver Finch

Napoleon Weaver Finch

Napoleon Weaver Finch (male)

Napoleon Weaver Finch (female)

Napoleon Weaver Finch (female)

The Napoleon Weaver is native to south central Africa. They build their nests by anchoring vertical palm fronds to a branch and then weaving horizontal palm leaf strips in and out of that structure. If you look carefully around the Conservatory in the Spring and late fall (November), you might see one building one of these intricate nests. They are slightly more yellowish than the Orange Bishop Weaver finch. 

Orange Bishop Weaver Finch

Orange Bishop Weaver Finch (male)

The Orange Bishop Weaver is VERY similar to the Napoleon Weaver. The easiest way to tell the males apart is by their tail and forehead colour. The Orange Bishop has a black face AND forehead, while the Napoleon Weaver tends to only have black cheeks. The Orange Bishop is also a deeper orange with an orange tail. The Orange Bishop Weaver builds a hanging globe for a nest. The females will inspect all the nests and select the best architect as a mate. When you see them carrying strips of palm fronds, you know it’s nesting season. Orange Bishop finches are native to the grasslands of east Africa.

Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch

These adorable little finches love to eat often throughout the day and can usually be spotted at the feeding station in the Subtropical area of the Conservatory. These little guys have ‘fawn’ spots on their wings and unmistakable orange cheeks. Zebra finches eat seeds and are just over 3 1/2 inches in length. They are native to Australia and are very good singers. In fact, an interesting study at McGill University studied the complexity of the song of the male Zebra finches. The research found that the little guys with the most intricate song were also better foragers for food – making them a better ‘catch’ for the ladies!

Japanese White Eye

Japanese White Eye

The Japanese White Eyes, also called Mejiros, are extraordinary song birds. The name White-eye was given because of the silky white rings around the eyes. They are native to Japan, but today can be found across Korea, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, and the Philippines. Japanese White Eyes were introduced to Oahu in 1929 and can now also be found throughout all the Hawaiian Islands. These little birds tend to eat insects, but fruit is their favorite food. They are easily tamable and quite sociable. Along with their beautiful songs, this makes the Japanese White Eye a favorite household companion.

Canary

Canary

Canaries are actually part of of the finch family, but they are far less social. And yep, you guessed it, they are native to the Canary Islands. There are a number of colour mutations that have appeared over the years including bronze, white and red. Did you know that only male canaries sing and are very territorial? This is the only way you can tell them apart from females!

Strawberry Finch

Strawberry Finch or Red Avadavat

The Strawberry Finch is also known as the Red Avadavat or Red Munia. This is the only finch where males go out of colour when not breeding. During breeding season they become bright red with small white spots showing up along the neck, breast and sides … very much like a strawberry! They can be found throughout India and Asia in the wild.

Red-winged Laughing Thrush

Red-winged Laughing Thrush

These birds are native to southwest China and northwest Vietnam and are part of the Old World babbler family (Timaliidae). Laughing thrushes are approx 10 inches long (27 cm) and tend to travel in pairs or small groups close to the forest floor. Look for them smoothly hopping though the low ‘under growth’ at the Conservatory. They can be quite ‘talkative’ in the late afternoons, making loud whistling songs.

African Superb Starling

African Superb Starling

These beautiful birds have deep metallic blues, purples and greens in their plumage. This bright colouring is due to iridescence which is actually derived from the structure of the feathers rather than pigment. They are quite social birds and have a wide range of vocalizations, sometimes including ‘humanized’ sounds like car door alarms in their songs. There are many species ranging throughout the world from the Arctic to the Equator. The Starling family is closely related to Myna birds.

Budgerigar (Budgies)

Budgie (male)

Do you know how to tell the difference between a male and female budgie? It’s the colour of the “cere” which is the area above the beak that surrounds the nostrils. Boys have blue cere’s (of course!), for females it is tan or brown while juveniles of both sexes will be purplish in colour. Budgies are native to Australia and have green plumage in the wild. Domestic birds range in colour from white, blue, yellow and green. A healthy budgie needs lots of room to fly so the Conservatory is a great home to the flock of residents who live here. Some people call budgies ‘parakeets’, but this is actually a ‘catch-all’ name used for many smaller species of parrots.

Yellow Grosbeak

Yellow Grosbeak (female)

The Yellow Grosbeak is a medium-sized seed-eating bird in the same family as the Northern Cardinal. They are usually found on the Pacific side of Mexico from central Sonora to northwestern Oaxaca, and in southern Chiapas and Guatemala. The Grosbeak is a forest or woodland bird that can be found as far north as Arizona, California, New Mexico, and sometimes even Iowa, in the summer months. It is considerably bigger than its North American relatives, the Black-headed and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Red-vented Bulbul

Red-vented Bulbul

The Red-vented Bulbul is a member of the passerine family  (meaning perching birds). It is native to India, Sri Lanka and China and was later introduced to the Hawaiian islands and Fiji. Bulbuls feed mainly on petals of flowers, nectar, insects, and fruits making it an important bird for distributing the seeds of plants. This Bulbul was given the name ‘red-vented’ because of the red triangular patch under it’s tail. They are quite good singers.

Pied-Imperial Pigeon

Pied Imperial Pigeon

The Pied-Imperial Pigeon is also known as the Arboreal Dove, the Nutmeg, Torresian Imperial and Torres Strait Pigeon. In the wild, they are generally found in rainforests, eucalyptus woodlands, and along coastal scrubs, creeks, rivers, mangroves and islands. Did you know that pigeons are among the most intelligent and physically adept creatures in the animal kingdom? According to studies at the University of Montana, pigeons can recognize all 26 letters in the English language and differentiate different human beings in photographs. Because they can be taught to make complex responses in different sequences, they were utilized to save thousands of people lost at sea and during numerous rescue missions during times of World Wars  I and II!

Touraco

Touraco

The Touraco is one of the most exotic birds at Bloedel. There are a number of different species of  Touracos in the wild, this one is the Sierra Leone or Green-crested Touraco. He is elusive! If you can spot him you are lucky indeed! (Hint: he likes to hang out in the magnolia tree above the waterfall). Touracos are approximately 43 cm in length (nearly 12 inches) and are spectacular in flight.

Princess Parrot

Monty the Princess Parrot

Princess Parrots originate from central and western Australia but today are rarely seen in the wild. They are also known Splendor Parrots due to their pastel colouring. Princess Parrots are often described as very gentle and quiet with an endearing personality. If you look closely, they usually seem to be smiling. They are very social and tend to mimic whistles rather than talk. When Monty arrived at the Conservatory, he instantly fell in love with Casey the Amazon Parrot. She is never too far from his sight. When you find one, the other will be close by.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

References:

McGill Study on Zebra Finches: http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/archives/08-09/qq-2008-11-15.html

Budgie Information, Let’s talk Birds: http://www.letstalkbirds.com/budgie.htm

The Avian Web: http://www.avianweb.com/birdspecies.htm

University of Montana Research on Pigeons: http://www.avianweb.com/pigeonintelligence.html

Wikipedia: http://www.wikipedia.org

Honolulu Zoo: http://www.honoluluzoo.org/site_map2.htm

A Step in the Right Direction!

Working in conjunction with Park Board Commissioner Barnes, Friends of Bloedel have taken the opportunity to market the Conservatory at the Vancouver Lookout, located atop the Harbour Centre Tower in downtown Vancouver at 555 West Hastings Street.

Our 6 1/2 foot poster was put in place yesterday alongside a display for the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden where it will remain for the next 3 weeks. By increasing attendance by 70,000 more visits per year at the Bloedel Conservatory, we can say goodbye to the operating deficit. Thanks to the groundswell of support by the public and surrounding communities, we are well on our way to that goal!

If the Park Board accepts the Expression of Interest proposal put forward by the Friends of the Bloedel/ VanDusen Botanical Garden Association partnership, this will be the first of many steps to ensure our green jewel stays open well into the future.

Tickets for “A Little Night Music”

Our Event IS Sold Out!


Thank you all for supporting our event fund raiser to save the Bloedel Conservatory! We are thrilled to know so many people love the Conservatory as much as we do and will be joining us on the 28th!

Enjoy the exotic evening ambiance of our own tropical rainforest atop Little Mountain at Queen Elizabeth Park April 28 @ 7:30 while listening to the classical melodies of the Coast Trio, viola sensation Nathaniel Wong and Opera soprano Lucy Smith. Luscious Xoxolat chocolates and champagne provided by Sumac Ridge will tickle taste buds as you stroll the garden pathway taking in this magical night. The Orchid Society will also be on site selling orchids and answering questions. It’s the perfect after dinner destination!

For more information about Friends of the Bloedel and our progress, visit http://www.friendsofthebloedel.ca

See you Wednesday the 28th!

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