Richard (Dick) Cannings
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 eight 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 a member of the national 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 have been known to 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 on Twitter @dickcannings.
You can see a checklist of the birds of my backyard here.
I am now the Member of Parliament for the federal riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay. My political website is here, my political Facebook page is here, and my political Twitter handle is @CanningsNDP.