Learn about the birds and the bees at Bishop Wild Sunday

Beekeeper John Gates is opening a hive as part of his beekeeping demonstration today during the Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary’s open house. - Photo submitted
Beekeeper John Gates is opening a hive as part of his beekeeping demonstration today during the Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary’s open house.
— image credit: Photo submitted

For the past year, the Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary has been home to four hives of bees.

At 2 p.m. today, during the sanctuary’s open house, John Gates, former Ministry of Agriculture beekeeping specialist, will open a hive and give a brief beekeeping demonstration.

“Bees are a very important part of our ecosystem, pollinating a wide variety of wild and cultivated plants. Several varieties of bee populations are now in decline across North America and scientists and beekeepers are trying to determine why – and what can be done to stop the decline,” said Gates, who keeps hives around the North Okanagan, including at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre.

“Honeybees are the easiest of all the bee species to manage. They are a welcome addition that ensures adequate pollination of plants at not only the sanctuary, but the surrounding neighbourhood.”

Located near Mackie Lake House and Sovereign Park, the Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary contains a variety of different habitats, from grasslands to forested areas to heavily brushed waterfront.

“This encourages the nesting of a large variety of shore birds, as well as a protective waterfront area for them on a very busy lake,” said Laisha Rosnau, who along with her husband, Aaron Deans, is a resident caretaker of the property.

Habitat at the sanctuary, which includes a high diversity of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, attracts more than 100 varieties of birds each year.

“The native plant garden was converted from a large lawn in 2011 with the help of dozens of volunteers. There’s also a butterfly garden, planted with flowers to attract butterflies, which is a huge attractant to bees as well,” said Rosnau.

Those interested in learning about the birds and the bees can visit the sanctuary anytime today between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The hive opening will happen at 2 p.m.

“There may even be some fresh honey to taste,” said Gates.

Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary is located at 12408 Coldstream Creek Rd. Admission is by donation and all are welcome. Call 250-542-5122 or email for more info.


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