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A 10,500 Sequence of Bird Remains from the Southern Boreal Forest Region of Western Canada

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The prehistoric avian fauna from the Charlie Lake Cave site, Peace River District, British Columbia, spans the last 10 500 years and includes birds from eleven orders. Prior to about 10 000 B.P. the fauna is sparse and the most common species is Cliff Swallow (Hirundopyrrhonota), which probably nested at the site. The avian fauna from 10 000 B.P. to the present is dominated by wetland associated birds (mainly grebes and ducks) of the same species found in the area today and is consistent with the esta lishment of boreal forest by 10 000 B.P. From about 8000 B.P. Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migrat rius) occurs and appears to have been a regular component of the local fauna. The assemblages demo strate rapid colonization of boreal environments by bird populations by 10 000 B.P. and probably ind cate that the modern patterns of migration were established early in the Holocene. Article Summary by Jonathan C. Driver, May 2015 This article discusses the bird remains found at Tse’K’wa and their significant contributions to British Columbian ornithology. I had previously collaborated with Keith Hobson on a study of the archaeological evidence for birds in the Gulf of Georgia. Keith was at one time a technician and enthusiastic bird watcher in the Department of Archaeology at SFU, and produced the first radiocarbon dates on the early Tse’K’wa materials. After completing his PhD in biology at Saskatchewan in 1991 he embarked on a prestigious career as an ornithologist, working for universities and the federal government. We wrote this paper to highlight some contributions of the Tse’K’wa animal bone collection to ornithology. Fossil birds are very rare in the interior of western Canada, so this paper established first fossil records in BC for quite a few species. Passenger pigeons were present for much of the last 10,000 years in the Peace River region, suggesting that they were regular visitors prior to their mass extinction in the late nineteenth century. Quite a few species of migratory birds were present at the site from an early period, suggesting that migration routes were established soon after the glacial conditions came to an end.
This item is part of the Tse'K'Wa (Charlie Lake Cave) Collection in Summit, the SFU Research Repository. We kindly thank the publisher, Arctic Institute of North America, for permission to reproduce this work in Summit.
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Driver, Jonathan C. and Hobson, Keith A. A 10,500 Sequence of Bird Remains from the Southern Boreal Forest Region of Western Canada. Arctic 45(2):105-110.
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A 10,500 Sequence of Bird Remains from the Southern Boreal Forest Region of Western Canada
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Copyright is held by the Arctic Institute of North America. Reproduced with permission of the Arctic Institute of North America.
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