Migrations and Mortgages: Winging It


I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in birds.

I grew up in England, and at the age of 11 or 12 I joined a group in Hertfordshire to do bird banding. That’s where you catch birds using nets and attach numbered aluminum bands to their legs. The band allows each bird to be identified for the rest of its life.

Now I run a migration-monitoring banding program at Burnaby Lake in the spring and fall, and a bird-monitoring program in the winter. It’s all volunteer work. I can be down bird banding at dawn and still be in the office by 9:00, where I work in finance.

I also do a lot of bird watching. My wife and I just came back from a birding trip in Hong Kong and Thailand. Last year we did Cuba and Fiji, and the year before that we went birding in Australia.

With birding, you either get it or you don’t. And the ones who get it are pretty fanatical about it. When you get to the level that I’m into it at, it very, very much becomes part of your life. And you can do it anywhere.

I think one of the biggest thrills of being a birder is the connection with the outdoors. People spend their days indoors at the office, then go home and sit in front of the TV or drive to a shopping mall – and they wonder why they’re stressed out and why everyone’s taking Prozac. It’s because they’re not connected with the outdoors.

Derek Matthews is the Senior VP at Spectrum-Canada Mortgage Services Inc.