Page 9: Andrea Norris to Michel Robert

Andrea Norris

Photo: Andrea Norris

I was first drawn to interspecific interactions while studying cavity-nesting species in British Columbia. In 2004, my field assistant and I found a nest that was simultaneously occupied by two species: Red-breasted Nuthatch and Mountain Chickadee. The nest successfully fledged two nuthatches and three chickadees, with attending adults being a pair of chickadees earlier in the nest and then later, a female nuthatch. There was a mountain pine beetle outbreak occurring at the time, which further contributed to my intrigue on how species coexist during resource fluctuations, a topic I would go on to pursue for both my Master’s and PhD degrees.

Monika Orzechowska

Photo: George Hoggarth

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Photo: Suzanne Labbé

For many years I have gathered data in northwestern Ontario for the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Prior to conducting these surveys, I spend  innumerable hours tuning up my bird song identification ear. Starting in May, I head outside as early as I can to hear who has arrived. Hello Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren, Tennessee Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, Alder Flycatcher…. The thrill of hearing the beautiful burgeoning chorus of returning songbirds is immense. I am always overjoyed that these avian neighbours have been able to circumvent the many migration perils and make it back for another breeding season.

Melanie Palik

Photo: Melanie Palik

Common Loon

Photo: Melanie Palik

This past summer we found a Common Loon that had become entangled in fishing line at one of our local lakes. The line was wrapped around its beak, neck,  back and legs. With no licensed rehabilitator nearby, members of our birding group set out to free this poor bird. It took a few days of trying until we finally caught  him. By this time he was so tangled he couldn’t move his head anymore. But once the lines were cut, the bobber removed from his back and he was set back into the water he flapped and called out. A joyous moment I will never forget.

Cynthia Pekarik

Photo: Cynthia Pekarik

Long-tailed Jaeger

Photo: Christian Marcotte

Part of my field work for my Master’s degree was done on Flatpot Island, New Brunswick. I had worked with waterbirds on inland lakes for many years, but this island had many unfamiliar seabird species. For one phenomenal experience we set our alarms for 2 a.m. and went to the Leach’s Storm-Petrel colony as the parents returning from the feeding grounds relieved their partners who were incubating the single egg. The petrels flew in, landed on the ground and communicated with their partner to find their nesting burrow and change shifts. I had goosebumps from the privilege of witnessing something so magical.

Jean Piuze

Photo: Andrée Boucher

My life changed on June 16, 1978. That was the day I carried out my first Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), the St. Méthode route, in the area of Thetford Mines in Quebec. In 2017, I ran this route for the 40th time in a row. Over the years, I have added many other routes to my June schedule. Even after conducting my two hundredth BBS survey this summer, I remain as enthusiastic as ever about this program, because it nurtures my love for birds, satisfies my scientific side because of its rigour and allows me to do important volunteer work for the future of our planet.

Jean Poitras

Photo: Micheline Gingras

Hooded Merganser

Photo: Jean Poitras

Walking in the Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park one November afternoon, I spotted a pair of Hooded Mergansers on the far bank. I hurried closer, in the hope that the two ducks wouldn’t fly away. They were still there when I arrived on the bank, busy diving for food about ten metres away. After another dive, the male popped out of the water about four metres away from me. Then the female appeared, between the male and shore. The slanted sunlight allowed me to take this superb photo.

Jean-François Rail

Photo: Hélène Gaulin

Atlantic Puffin

Photo: Christian Marcotte

One of the most exciting moments in my career happened in 2004 when I started a research project on the Northern Gannet, on Bonaventure Island. We placed GPS devices on 14 breeding adults. We wanted to know how far the birds flew to fish for their young. We would finally find out when we downloaded the first data; we were eager to see where our gannet had gone. We were riveted to the screen, when, suddenly, a map of the Gulf of St. Lawrence appeared showing the route our bird had taken: the Magdalen Islands, there and back—in other words, over 200 km away from Bonaventure Island!

Jennie Rausch

Photo: Lisa-Jo & Jeffrey Van Den Scott


Photo: Lisa-Jo Van Den Scott

While my specialty is arctic-breeding shorebirds, another component of my work is being the Vice-chair of the Ahiak Area Co-Management Committee for the Ahiak (Queen Maud Gulf) Migratory Bird Sanctuary. We are responsible for the day-to-day management as well as writing a management plan for the protected area. On our week-long site visit to Ahiak I had such a great time learning about wildlife and the area from the elders and sharing my knowledge of birds. Often the non-game species aren’t noticed so the elders had fun learning the names of the ‘little birds’.

Pete Read

Photo: Sue Read

I was encouraged by the reappearance in the last two years of Red-headed Woodpecker in the exact location on my Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) route where they had formerly nested. When they disappeared about 8 years ago, their large nesting trees were being removed and starlings were being a real pest. However, there are still a few potential nesting trees left in the spot and the nearby woods now have a large number of dead ash. Without running the BBS route, I wouldn’t have known about the location or this recent development. Hopefully these great woodpeckers will make this refuge their home for many years to come.

Michel Robert

Photo: Francis St-Pierre

Sedge Wren

Photo: Suzanne Labbé

This picture reminds me of the fun I had carrying out one of the rare studies on the Sedge Wren in the northeastern part of North America, together with my colleagues and friends at the Canadian Wildlife Service Benoît Jobin, François Shaffer and Sylvain Giguère. The photograph was taken in September 2005 in the Lac Saint-François National Wildlife Area. We had just finished collecting the data to characterize the habitat used by this species. That year, the density of males in the wet meadows of the National Wildlife Area was similar to that in the Midwest, the heart of the Sedge Wren’s habitat.

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