Page 10: Barry Robinson to Daniel Wren
Photo: Barry Robinson
Photo: John McKay
While studying Peregrine Falcons in the high Arctic, I was attempting to catch an adult female to remove a GPS transmitter that had stopped working. I was adamant that the malfunctioning transmitter be removed so she didn’t have to needlessly carry it on her migration to South America. I spent 3 days trying to catch her with no success – she simply showed no interest in the baited trap. After some clever trap repositioning, I was finally successful. Removing that transmitter and releasing her, free of the extra weight, was one of the most satisfying moments of PhD research!
Photo: Yvette Roy
I became a member of the Club d’ornithologie d’Ahuntsic when it was created in October 1989. One of my most memorable experiences was my first visit to Baie-du-Febvre on Lac Saint-Pierre to watch ducks and passerines. By the end of the day, we had seen 57 species including the Canada Goose, my favourite bird. At sunset, we witnessed the return of the Snow Geese, about 230,000 of them! The sky was covered! I will never forget that magical and intense moment. I derive much happiness from the time I spend outdoors.
Photo: Jeff Sadler
Photo: Suzanne Labbé
They may not be as stunning as a Wood Duck, but they sure don’t beat you up like Canada Geese! The first part of July means Mourning Dove banding time, and they are one of the most enjoyable species to work with. There’s nothing like setting traps before sunrise on a warm summer morning, in anticipation of the first trap run of the day. Having a career that involves working with birds and contributing to bird population monitoring is very rewarding. I consider myself very fortunate to have a career that is so consistent with my passion.
Photo: Paula Scott
Photo: Suzanne Labbé
I’m relatively new to the world of birds and I love it. When my husband and I can’t get out to the woods, ‘our critters’, including birds, bring nature to us in our relatively small urban backyard. Personally, they make me feel happy, relaxed and “as one” with the earth. A couple times a year, I see a Pileated Woodpecker looking for insects in our favourite sugar maple. He didn’t seem nervous at all about me moving in right beneath him to take a photo. There’s space for all of us.
Photo: Shawn Meyer
Photo: Suzanne Labbé
Migratory birds have had a significant impact on my life, both directly and indirectly. Whether spending time laughing with my family and friends in the duck blind, conducting loon surveys with my dad or studying goose ecology in the Canadian Arctic, migratory birds have become a significant part of who I am. As a result, I look forward to going to work every day as a migratory bird biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service.
Laurie Smaglick Johnson
Photo: Laurie Smaglick Johnson
As a conservation photographer, I am forever on the lookout for opportunities to photograph intimate details of bird’s lives so that others may see the things they would never otherwise see regarding the lives of these special creatures. The Cerulean Warbler was proving very difficult to achieve for my book ‘Silent Conversations with Eastern Wood Warblers’. Finally, after four seasons, I realized that the males were far less stressed, driven, and just plain crazy during the three to five day window BEFORE the females arrived! After discovering this, I was able to get the photographs I needed!
Photo: Nicolas Gagnon
Photo: Suzanne Labbé
From the moment I first became interested in ornithology, I have always been fascinated by the study of behaviour. In my parents’ backyard, my observations led me to try to understand how the American Robin approached its nest while confusing its predators — and the girl observing it! On the North Shore of the
St. Lawrence River, I tried to calculate the fishing success of the Common Tern. This passion continued into my graduate studies on the Greater Snow Goose, which led me to Bylot Island, where I had the privilege of being part of the first team sent to this island to study the Greater Snow Goose during its breeding season.
Photo: Marie Bourque
I saw my first Golden-winged Warbler at Point Pelee in May 2000. She was beautiful. I marveled at her soft colouring (compared to males of the species), her small size, and yet incredible ability to migrate such a long way. Having recently been accepted into a Master’s program studying ‘golden-wings’ my friend said to me “there’s the next two years of your life!” as we looked at her. Little did I know at that time, 17 years later, I’d still be working on them and would still be fascinated by the intricacies of their lives.
Photo: Robert Vanderkam
The special event that focused my mind on birds was “discovering” Peregrine Falcons in Ouimet Canyon near Nipigon, Ontario, in 2015. I was vacationing, and was shocked to recognise these awesome birds. I had grown up nearby and had learned then that peregrines had almost gone extinct in Canada. And in addition to the thrill of seeing them recovering in my home region, I was also thrilled that I could, after years of pleasant learning, see a bird far away and realise it might not be just another crow.
Photo: Dale Caswell
Photo: Rachel Vallender
The capture and banding of birds requires specialized knowledge and equipment, and perhaps in the case of arctic geese some toughness. After banding several thousand of these animals I sometimes wondered why I had never seen any bander wearing surgical gloves. I decided to try them out and I found that they were great for reducing the incidental injuries that all banders get from scratches and the mildly corrosive excreta of the birds. I admit that the gloves look out of place in photographs. I do not think they have caught on.
Photo: Nichola Potvin
Growing up, we went camping every summer in the glorious boreal wilderness of northern Ontario with the peaceful call of loons on the morning waters. Mom cooked breakfast – eggs, Canadian bacon, home fries, and toast – over the camp stove while dad puttered around with the boat for an afternoon on the lake. My mother was an expert ghost story teller and attributed a pile of discarded clothes we found in the bush one day as belonging to the “famed” monster “peg leg”. As a child, I was haunted by the chilling staccato call of the White-throated Sparrow but had imagined the song protected me from peg leg. To this day, the White-throated Sparrow remains my favourite bird and one of the reasons I became a biologist.
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