Page 3: Coralie Daigle to Bruno Drolet
Photo: Pascale Barrette
Photo: Suzanne Labbé
The adventure began in Grade 2, in Ms. Dominique’s class. Engaged, lively and passionate about birds, our teacher taught us about the many species of birds in Canada. We did extensive research on our favourite bird. We then prepared a display explaining the bird’s physical features, its habitat and so forth. We also learned how to identify birds by their song. While doing math and dictations, reading texts more or less related to ornithology and doing arts and crafts, we learnt even more and, more importantly, confirmed how much we loved birds. They have been a part of our lives ever since. Thank you, Ms. Dominique!
Photo: Barry Robinson
One of my favourite stories is the time I was doing point counts at Canadian Forces Base Suffield National Wildlife Area and was so focused on straining to identify wisps of faraway songs on the wind that a flock of passing Lark Bunting, probably mistaking me for a handy fence post, landed – one on my head, one on my shoulder and one on my foot! Standing in the spring sunshine, surrounded by rolling grasslands and covered in birds, a delighted me was the picture of contentment.
Photo: Lisa Rodrigues
Location: Rocky Mountain canyons of Banff National Park (steep) Goal: first sighting of favourite Canadian bird, American Dipper (ironic) Problem: March (ice covered ascents) Compounded: leg cast (severed Achilles tendon - twice) Resolve: undeterred and without traction I began my ascent, serenaded by a Varied Thrush whose invisibility added to its ethereal quality. Nearing the top, I finally located a single American Dipper dipping in and out of the open sections of a snow covered stream – and was able to enjoy and capture its descriptive behavior in both photograph and film. Smile: didn’t leave my face the entire slide down…
Photo: Pascal Dehoux
Photo: Yves Aubry
Birds led me to travel at the beginning of my career: to the St. Lawrence River estuary to study the American Black Duck; to British Columbia to study the Marbled Murrelet; and even to the rainforest of Colombia for the pleasure of birdwatching. I chose to work in international development, however, when I became aware of the ecological crisis in Haiti, my parents’ country of birth. In fact, the Bicknell’s Thrush is at risk in both Haiti and Canada, primarily because of the loss of its habitats. Therefore, recovery efforts for this species should be undertaken in both its wintering and nesting areas.
Photo: Steve Wendt
Photo: Jim Richards
In 1993 I was introduced to the Arctic for the first time for a project to estimate survival rates and migration routes of Cackling Geese by marking birds with leg bands and neck collars. We operated from a camp on Nikku Island near Dewey Soper Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Early in the trip, we had a terrific storm and the wind broke my tent poles. For some reason I decided that being wet, cold and covered with goose poop was just fabulous! As of 2017, I have been to the Arctic 21 times, and look forward to more trips there.
Photo: Garry Donaldson
Photo: Garry Donaldson
I was not a bird person in my early days as a biologist. I was a lab rat working in various locations burdened with work that, overall, didn’t excite me. That all changed dramatically during my first trip to the Arctic thanks to a chance contract to work at the Coats Island Thick-billed Murre colony for Tony Gaston at the Canadian Wildlife Service. My first glimpse of the chaos and racket of 20,000 seabirds swarming the cliffs and sea below was life changing; I knew I had found something of great interest. Subsequent seasons spent on Coats Island allowed me to grow as a scientist and a person teaching me lessons I use to this day.
Photo: Amanda Dookie
One fall I volunteered to help band waterfowl as part of the Canadian Wildlife Service’s survey program. We banded hundreds of Mallards over the course of several weeks. When you get to encounter Mallards up close you start to notice subtle differences in their appearance. These gentle creatures are all so beautiful in their own way. Then on my last day of banding I was in for a surprise - amongst the group of Mallards was a Wood Duck!
Photo: Chris Ward
My passion for birds began in 2014, when I was offered a position handling birds of prey. I soon became completely engrossed in learning as much as I could about as many species as I could. I expanded my horizons from raptors to songbirds through a fall banding season. Hikes became birding opportunities and patience became a virtue. My love for birds grew even further by teaching others about their resilience and beauty, and today I continue to teach kids about their importance. Through my love for birds I learned to listen closer, to wait longer and to pish only when there are birders around!
Photo: Chantal Lepire
Photo: Danica Hogan
I identified my first bird species with the help of Godfrey’s massive The Birds of Canada. At that time, my school was still holding nestbox building competitions, and I had won this wonderful book. The bird was a Common Nighthawk sleeping on a branch. Since then, birds have always played a central part in my life and I have met my best friends through them. Now, 36 years later, the nighthawk remains a mystery, and I’m lucky enough to be playing an active role in its conservation with my childhood friend, Jacques Ibarzabal, the founder of the Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac in Quebec.
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