By Claire Elliott
Every month a dedicated group of OFNC bird enthusiasts meet at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden to discuss bird-related news in the Ottawa region and to plan bird-related events and conservation initiatives. If you have participated in a bird-related OFNC event, visited a bird feeder located in an Ottawa greenspace, or requested help with an ID from email@example.com, there is a good chance you have come in contact with the work of the OFNC Birds Committee.
Weekly Bird Report for Ottawa/Gatineau Region
Every week, notable sightings data is packaged into a report and disseminated on the Ontario Field Ornithologist’s OntBirds email list, the OFNC website, and the OFNC Facebook page. If you are thinking about going birding in the Ottawa region, these reports are a great resource for finding local birding hotspots at any time of year. Due to increasing and widespread concerns regarding disturbance of wildlife and property, the OFNC Birds Committee no longer reports owl sightings on the internet, though reporting of all bird occurrences to the committee is encouraged for the maintenance of local records. Please direct your sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Bird Count
Since the inaugural Ottawa event in 1920, the OFNC has participated in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Each December, the Birds Committee in partnership with Club des ornithologues de l’Outaouais organizes the Ottawa/Gatineau chapter of the count. New and seasoned volunteers are encouraged to participate each year. The 2014 report will be available shortly on the OFNC website. As well, a write-up on the 2014 event appeared on this blog in late December.
The Ottawa Peregrine FalconWatch began in 1997 as an initiative to protect local nesting falcons and promote the recovery of the species. Each summer, volunteers monitor Peregrine chicks and wait for the young to make their first attempt at flight. Once the young birds gain their wings, volunteers ensure the safety of chicks, rescuing them after any crashes, returning the chicks to the nest, or if necessary seeking medical attention for the chicks. A detailed account of the last FalconWatch season can be found on the FalconWatch website.
Bird Study Group
The Birds Committee occasionally offers workshops and talks on bird-related subjects, including bird identification and biology. The most recent Bird Study Group meeting took place in early December covering winter bird field identification skills in preparation for the 2014 Christmas Bird Count. If you would like to be put on the email list for future Bird Study Group meetings, send an email to email@example.com.
The Ottawa chapter of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) was founded in 2014 by Anouk Hoedeman of the OFNC Birds Committee. This group aims to document bird-building collisions in Ottawa during spring and fall migration, while concurrently raising awareness of collision prevention and bird-friendly building design. For her work, Anouk was awarded the 2014 OFNC Conservation Award. New volunteers to FLAP are always needed. Please contact FLAP at Ottawa@flap.org if you are interested in getting involved this spring.
The Ontario Field Ornithologists’ Convention 2014
In October 2014, the Ontario Field Ornithologists held their annual convention in Ottawa. Many Birds Committee members actively participated in this event, leading field excursions and helping to contribute to the 152 species observed over the weekend. Recently, Birds Committee member Bob Cermak was awarded the OFNC President’s Prize for his contribution to the convention for organizing the OFNC-led field trips.
There are six winter bird feeders in the Ottawa/ Gatineau region that are maintained by the Birds Committee. Maps of the feeder locations can be found on the OFNC website. Stop by to enjoy some winter birds!
If you would like to learn more about the OFNC Birds Committee and their past and present activities, you are encouraged to visit OFNC birding and bird sightings webpages. Membership information on the committee can be found in the April-June issue of Trail and Landscape. Lastly, if you bump into any birds committee members at a meeting or on an outing, feel free to ask about the committee and its activities!
By Natalie Sopinka
With over 30 members in attendance at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre, the 135th OFNC Annual Business Meeting was called to order by President Fenja Brodo.
Some notable sightings were discussed first including a merlin enjoying a feast of pigeon and playful house finches bathing in a divot of ice.
Fondly remembered were Bob Bracken, one of the most formidable birders in Ottawa, Gordon Pringle (Birds Committee), and Violetta Csazak.
Rob Alvo shared his Christmas Bird Count successes during a recent trip to Arizona. For members traveling in the future, he highly recommends checking out Birding Pal to meet up with local birders wherever your destination may be.
The Awards Committee reviewed the 2012 recipients who are featured in the latest issue of The Canadian Field-Naturalist (CFN 127(4)).
The Birds Committee had a busy year working on the new Ottawa-Gatineau birders’ checklist, volunteering countless hours to the 2013 BirdLife International Congress, preparing for the 2014 Ontario Field Ornithologist’s Annual Conference to be held here in Ottawa, and initiating a local chapter of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP).
The Conservation Committee is back in action with Owen Clarkin leading the troops.
Members of the Education and Publicity Committee were thrilled with sales of OFNC merchandise and have launched several new items including a bookmark and a lens wipe.
The Excursions and Lectures Committee was rebranded as the Events Committee. With over 50 events organized in 2013, this year is also sure to be filled with many exciting hikes, workshops, and socials. Stay abreast of upcoming events by visiting the OFNC website.
The Publications Committee was applauded for publishing five issues of CFN in 2013, bringing the journal back on schedule! See another new issue here.
The Macoun Field Club held a number of field trips throughout the area. Read about the adventures of young naturalists here.
As always the Fletcher Wildlife Garden was teeming with activity, from invasive plant removal to soil and social science research.
In light of upcoming changes to the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, a committee has been formed to amend the OFNC Constitution and By-Laws. Once completed, drafts will be published online and in CFN and Trail & Landscape.
The OFNC will be updating its website; let us know what you want and don’t want to see on a new site. Send your thoughts and feedback to Lynn Ovenden (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Meeting minutes will be published in an upcoming issue of CFN. For those members on Twitter, the business meeting was live-tweeted via the OFNC Twitter feed. Follow OFNC on Twitter!