Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Famous Birder Hoots on Owls to MVFN

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Feb. 22, 2002

Famous Birder Hoots on Owls to MVFN

OwlFamous Canadian and International birder Bruce Di Labio brought owls into the lives of over one hundred Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist members, friends and general public who attended the MVFN monthly meeting at the Almonte United Church, Thursday, Feb. 21. Bruce lives in Carp.

Di Labio’s presentation with slides took the audience through habitat descriptions, preferred locations for specific owl species and then the owls themselves, their description and nuances. Using tape recordings and verbal sounds, Bruce introduced each species’ various calls, from the wee sawhet to the large great horned owl. He pointed out the various seasonal times one is most likely to hear these raucous rodent retrievers.

Introduced by MVFN host Joel Byrne, Mr. Di Labio immediately showed that owling is not as easy as it seems. Being largely nocturnal, he noted owls have an uncanny habit of blending into any habitat during the day sleep period, making sighting very difficult and calling for much patience. In several slides used, finding the owl was a real challenge for the viewers even though it was right in front of them.

Looking first around trees for signs of “whitewash” and then for regurgitated owl pellets is the best indicator of an owl’s roosting tree. Bruce extolled the advantages of visiting Amhurst Island west of Kingston to get one of the best views of owls in Eastern Ontario. After numerous questions from the audience members, Di Labio was thanked by the host and presented with a basket of local maple syrup products.

A special presentation was made during the evening to the two main winners of last summer’s MVFN Annual Field Sketch Contest. MVFN Chair of Publications, Publicity and Public Relations Eileen Hennemann presented a nature book and a gift certificate to Mary Beth Lalonde, daughter of Margaret and James Lalonde, for her sketches of a wren family habitat and a common loon and, to Sonja Koster, daughter of Ken and Michaela Koster, for her display of a dragonfly and a painted turtle.

The summer field sketch contest requires children to take their sketch pads into the field, forest and stream to illustrate natural observations. The contest is open to all children in various age categories and is best shared with parents or adult friends.

Ms. Hennemann also announced during the evening, the launching of MVFN’s own Web site. On the site, one can find all news and information about MVFN plus a message board for posting nature news, observations and enquiry’s. The site can be gained by calling up mvfn.ca.

The next MVFN evening programme will be held on Thursday, March 21, at the Almonte United Church. The keynote speaker will be MVFN member and famous broadcaster Ed Lawrence. His topic will be on planting your garden with birds in mind. For more information, contact MVFN Programme Chair Sarah Coulber