Opinion Column

BIRDWATCH: Details about upcoming Owl Prowls and Seedy Sunday this weekend

Ken Hooles

By Ken Hooles, Daily Observer

Getty images 

The Pembroke and Area Field Naturalists are planning two separate events under the Owl Prowl name, the first one on March 4 in search of the Snowy Owl (seen here) and the second on April 1.

Getty images The Pembroke and Area Field Naturalists are planning two separate events under the Owl Prowl name, the first one on March 4 in search of the Snowy Owl (seen here) and the second on April 1.

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One of the first and most popular excursions in the spring that is held by the Pembroke Area Field Naturalists is the Owl Prowl. Similar to last year, the club has decided to host two distinct Owl Prowls: one to search for Snowy Owls, hawks and possible spring birds in the Snake River area and the other to search for Barred and Saw Whet Owls in the Shaw Woods area.

 

Owl Prowl One, the search for Snowy Owls, is to be held on Saturday, March 4, at 6 p.m. Last year, only one Snowy Owl was located and no hawks. However, maybe this year will be like the previous year where five Snowy Owls, two Bald Eagles and several hawks were observed. I know of two Snowy Owls in that area now.

If you are interested in attending this exciting event, please meet your trip co-ordinator, Christian Renault, at the parking lot beside the bridge at the base of Meath Hill on Highway 17, east of Pembroke. Please bring your binoculars, spotting scopes, warm clothes and foo wear. For more information, please feel free to contact Christian at 613-717-3142.

Owl Prowl Two is scheduled for April 1 and more details will be provided at a later date. Please mark the date in your calendar.

The second nature event in the area is the 10th annual Seedy Sunday to be held on Sunday, March 5. This remarkable event is beginning to catch on all across Canada. According to the organizers, “Gardeners, seed savers, seed vendors, local food producers, organic practitioners, and environmental groups come together in a venue where they can learn from one another, exchange ideas and seeds and purchase seeds and plants in a fun social setting.” The goal of this event is to educate and promote local food, more sustainable methods of growing and the preservation and use of heritage, organic and open-pollinated seeds. The event is an excellent opportunity to learn about these and other nature topics. It is also a great opportunity to purchase some seeds and plants for the spring.

The event will be held at the Rankin Culture and Recreational Centre on Highway 41 (just 15 minutes south of Pembroke on Highway 41) between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. There is no cost for attending. Seedy Sunday is a non-profit event operated by volunteers and sponsored by the Eganville and Area Horticultural Society. Any profits are donated to Seeds of Diversity Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of heritage seeds.

One of the highlights of this event includes the sale of heritage, organic, open-pollinated seeds, and plants. Presentations about gardening and other related topics will be offered as well. There will also be an opportunity to meet several seed and food producers and local environmental groups. To add to the fun, there will be door prizes and a silent auction. A hot local lunch will be available provided by Moonlight Crofters Organic Farm and Griffith Farm and Market. For more information, please feel free to contact Tricia Darley at 613-914-5056 or email her at darleytricia@gmail.com.

Elsewhere on the local scene, unless we get more cold and stormy weather, some of our early spring migrants should be arriving over the next two weeks. This should include the odd Red-winged Blackbird, American Robins, American Kestre and Common Grackles. We should also be getting an influx of Dark-eyed Juncos, Horned Larks and possibly more Bohemian Waxwings.

With many rivers and lakes slowly opening in spots, you can expect the arrival of Hooded Mergansers and a few early spring ducks. There are large flocks of Canada Geese now massing along the St. Lawrence River and some of these geese could arrive here as well.

In addition, this is the mating and breeding time for our Barred Owls and raptors, so anticipate that they will become more prevalent around your feeders and more vocal at night. Also, expect to see Crows and Ravens pairing off as they have already started their mating season. For these birds, spring has arrived!

On Feb. 15, Rob Cunningham of Barron Canyon Road spotted a Northern Shrike in his yard surveying his bird feeders. These birds have been quite scarce this winter.

On Feb. 16, John Muff of Chalk River informed me that he had 12 Pine Grosbeaks at his bird feeder. These birds have also been scarce.

Finally, three days later, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Barred Owl sitting in a tree at the side of my house. He was observing my bird feeders and the squirrels in my yard.

Please call me with your bird sightings and feeder reports at 613-735-4430, or email me at hooles@bell.net. For more information on other nature and bird watching events, just Google the Pembroke Area Field Naturalists or like us on Facebook. 



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