April 23rd – Passing The Torch

I hate to tell you this (and even admit it to myself) but…..aging happens. Yes, it’s true. Life, evidently, is finite. So it’s important to make sure that the things you think are important carry on. Birds are my thing. And I think their study and conservation need to continue well into the future – well beyond my time. With that in mind, we started a group for young people that were interested in bird study and birding. This is paying off big time! Just think of the competence and knowledge of the current “Baggers”. Ben Oldfield just got his banding subpermit. Others will follow. I’m very proud of them all. The future is bright.

The Great Canadian Birdathon is coming up. Our team, the Ruthven Ringers, has always been one of the better ones, especially for a small-scale outfit like ours. But this year, it will be made up entirely of young people – Baggers. I’m excited about that. It’s time for the codgers to step aside and let youth make its mark. The Birdathon is a fun way to raise money for bird conservation and research. Individuals or teams get sponsors (so much per species) and then try to find as many species as they can in a 24-hour period. Our team consistently gets between 140-150 species…a pretty good count. But the new revised team think they will do better and have set their sights on 155 species. Of the funds raised in this way, 75% go to Haldimand Bird Observatory (Ruthven Banding Station) and the other 25% to Bird Studies Canada. We plan to use some of the funds to expand our audio-visual capacity within the banding lab, send
young people on a learning trip to band owls at Hilliardton Marsh with Bruce Murphy, and refurbish equipment (a year of banding certainly takes its toll!).

So please think about sponsoring either the team or an individual within that team (Ethan’s bio gives you some pretty good ideas…). Click here to donate. I’d like to introduce you to the team, so here, in their own words, are the Ruthven Ringers:
First, the captain:

Ben Oldfield, who just earned his banding subpermit, shows he can catch more than just birds.

Hello everyone. My name is Ben Oldfield. Since the age of 11, I have been volunteering at Ruthven , and I participated in my first birdathon at the age of 12. This is my 6th birdathon and I expect fantastic results from the crew of skilled individuals we have on the team this year. Our goal is to see 155 species of birds in one 24-hour period! The birdathon is a key funding factor in the conservation of birds across Canada and 75% of the funds we raise will go towards Haldimand Bird Observatory. I can’t wait for May 20th to arrive!! Shortly after I will write a summary of our day. Thank you in advance for donations. The birds will appreciate it!

Birder, actor, artist, photographer…..Ezra Campanelli.

Ezra Campanelli:I have been birding since I was a wee child with a pre-pubescent voice as shrill as the song of a White-throated Sparrow. I have volunteered at the Ruthven Park Banding Station since age seven. I want you to know, dear readers, that my motives for coming to Ruthven do not lie solely in the tasty treats that are so often present in the banding lab. I would be very grateful for your donations toward habitat restoration and related causes.

Ethan, always hanging around, has been a great addition to the team.

Ethan Gosnell: I’m a long time ringer, but I’ve been a birder for even longer. I’ve wanted to be on this youth birding team for years, but the date of the big day always conflicted with other birding events I’ve had, mainly my trip to Pelee Island and Point Pelee, the birding meccas of Ontario. But this year is different!! I look forward to trying to beat the old Ruthven Ringers big day record , and want to shoot for a goal of 155 species. It’s gonna be hard, but if the weather (and birds) work in our favour, we can do it! Sponsor me or the team in any way you want, you can give a flat donation or be as creative as you want with it. You can donate $1 a species, or $5 for each warbler species we get, or $10 for every bird that starts with a B. It’s completely up to you! Donations will go to the Haldimand Bird Observatory, which will help pay for banding expenses as well as contribute to habitat restoration plans and other goals that Ruthven may have.

Alessandra Wilcox – singer, actor, artist extraordinaire and a woman of few words…..evidently.

Alessandra Wilcox: “The one who draws…..you already know who I am. Please donate!”

Birder, busker, intellectual (self-reportedly)…Giovanni Campanelli

Giovanni Campanelli: Hi, I’m Giovanni, and I’ve been interested in birding for pretty much as long as I can remember. I’ve been going to Ruthven since I was 10, at first mostly just for fun, but before long, I started helping out with volunteering. I’ll be participating in the Great Canadian Birdathon this year and your donations would help with habitat restoration.
(Unless we should raise funds to contribute to purging climate change deniers from society instead).

Sian Ford will bring some experience, if not maturity, to the team.

Sian Ford:My interest in birding began during my undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Through a SCiP internship with the Beaverhill Bird Observatory (BBO) I was able to conduct research on the interspecies breeding competition and successof Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows in nest boxes along the historic Elson Bluebird Trail that spans central Alberta. Following my 2016 move to Hamilton, Ontario to pursue an MSc. in Earth science with collaborative research in astrobiology, I began volunteering at the Ruthven Park Bird Banding Station. In 2018 I joined the Haldimand Bird Observatory Board of Directors to help develop research goals for the banding station. As part of this, participation in the Great Canadian Birdathon – and your donations – will go towards habitat restoration and conservation not only in local habitats, but all across Canada.

Samuel Strachan is a quiet but very effective contributor.

Samuel Strachan: I started banding when I was 13 after I attended a school trip to Ruthven. I have been coming on weekends ever since.

There you have them. Please consider sponsoring one or several or the team as a whole. Click here to donate. It’s an investment in the future. Here’s my strategy: I was thinking that my budget could handle about $1.00 per species; there are 7 team members; so….that works out to 15 cents per species per team mate. Pick a combination that works for you.

And remember that the Haldimand Bird Observatory AGM is this Saturday at 1:00 PM (although we’ll be banding in the morning). We look forward to seeing you there.

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