Bird Observatories are NOT government funded (this is confusing to some visitors to Ruthven as the title “National Historic Site” conjures up this funding notion). We are dependent on the financial generosity of others as well as the donation of their time and energy (and baked goods). Here’s one figure to keep in mind and gives you the picture: one 12-meter mist net costs about $125; we run 19 nets in the Spring and 21 in the Fall. We are lucky if a mist net survives one full year due to UV damage, errant deer, damage by predators. And then there are specialized pieces of equipment; for instance, a sound system that we use for owling costs around $400; the MOTUS tower for radio-tracking marked birds was a shared project between ourselves (HBO) and Ruthven Park and cost $6,000 ($3,000 apiece).
There are a number of ways for us to generate support funding: memberships in HBO – they are cheap but provide a level of base funding; donations in the donation box inside the banding lab (many people have contributed in this way and we’re very thankful as ALL our bird seed purchases, for example, are bought through these funds); and by supporting our team in the Great Canadian Birdathon – the Ruthven Ringers!
The birdathon raises money country-wide to support research about birds. Funds raised by the ‘Ringers’ is split 75/25: 75% of the funds raised go directly to HBO; the other 25% goes to Bird Studies Canada to further their array of projects.
Below is our team. You will notice our emphasis on youth. This is probably one of the premier groups of young birders in the country and they deserve your support for that alone.
Hello everyone, my name is Ben Oldfield. I attend the University of Guelph studying criminology, I have interests in Football, Hockey, fishing and of course birds! 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 7th birdathon and I look forward to leading a skilled crew of individuals that we have on the team this year. Our goal is to see 155 species of bird in one 24 hour period! The birdathon is a key funding factor into the conservation of birds across Canada and 75% of the funds 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 for the blog. Thank you in advance for donations, the birds will appreciate it!
Hi, I’m Alessandra Wilcox. I’ve been volunteering at Ruthven since I was 15, and this park and the people have been a huge part of my life ever since. I always had an interest in birds and knew I wanted to continue developing this passion. When I first started banding in October of 2015 I was just discovering hermit thrushes, and now I am participating in my fourth Canadian Birdathon with this team. I am now just finishing up my first year at the University of Guelph studying wildlife biology and conservation. My passions also include art, and Rick was kind enough to allow me and Ezra Campanelli (but mostly me ;D) to design the the logo for the banding station. For this Birdathon our goal is to raise money so that the education at Ruthven can continue and improve so that other kids can learn about the wonder of birds and experience the same personal growth as I did. Please consider donating!
Hi, my name is Ethan Gosnell, and I’m a grade 11 student from Kitchener. I’ve been interested in birds for a long time, but Ruthven is where my interest was turned into an obsession, and every time I come and do census or help out with banding, I get a little bit better and more interested in birds. This is only my second birdathon on the Ruthven Ringers team, but I think we’ll do great, and will aim to see upwards of 150 species, the previous record being 155 I believe. This fundraiser is a big part of bird conservation in Canada, and all of the funds you donate will help birds in some way or another, with majority of it going to the Haldimand Bird Observatory and Ruthven itself! I look forward to our day, it’s coming up quick.
Thank you for your donations in advance!
Hi! My name is Ezra Campanelli. Though you probably could not tell from birding with me in the field, I have been birdwatching since I was around five. Fast forward fourteen years, and I have around eleven years of Ruthven volunteering under my belt, both in the capacity of a banding assistant and photographer. I helped design the current logo for the Haldimand Bird Observatory with another member of our team, Alessandra Wilcox. I am a recipient of the Ross Thompson Trophy (now called the Robert Curry Trophy) for most species seen in the HSA in a year by a person under the age of eighteen. Most notably, you can see my horrifying visage adorning the wall of the Ruthven banding lab in the volunteer photo gallery, complete with stuffed Scarlet Tanager toy. This will be my third Ruthven Ringers Great Canadian Birdathon. Ambitious birding excursions like this are, in my experience, even more rewarding than they are challenging. They teach me so much and enhance my affinity for birds and nature in general. These species need our help, so please consider donating!
My name is Nathan Hood, and I’m an 18-year old avid birder that has been birding for around seven years. Ever since my dad took me to Point Pelee one day in May when I was 12, I was instantly hooked, and this passion has only grown over the years. I’m currently in my first year of Geological Engineering at the University of Waterloo, but still try to get out birding as much as I can. Each year I’ve tried taking birding to the next level. This year I’m attempting a Waterloo County big year, which so far has been a fun, exciting way to explore the bird life of the county I grew up in.
[Remember, you can support the team as a whole or individuals within that team.]
You can drop your support off at the banding lab – I will be sure to see it gets in and that you get a tax receipt.