Ruthven’s For The Birds Festival 2017

Ruthven Park National Historic Site’s annual birding festival returns for another year of high-flying fun and excitement! This all-ages drop-in event will offer something for everyone, and will take place rain or shine. Children’s activities and refreshments will be available throughout the event.

Ruthven is proud to be part of the Haldimand Bird Observatory and is one of 26 sites that make up the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network. This festival is a highly-anticipated celebration of birding activities here each year. The theme for 2017 will be “Ornithology in Canada: Past, Present, and Future.”

The schedule for the day will be as follows:

7:30 am – Ruthven Park’s bird banding station will be open at dawn for “early birds” and the beginning of bird banding for the day.
11:00 am – The Canadian Raptor Conservancy will give an awe-inspiring presentation!
12:00 pm – Bird banding will begin to wrap up.
1:00 pm – A panel of experts will speak on the past, present, and future of birding in Canada.

We are thrilled to announce our expert speakers:

Dr. Robert Montgomerie, Department of Biology, Queen’s University
Much of the early history of ornithology in Canada involved Arctic exploration. Drawing on reports from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, Dr. Montgomerie will tell stories about a half dozen expeditions to the Canadian Arctic that enriched our knowledge of birds and ornithology. Early expeditions searched for minerals and a northwest passage to the orient but often involved naturalists who studied birds along the way. Later expeditions simply wanted to find out where some poorly known species bred or to document the natural histories of uncharted territory where no European had ever traveled. Early naturalists and explorers in the Canadian Arctic often endured unimaginable hardship and tragedy in the pursuit of adventure and knowledge about the world and its wildlife. At the very least we should honour their memory by continuing to protect our natural heritage in the north.
Dr. Montgomerie is Professor and Research Chair in Evolutionary Biology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He has studied birds around the world for more than 50 years, including a 15-year research project on several bird species breeding on the Melville Peninsula, Nunavut. He studies reproductive behaviour, mate choice and plumage colours in birds, but also writes about and conducts research in the history of ornithology. In 2014 he was a coauthor of “Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin,” a highly acclaimed book on the recent history of ornithology, and has written a chapter on the history of ornithology of Nunavut for a forthcoming book on the birds of Nunavut.

Rick Ludkin, Ruthven Park Bander-in-Charge
Rick has been a major driving force behind the success of Ruthven’s birding efforts for over two decades. He has inspired generations of passionate birders and hosts dedicated groups of volunteers throughout the seasons who come not only for the exceptional birding experience at Ruthven, but to benefit from his incredible expertise. Whether his audience is made up of 4, 44, or 94-year-olds, Rick can inspire a love of birds in anyone. On a nearly daily basis during the heavy workload of the spring and fall migratory seasons, during which time birders are banding at Ruthven each morning, he reports the activities of the day on the banding station’s much-enjoyed Nature Blog, Each post always has great anecdotes and beautiful pictures to accompany them. In the off-seasons of summer and winter, Rick still finds ways to be involved in birding, even climbing aboard ocean-trawling ships to study birds at sea as he did this past summer. In his portion of the presentation, Rick will provide an update and overview of recent and current birding activities at Ruthven Park.

Stuart MacKenzie, Bird Studies Canada
Motus (; latin for movement) is a hemispheric wildlife tracking system using automated radio telemetry with a purpose to facilitate landscape-scale research and education on the ecology and conservation of migratory animals. Motus allows researchers to track the movements of radio-tagged birds, bats and insects throughout the land and seascape with amazing precision. Motus is a program of Bird Studies Canada (BSC) in partnership with collaborating researchers and organizations. The current Motus array comprises over 350 stations across the Western Hemisphere operated by more than 150 collaborators that have tagged more than 10,000 animals of more than 100 species. Some of the largest barriers to effective conservation and management of migratory animals is our ability to determine the importance of various landscapes and how they are utilized throughout their annual cycle. Our landscape includes numerous geographic (e.g. Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, Mountains) and anthropogenic features (major urban centers, industrial, utility and transportation infrastructure) that might influence migratory animals use of and movement through the landscape. Gaining a better understanding of these processes will help decision-makers and other stake holders make informed and ecologically sound decisions with regards to wildlife management, policy, and regulation. Join Stuart to learn about the program and discuss some preliminary results.
Stuart has been exploring the natural world since the age of 2. He is currently the Migration Program Manager at Bird Studies Canada overseeing the Motus Wildlife Tracking System and Long Point Bird Observatory. He is the current president of the Ontario Bird Banding Association and Chair of the North American Banding Council.

Mark Your Calendar!

Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017
Time: 7:30am – 3:00pm
Tickets/RSVP: No
Cost: By Donation
Address: 243 Haldimand Highway 54, Cayuga, Ontario, N0A 1E0
Location: Different locations throughout Ruthven Park, with the Bird Banding Station as the main event hub (map available at Ruthven Park entrance)

This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Canadian community foundations, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.