Grand Fair & Festival Summer Tour 2017

by Patricia Rosa & Tim Poole

Over the course of the summer, we’ve had the pleasure to attend fairs and festivals near Important Bird Areas all over Manitoba. This gave us the opportunity to promote Manitoba’s IBAs, but also to discuss some of Nature Manitoba’s other programs with local communities, including grassland bird and Chimney Swift initiatives.

These events also gave us insight into pertinent observations made in these areas, hear out concerns regarding particular issues affecting local landowners, and sometimes simply allow us to help identify birds seen in backyards or explain peculiar bird behaviours.

We would like to say a special thanks to the individuals that facilitated our participation and graciously welcomed us to join in on the fun at these events!

Our first port of call was the La Riviere Raptor Festival. Tim made his now annual trip down to the Pembina Valley to this event celebrating the wonderful raptor migration each year. The festival is organised by Evelyn Janzen and Paul Goosen and the folks at A Rocha Pembina Valley. Unfortunately the day was beset by poor weather but many still came to see a Bald Eagle being released from rehab and various talks from our very own Christian Artuso.

Kris Antonius and Mike Berg from DIY Homesteaders not only extended a complimentary market table to connect with fest-goers, but also gave Tim the opportunity to do a birding/IBA workshop for a great group of kids in the DIY Kids’ Area. Unfortunately the original intention was to take the kids on a walk around the festival grounds where Barn Swallows swooped, catbirds meewed, and warblers, well warbled, but Mother Nature was not in the mood for cooperating. Instead the kids got to see a Chimney Swift nest, play a game of guess the singer and learn about what makes birds so great. The attendees were mainly small landowners, knowledgeable and interested to hear about our programs.

Nicole Kyle from Turtle Mountain (Boissevain) Fair facilitated our participation to this event. I had a great view of the rink! As an added bonus, there were Horned Lark singing and flying around all day.


Turtle Mountain (Boissevain) Fair: Ponies, Clydesdales, and birds ©Patricia Rosa

Sabrina Dean coordinated our involvement at the Oak Lake Fair. The fair kicked off with a parade through the town. Although they had a bit of a scare the previous evening due to strong winds and weather warnings, it was a beautiful day and fair attendees were eager to chat with me about birds!


Oak Lake Fair kicks off with a parade ©Patricia Rosa

Dale McKay from Portage La Prairie Potato Festival welcomed us to join in on the festivities! I had the best seat in the house and got to connect with many bird-wise spud-thusiasts.


View from the booth at PotatoFest ©Patricia Rosa

Thanks again to all of these amazing people and we cannot wait for next year’s Grand Fair & Festival Summer Tour!