Woodridge Bird Walk

On Saturday, June 11th, Amanda and I ventured down to Woodridge Manitoba, where members of the community and surrounding area joined us for an intro birding session and community bird walk.

We arrived in the community in the early morning and set up in the local community center. Our presentation and bird walk was the first of five workshops in the community as part of their “Birds of a Feather Flock together” workshops series focusing on birding and the outdoors as a way to improve mental health and bring the community together. We handed out some identification resources as everyone got settled. And of course, what would a presentation be without some technical difficulties! After that was sorted, I walked the group through various bird identification methods and the various bird groups found in Manitoba. I was pleased that the group had plenty of really great questions afterwards.

Once our presentation portion was complete, we handed out binoculars, zipped up into our mosquito suits and left the community center to begin our bird walk. As Amanda demonstrated how to successfully use binoculars, we spotted our first birds of the walk – a Tree Swallow and male House Sparrow. Our path took us through a part of the community down to a little wooded path. The group was able to test out their new knowledge when we heard a Red-eyed Vireo sing its “Where are you? Here I am.” call. Much to our frustration the Vireo was well hidden amongst the fresh leaves.

A Red-eyed Vireo – unfortunately we never ended up seeing this guy on our walk – we certainly heard its song though! Photo by Adam Zahm, allaboutbirds.org.

Other birds we encountered on the way were a Barn Swallow, Chipping Sparrow, an American Robin and an American Crow. We also heard the “squeaky wheel” sound of a Black and White Warbler. Our group members informed us along the way that they had several species of Orioles in the community this year, and in particularly large numbers. There is also usually a local group of Wild Turkeys that we didn’t end up seeing on our day out. Our day wrapped up around noon and we headed back to the community center.

A Baltimore Oriole. While we didn’t see any on our walk, earlier in the spring there were many coming to bird feeders in the Woodridge area. Photo by Fernando Bergalin Sequeria, allaboutbirds.org.

A big thank you to Corey, who reached out to us to make the event happen and to everyone who came out and for your interest in local birds!

-Ariel Desrochers

New Job Opportunity – Manitoba IBA and Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative Coordinator

The Manitoba Important Bird Area (IBA) Caretaker Program and Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI) are seeking a full-time coordinator to run these programs in Manitoba, with the assistance of two volunteer steering committees. The successful candidate will work 3 days/week on the IBA Program and 2 days/week on the MCSI.  The successful candidate will be responsible for delivering multiple grants for the Manitoba Important Bird Areas Program and the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative.

Job Description

The position is currently funded fully up to March 31st 2023, and part-time from April 1st 2023, with actual days worked being flexible depending on the candidate’s availability and work requirements. The exact start date is negotiable, preferably by August 2nd 2022. It is envisioned that the successful candidate will work from Nature Manitoba’s Winnipeg office; however, other locations may be acceptable to suit the successful candidate’s preference. Travel to various Manitoba locations will be involved. The position will require field work and the successful candidate may need to stay overnight in rural Manitoba.

We seek a dynamic individual who can engage a variety of audiences and rally support for the projects from different sectors. The successful candidate will:

  • Work independently, but with input from both committees, to continue the development and promotion of province-wide programs
  • Write funding proposals and seek opportunities to expand the programs
  • Be skilled at giving presentations, recruiting volunteers, and organizing events
  • Organize volunteer events, including habitat stewardship work parties and volunteer monitoring blitzes
  • Engage with diverse community groups to deliver stewardship and monitoring, including beef producers, landowners, First Nations, birders and building owners
  • Deliver monitoring for various groups of birds including shorebirds, grassland birds and aerial insectivores
  • Train and coordinate volunteers in avian monitoring techniques
  • Be able to use the IBA monitoring protocol (eBird) and technical tools and to explain their usage to volunteers
  • Be able to manage a database of Chimney Swift records and coordinate contributions to national monitoring programs
  • Create and manage partnerships with governmental and non-governmental organisations
  • Maintain the website http://importantbirdareasmb.ca, social media accounts and provide content to the volunteer webmaster for the MCSI website
  • Manage two separate budgets, subcontracts and summer staff
  • Represent the programs at meetings or conferences as required
  • Coordinate the two programs and be accountable to two Steering Committees as required

Compensation: $22.50/hr starting salary with the possibility of increased hours and pay dependent on performance review.

Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated oral and written communications skills
  • Demonstrated knowledge of natural history and conservation (although a degree in biological or ecological sciences is not required, this program will benefit from someone who can speak with confidence and authority on the conservation issues pertinent to IBAs and Chimney Swifts)
  • Familiarity with Manitoba’s avifauna, experience in conservation programming, experience in working with community organizations and/or NGOs, fundraising experience, and bilingualism, are strong assets
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate and negotiate with different groups of people to deliver and negotiate stewardship for Species at Risk
  • Demonstrated avian monitoring skills
  • Basic computer familiarity, especially with Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook). Familiarity with Adobe or other photo-editing software an asset
  • Valid driver’s license (own vehicle preferred or ability to rent a vehicle)

Apply To:

Please send (electronically in .doc or.pdf format) a résumé and cover letter with the names of three referees to Christian Artuso at chartuso@gmail.com.

Deadline: July 3rd, 2022, 11:00 PM Central time.

Click here to download a .pdf of the job posting

Oak Hammock Marsh Shorebird Walk

On Saturday May 28th, Manitoba IBA led two shorebird walks at Oak Hammock Marsh. Starting at 8 am and then 10 am, we wandered the soaked marsh paths and while shorebirds were mostly small in numbers, we did have a few surprises from the day!

Monitoring at the Shorebird Scrape. Photo by Ariel Desrochers.

We met our first group just before 8am in the parking lot of the Harry J. Enns Interpretive Centre. Unfortunately, our coordinator Amanda, who would normally lead a walk such as this, was stuck at home recovering from Covid-19. However, we were lucky enough to have Bonnie Chartier with us! She is a experienced birder, IBA Steering Committe member, International Shorebird Survey volunteer and tour guide and was so was beyond perfect for the job. I (Ariel) was also there to assist. Before we set off, we spoke to Paula, Oak Hammock Marsh’s Resident Naturalist, who informed us of the high water levels, which was not surprising in the least.

Our first group included experienced birders and a young birder and her mom, their first birding outing! Our first stop was the Shorebird Scrape where we saw various duck species, including Northern Shoveler and Redheads, and were surrounded by swooping swallows. The majority were Tree Swallows but also spotted were Bank, Cliff, Barn and Northern Rough Winged Swallows. This is where we spotted two shorebird species, a Marbled Godwit and a Spotted Sandpiper. After monitoring that area for a while we set off towards Willow trail. Along the way we listened for sparrows and warblers. We were drawn by the calls of a few Sora, but never saw them. We only had a hour and a half for our walk so eventually we turned around and headed back. Just before the parking lot, a handful of the group noticed a number of birds flying in a “V” formation above, followed by many separate groups of the same bird. It was determined that they were Black-bellied Plover!

Our second group started out at 10 am and headed down Blackbird trail. By this time the wind had picked up significantly but we were still able to hear quite a bit of bird noise. Bonnie pointed out the call of a Least Bittern that was across the Marsh, and several Sora were also heard. A group of trees contained swallows, a Magnolia Warbler, a Wilson’s Warbler and a Common Yellowthroat, which was a first for me! We took our time on Blackbird trail and rounded out the walk by heading back on the boardwalk.

Northern Shoveler. Photo by Ariel Desrochers.
Killdeer. Photo by Ariel Desrochers.

Overall, due to the water high water levels, few shorebirds were spotted but there was still plenty to be seen. A big thanks to everyone who came out and to Bonnie Chartier for leading the day! The full checklist of species for each walk can be found below:

Counts for 8:00 am walk:

Species Count
Canada Goose13
Trumpeter Swan2
Blue Winged Teal 8
Northern Shoveler9
Mallard 3
Canvasback 1
Redhead 8
Lesser Scaup 2
Sora4
Black Bellied Plover300
Killdeer4
Marbled Godwit1
Spotted Sandpiper1
Black Tern6
Least Bittern1
Northern Harrier1
Bald Eagle 1
American Kestrel1
Common Raven 2
Northern Rough-Winged Swallow3
Purple Martin 6
Tree Swallow40
Bank Swallow3
Barn Swallow2
Cliff Swallow3
Sedge wren 2
Gray Catbird2
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow2
Song Sparrow2
Swamp Sparrow4
Yellow Headed Blackbird12
Western Meadowlark1
Red Winged Blackbird8
Brown-headed Cowbird1
Common Grackle 3
Common Yellowthroat1
Yellow Warbler 1
Wilson’s Warbler 1

Counts for 10:00 am walk:

SpeciesCount
Canada Goose3
Blue-winged Teal 1
Northern Shoveler 1
Redhead2
Lesser Scaup2
Sora4
American Coot2
Black Tern2
American White Pelican 1
Least Bittern1
Great Blue Heron3
Eastern Kingbird1
Common Raven 1
Purple Martin 15
Tree Swallow6
Bank Swallow1
Barn Swallow1
Marsh Wren 2
Clay-colored Sparrow1
Song Sparrow1
Swamp Sparrow1
Yellow-headed Blackbird2
Red-winged Blackbird Present
Common Grackle 10
Common Yellowthroat 5
American Redstart 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 3
Wilson’s Warbler 1

-Ariel Desrochers