Members of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) were at Shire Hall last week to talk about some of the activities planned for this year.
Cheryl Anderson thanked councillors during last Thursday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting for the municipal grant that allowed PEPtBO to publish the 2018 edition of “Nature Matters!” The booklet showcases a variety of public events hosted by local groups in celebration of nature.
“Nature Matters presents a whole season of outdoor public events held by local groups to help celebrate, appreciate, and protect the fascinating natural places at, and nearby, the county’s south shore,” Anderson said.
The south shore is designated a globally significant Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and sees millions of birds and thousands of monarch butterflies migrate through it each year.
“The area is home to unique communities of plants and animals, the night skies blaze with stars,” said Anderson. “The events described in Nature Matters offer opportunities for young and old to visit, learn about, and share in the natural beauty of the south shore.”
The bird observatory’s 2018 Spring Birding Festival runs from May 12–21. That kicks off with World Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, May 12. On that day, starting at 10 a.m. the observatory will be hosting Swallow Day, a free family event that will begin with crafts and games led by educator Cheryl Chapman.
“The bird observatory is home to breeding cliff swallows, tree swallows, barn swallows, rough winged swallows, and purple martins,” said Anderson. “In 2017 we erected an alternate barn swallow nesting structure with the help of the woodworking students of PECI.”
That will be followed at noon with a presentation from local birder and naturalist Terry Sprague.
“Terry Sprague will tell us all about these amazing insect eaters,” she said.
The festival will include a selection of guided birding hikes and hikes throughout the county led by members of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. Birders and naturalists of all abilities are encouraged to join the hikes and more information can be found at www.peptbo.ca.
The field naturalists, the bird observatory, and the Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust will present the 2018 BioBlitz June 9–10.
Anderson also noted PEPtBO’s NatureHood program invites classes from local and regional elementary and secondary schools to visit the site. Students can hear programs geared to curriculum topics and teachers are encouraged to contact the bird observatory to find out more about visiting. Anderson said transportation stipends are available.
Lastly, she said regular monitoring of migration continues.
“The data we collect has been valuable in determining avian population changes and migration patterns,” she said. “Because of the work of the bird observatory we know about the amazing quantity and variety of birds that visit Prince Edward County every year.”
Councillor Steve Ferguson congratulated the bird observatory on the booklet, noting it takes a lot of work from volunteers to put it together.
“It’s a terrific guide for tourists and residents alike,” he said.
The booklet is available for free at locations around the county and a digital version is available online at www.peptbo.ca under the events tab.