The Red Deer River Naturalists (RDRN) have a regular monthly general meeting where we have a featured speaker on various naturalist topics. This month we were fortunate to have two speakers share the evening. Chuck and Lisa Priestley came from the BeaverhillBird Observatory.
Chuck spoke first on Special Birding Areas. He explained how this was organized and why it is valuable. There are nine Special Birding Areas in Alberta. They are chosen for sites were large congregations of birds occur at some time of the year. Avid birders can visit the areas and research can be carried out in the area. Volunteers look after these areas.
Lisa Priestley spoke on owls. She started by saying that she thought owls were cute. She gave her bias as to the cuteness of owls and then proceeded to give an interesting and informative talk on Alberta owls. Little is known about owls in Alberta. They set up mist nets at the Beaverhill Bird Observatory and were amazed to catch many owls. These owls were banded. Other banding sites were set up in Alberta and Saskatchewan with amazing findings. Some owls don't stay in Alberta for the winter so they have discovered some information on owl migration. This is the tenth year of banding so they are looking forward to being able to analyze ten years of data. It certainly gave my interest in owls a bit of a charge.
Both of these presentations were well illustrated with excellent photos.
At the end of their talk Chuck Priestley brought in a barred owl. People were absolutely enthralled with this beautiful bird. It was a real treat.
We are fortunate to have people like the Priestleys who are enthusiastic and able to give first class presentations on birds.