Third Annual Birds on the Niagara Festival is Coming to Us this Valentine Day Weekend – February 12th to 14th, 2021
For More Details On How You Can Enjoy this Unique Festival and Celebration of Nature in our shared Niagara River Corridor, Please Read On
A Brief Note from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, including Key Information and Details for Attending this International Niagara Bird Festival – Virtually – from some of its Hosts and Supporters
Posted February 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
Once upon a time – back in 1996 when there were still enough political and citizen leaders on both sides of the Niagara River to make such a magical thing happened – leaders from both sides came together in Niagara Falls, Ontario to celebrate the signing of an international Ramsar agreement, declaring the Niagara River a “sanctuary of global importance” for an amazing diversity of native and migratory birds.
This reporter – then still covering environment stories full-time for the once-proud and independently owned St. Catharines Standard – was honoured to be there to cover this binational ceremony.
It was, I am sad to say, a binational meeting of lovers of the natural wonders of this great river that might never happen any time soon, due to such a lack of interest and will on the part of too many political representatives on the Niagara, Ontario side of the river – political representatives that have turned the agenda on the Niagara, Ontario side over to predatory developers.
Yet the warm glow of that 1996 celebration has not been lost.
And thanks to a coalition of caring partners on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, it still finds itself glowing again in a Third Annual Festival of Birds on the Niagara River, scheduled for this coming Valentine Day Weekend , from Friday February 12th thru Sunday, February14th.
This year’s festival – which you can enjoy online – will feature a number of knowledgeable speakers who will also speak to the need for conserving our natural areas and planning our urban communities in ways that are more friendly for protecting and preserving birds and other wildlife.
Marcie Jacklin, a Fort Erie, Ontario resident who is a long-time conservationist, bird expert-extraordinaire and is Co-Chair on the Canadian side for the Birds on the Niagara International Festival, had this to say about the festival –
“This Valentine’s Day weekend, birders from Canada and the U.S. will gather virtually in celebration of the extraordinary winter birds that call the Niagara River Corridor home.
“The ‘3rd Annual Birds on the Niagara <http://www.birdsontheniagara.org/>’ (BON21) will take place from February 12 to 14 and school groups, families, and experienced and novice birders alike are welcome to join the virtual celebration. …
”They can look forward to a remarkable line-up of speakers and presentations, varying in topics and themes and guaranteed to captivate audiences of all ages.
“We have a great line up of speakers from the Canadian side, including Justin Peter who will be giving us an introduction to gulls!
“Did you know that more gull species have been found on the Niagara River than any other place on earth? …
“Jay Burney, US Chair of Birds on the Niagara and Marcie will be giving a talk on conserving critical places in the Niagara region using Buffalo’s outer harbour and Waverly Woods in Fort Erie as examples.”
To Watch a great news report that Buffalo, New York’s Channel Two network broadcast of the Bird Festival this past Sunday, February 7th, click on the screen immediately below –
Now here is a recent News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority on the festival –
BIRDS ON THE NIAGARA, BI-NATIONAL CELEBRATION OF WINTER BIRDS
This Valentine’s Day weekend, birders from Canada and the U.S. will gather virtually in celebration of the extraordinary winter birds that call the Niagara River Corridor home.
The ‘3rd Annual Birds on the Niagara’ (BON21) will take place from February 12 to 14 and school groups, families, and experienced and novice birders alike are welcome to join the virtual celebration. They can look forward to a remarkable line-up of speakers and presentations, varying in topics and themes and guaranteed to captivate audiences of all ages.
“The Niagara Region is a bird wonderland to behold during the winter months. Vast populations of northern birds, including ducks and geese, gulls and terns, and other visitors from the North, find food and shelter here, in the open waters connecting Lake Erie and Lake Ontario,” says Kerry Kennedy, Co-Chair of BON21 Canada and member of Niagara Falls Nature Club. “Up to 40 species of waterfowl, including Tundra Swans, Buffleheads, Long-tailed, Redheads, and Canvasbacks, and 19 species of gulls, including Bonaparte’s and a variety of rare species can be spotted.”
For generations, winter birds have attracted scientists and bird watchers from across the globe, as Niagara Falls, the Niagara River, and its corridor are some of the world’s most bio diverse places. Comparable to the Galapagos Islands, the Florida Everglades, and Yellowstone Park, the Niagara River Corridor is a Globally Significant Important Bird Area. With the U.S. shore now a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance, and a parallel Canadian effort underway, BON21 will showcase the beauty and importance of the area, with the hopes of it one day becoming the prominent winter destination for Eco tourists and adventure travelers.
“This is the only international bird festival in North America, and it takes place in the winter, near Niagara Falls, because of the abundance of birds here,” adds Jay Burney, Co-Chair of BON21 U.S. “The number of birds that migrate to the river near the Falls is a tremendous ecotourism attraction. This year’s virtual event will allow birders and adventure tourists from across the globe to experience an international birding event.”
With an impressive and diverse programming schedule, BON21 will kick off on Friday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. with a Meet and Greet and Silent Auction in support of Buffalo Audubon and Birds on the Niagara. The evening will continue with a virtual Owl Prowl and a presentation on the reasons and approaches for taking a closer look at the gulls of Niagara, by Toronto speaker, Justin Peter of Quest Nature Tours.
Saturday’s programming will include a session on “Virtual Family Winter Birding” at 2 p.m., hosted by TIFFT Nature Preserve. It will be followed by a presentation titled “Globally Significant Important Bird Area and the Ramsar Wetland of International Significance” by Jay and Jajean Burney. This exciting day filled with learning opportunities will close with keynote speaker and author, Dr. J. Drew Lanham. A Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University, Dr. Lanham will focus on songbirds’ ecology and the intersections of race, place, and conservation with wild birds as the conduit for understanding.
“Additional programming throughout the weekend, especially Sunday, will focus on specific critical conservation needs in the International Niagara River Corridor, ethical nature photography, great locations to see birds in Niagara, and includes programs by partner nature clubs and wildlife organizations on both sides of the border,” says Marcie Jacklin, Co-Chair of BON21 Canada and member of Bert Miller Nature Club. “With the number of winter birds declining every year, celebrating and learning about them, and the role that we can all play in their conservation and protection, is now more important than ever.”
Valentine’s Day weekend is always ideal for this annual celebration. Not only are many of the birds in spectacular breeding plumage, but it is a great time to get outdoors to enjoy the abundant nature and the beauty of winter season. With the health and safety of all a priority, this year’s event will be delivered virtually, at no cost, and participants are encouraged to join from home.
All programs will be delivered online through www.birdsontheniagara.org and Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/3886358561457475 and www.facebook.com/Birds-on-the-Niagara-101717414535153.
While the celebration takes place February 12-14, several activities, and opportunities for guests to engage online, participate in contests, and discuss topics of interest will be offered on Facebook leading up to the weekend.
To learn more about the Annual Birds on the Niagara International Celebration of Winter Birds, visit www.birdsontheniagara.org. Follow Facebook page and event above for frequent updates.
About Birds on the Niagara – Birds on the Niagara is an international partnership of organizations, agencies and individuals, dedicated to promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Niagara River Globally Significant Important Bird Area and the Ramsar Wetlands of International Significance, also known as the Niagara River Strait. They celebrate the magnificent winter presence of birds and the nature that sustains them, and endeavour to explore and activate conservation strategies to support them.
Canadian participation began in 2018 and the annual celebration continues to grow, from what were once a single outing location and two nature clubs in the first year. In its second year, the celebration saw multiple walks and a busy open house hosted by Niagara Parks, and now in 2021, seven Canadian organizations are now involved in a large, fully virtual event with limitless potential and reach.
More about Marcie Jacklin – Marcie Jacklin is a Co-chair on the Canadian side for the Third annual Birds on the Niagara International Bird Festival. Marcie has been birding for more than 30 years in Niagara and has visited 12 other countries. She is a member of the Bert Miller Nature Club in Fort Erie, the Ontario Field Naturalists and the Buffalo Ornithological Society. She is also President of the Community Voices of Fort Erie which was organized to appeal the development proposed at Waverly Woods in Fort Erie.
Now here are key links that offer more information on this Festival of the Birds on the Niagara River, and how you can attend. You may find that some of the links are redundant, but that is in the spirit of making sure you get the information you need to find out more and hopefully engage in this great event –
All programs will be delivered online through http://www.birdsontheniagara.org<http://www.birdsontheniagara.org/> and Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/3886358561457475<http://www.facebook.com/events/3886358561457475> and www.facebook.com/Birds-on-the-Niagara-101717414535153<http://www.facebook.com/Birds-on-the-Niagara-101717414535153> .
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