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By Kris Dobney, Membership Services Specialist, Birds Canada


A huge thank-you to all of you who’ve done a Great Canadian Birdathon® so far this year, or donated to a Birdathon team. Every contribution helps us make a bigger difference for bird conservation!

We love hearing about why you enjoy being part of the Birdathon. This year, some veteran members of the team “Warbler Hunters” checked in to relate their latest experiences.

Two members of the Warbler Hunters stand beside their vehicles and are clearly enjoying their Birdathon day
Two members of the Warbler Hunters Photo: Kevin Shackleton

Kevin Shackleton shared an exciting account of the birds they encountered in Simcoe County, ON, on their Birdathon day. This included a pair of birds that they had heard reports of, and were particularly hoping to find:

“I could see a couple of small, bright white birds near a female Mallard. Chris scoped them and said I was the man of the hour as they were indeed the elusive (Wilson’s) Phalaropes. Phalaropes flip the male/female thing with the female being larger and more brightly coloured than the male and leaving the male to look after the eggs and young. None of us had ever seen the species in breeding plumage in Ontario.”

While bird highlights are always welcome, we also very much appreciated the reflections of Kevin’s teammate, Arthur Needles:

“I am blessed with four friends that are really good birders … I have been doing this for years but I have to admit that I am not very good at identifying birds. Maybe they tolerate me because I do all the driving and I am a pretty good cook. On a typical outing I will bring deviled eggs, smoked salmon, shrimp, beef tenderloin sandwiches, chips, homemade cookies, fruit and various salads. We certainly don’t go hungry. But I have to stress they are very patient with me and no matter how stupid the question is they are always willing to answer in a very accommodating way … No matter how bad the weather is or how few birds we found there is always a highlight. It might not be a big highlight but something you can remember and talk about later. I feel privileged that I can call these guys my friends and what made it happen was birding.”

We’re grateful that the Warbler Hunters (which this year also included Chris Dunn and John Watson) have made the Birdathon part of their friendship, and for their incredible support for conservation that has resulted over the decades!

Mountain Bluebird Photo: Millie Coleing

Another experienced team who we’ve heard from lately is “The Twillicks,” hailing from Newfoundland. This team includes Catherine Barrett, Alvan Buckley, Megan Boucher, and Vernon Buckle. This year they were also joined by enthusiastic young birder Alexander Merrigan. So great to see a new face welcomed to the Birdathon community!

We also enjoyed hearing about the bird species that Birdathoner Bill Taylor spotted in the Calgary, AB, area – including a beautiful Mountain Bluebird photographed by Millie Coleing, who accompanied Bill on part of the Birdathon.


You still have time to join Birdathon 2021


You can help by pledging your support for these dedicated individuals, or by signing up yourself. Visit the Great Canadian Birdathon page to see who is registered, donate, and sign up!

In 2021, participants are welcome to do their Birdathon at any point during the year. If you take part, please pick a time and place that allows you to stay safe given the COVID-19 situation in your area.

When you sign up, you’ll be eligible to receive the 2021 Birdathon t-shirt featuring the Thick-billed Longspur!

If you do a Great Canadian Birdathon of your own, don’t forget take some photos and share them with us so we can include them in our participant photo album on Facebook! We’d like to see the Birdathon community across Canada represented – including you! Please email me your photos at or share them on social media using hashtag #GreatCanadianBirdathon.

Thank you once again for your support for bird conservation.

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