As the days of Spring move along new migrant birds are arriving from the south to start a new generation for the year. The colder weather has slowed down the migration a bit but soon it will be busy as the temperature rises and the bugs come out to breed as well. These migratory birds pick a variety of areas in Ontario and farther north to breed depending on the particular species but many travel through this area to get to their breeding grounds. The Huron Fringe Birding Festival has celebrated these birds for many years by organizing the festival to run during the last weekend in May and the first weekend in June. This event gives birders a chance to enjoy seeing the birds on organized hikes and renewing friendships made during previous years.
Due to the devastating arrival of the Covid-19 virus last year, the festival had to be cancelled but, this year ,it was decided to do something just a bit different rather than cancel the event totally.
This year, we have planned some virtual events for people to enjoy on the same days that the festival would have originally run. These events will run in the evenings so people can be out in the daylight hours to enjoy seeing and hearing the birds as they work their way through the Bruce and Grey County areas. The added benefit of the virtual programs means that no matter where you are in the world you can enjoy birding in your area and still tune in to hear the knowledgeable speakers that we have lined up to present on a variety of topics. Here is an overview of the festival with dates and presentations.
Registration is still required for the events as outlined in the previous photo and here is the website to register to enjoy one or all these presentations by well known and knowledgeable presenters.
Hopefully, by 2022, we will again be able to offer in-person hikes and enjoy the days exploring the many natural areas of Bruce and Grey Counties as we enjoy the migratory birds. We will work towards that goal keeping in mind that safety and the health of our participants are the most important components of our festival. So, come join us this year online and in the coming years in person to be a part of this long running festival to Celebrate Birds.
This is also the time of year we find out who is the recipient of the Norah Toth Award. This award is presented annually to someone who has made a significant difference in Bruce or Grey Counties either through the Huron Fringe Birding Festival or due to their involvement in other local nature activities. The award was set up by the Festival Committee to honour Norah’s contributions to MacGregor Point Provincial Park and in particular to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival. Norah has been a leading figure in maintaining and building the festival since its beginning over 23 years ago.
This year, the recipient of the award is John Cummings who, in his own words, has been birding and interested in nature since he was “knee high to a grasshopper”. He was brought up in a family that was involved in naturalist organizations and continued with this association when moving to this area. He assisted as an at-laser with the second edition of the Breeding Bird Atlas of Ontario and participated in many of the Christmas Bird Counts in the Kincardine, Walkerton, and Saugeen Shores areas. He attended his first Huron Fringe Birding Festival in 2003 and being a birder and very social person became hooked on this wonderful event. It also helped that he was the winner that year of the 24-hour birding challenge the festival organized . He was on the festival committee for several years and helped organize and grow the festival over his years on the committee. Many of his ideas and organizational elements brought forward when he was the chair of the committee are still used today. He was also on the board of the Friends of MacGregor Point Park from 2006 to 2014 and assisted with projects both physically and organizationally during that time.
John has been part of the Bruce Birding Club for many years and has also hosted outings from his home. He can strike up a conversation about birding or just about any other topic both with birding friends and others who stop to chat. He continues to enjoy birding and gets out whenever he can to assist with keeping nature as natural as possible. As a very worthy person of this award, we hope to see John out to more of the festival and birding club outings once things get back to a more normal post-Covid time.
It will not be long until the Festival-Lite this year begins so if you would like to enjoy some interesting presentations as well as going out to see, photograph or just enjoy the birds and nature as Spring brings the the area to life again so, log in and register for some of the wonderful evening presentations.