Birds of a feather flock together at Sioux Lookout Bird Walk
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
Area residents and out of town visitors had an opportunity to explore the large, and diverse, bird population of Sioux Lookout last Saturday and make new friends along the way.
Organized by Merle and Edith Burkholder, Barbara Roche, Deb Carter, Dick MacKenzie, and Florence Woolner, 45 participants took part in the Sioux Lookout Bird Walk.
Participants split into three groups to explore Superior Junction, Cedar Bay, and the Travel Information Centre area. Groups rotated from location to location, spending about an hour at each place.
Roche explained she regularly attends Dorion’s Canyon Country Birding Festival, which was held for the 10th and final year May 26 and 27.
“Every time I’ve run into Edith and I thought we should do something here,” Roche explained.
A member of the Sioux Lookout Bird Watchers Facebook group, Roche explained, “My motivation was to meet these people because I’m seeing all these names of Sioux Lookouters I don’t know who are obviously bird enthusiasts.”
By the end of the event, at least 54 species of birds had been identified by sight or sound by participants and guides.
“I can tell you the first year I got halfway serious about recording birds that I identified it was all visual. I didn’t realize you could use audio, your hearing,” MacKenzie shared. “When we started, I questioned whether there were 50 birds in our area to see. I sat down and wrote a list before I started; here are the ones I can remember having seen that I knew what they were. I got to 25 pretty quickly and I was struggling to get to about 33 and that’s about as far as I could get. I didn’t even have warbler on the list. I think when I was a boy in Vermont, I think I saw a warbler… it turns out there’s about 20 different kinds of warblers here. The whole first year my list of birds that I identified came to 64. We saw 54 in a single day here today… That’s only a small number of what’s here.”
Organizers said they received excellent feedback from participants.
Participants came from Thunder Bay, Dryden, Eagle River, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, and Hudson.
Darlene Salter of Dryden is a regular bird watcher.
She said it was great to gather together and meet a group of people who enjoy the activity.
Sharon Yule of Sioux Lookout commented, “When we travel, we enjoy going birding. We get a lot of birds in our yard, so it’s just a general interest.”
Commenting on the bird walk she shared, “I think it was very good. I think the group leaders were very knowledgeable.”
Charron Sippola, another Sioux Lookout resident stated, “This wasn’t my first time. I’d been on a bird walk a couple of years ago… I thought this sounded really neat… It was fun. Meeting new people, it was good.”
Merle Burkholder added he’d spoken with another participant who regularly attended the Dorion festival, “She was saying this was even better because in addition to seeing birds we saw moose, we saw a bear.”
Roche said it was amazing how quickly the event filled up; within days.
“If you ever wanted to have a bigger event, I don’t think there would be any problem getting more people,” she concluded.