One cannot produce a collection of material such as this in a void. Realization comes quickly that many other people have been involved over a long period of time. My initial interest in birds was spurred on through sibling rivalry with my dear brother, Wayne. He taught me the virtues of recording sightings and learning as much as possible about an area prior to birding there, as well as the requisite caution in identification. He insisted on using only the scientific names when we birded together in the field way back when. And it was he who introduced me to the magical dream-world of bird finding guides. Pouring over them, and the anticipation engendered thereby, is almost half the fun (maybe more) of any birding trip.
Through more than 40 years of birding, I have used many site guides. The ABA/Lane Guides, in particular, have set standards for others to meet. I have tried to use what I found useful and avoid the pitfalls occasionally run into by others; keeping in mind the idiosyncrasies of the local area. No doubt there will be shortcomings, and quite possibly, some outright errors. All these are my own responsibility.
Some of my first birding trips were short jaunts to Brier Island with my brother Wayne. The search for lifers was on.
During the seventies, my birding partner was Helen McGloin, with whom I shared many adventures, often with her daughter Darcy, including a monumental cross-Canada trip which lasted two and a half months and a two year stay in beautiful British Columbia.
During the early eighties, my enthusiasm for birding was kept at fever pitch by virtue of a close friendship with Peter MacLeod. Peter began to get very serious about birding when I met him in 1981. He rose to the challenge with a fervency that he has never lost. We had many memorable birding trips together. He has since gone on to compile the highest lifelist and yearlist of any birder for Nova Scotia, add several birds to the provincial checklist, and head a tour company, MacLeod Bird and Nature Travel Tours.
When I moved to the Ottawa area in 1984 to work on Radarsat, I was fortunate to meet Gordon Pringle. Gordon needed a driver and I needed a car, so we embarked on a mutually beneficial birding relationship. Gordon introduced me to many of the sites covered in this book. He also introduced me to many of the local birding aficionados, many of whom deserve thanks for information over the years. Gordon was also instrumental in getting me started on a eight year stint as the operator of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club's bird status line. This volunteer job provided me with a front row seat for the local birding scene and served as introduction to many of the players. It was another symbiotic relationship. Some of the birders I most often received information from in this capacity, and who unknowingly have made a great contribution to this work, are : Tony Beck, Bob Bracken, Bruce Di Labio, Mark Gawn, Ray Holland, Bernie Ladouceur, Donald Smith and Daniel St. Hilaire. There are many others, of course, who should be mentioned, but these were the backbone of the reporting system when I operated the line.
We in Ottawa are fortunate indeed to have the aforementioned bird status line, and I would be remiss not to express my gratitude to those dedicated souls who have kept it going. I know how much work it takes! Thanks to Mike Tate and Chris Lewis for keeping us all so well informed.
Another source of information that must be acknowledged is the fine collection of published material on the Ottawa area. A major contribution in this area is John Sankey's 1987 Enjoying the Birds of the Ottawa Valley. This effort owes a debt of gratitude to John Sankey's pioneering work.
Return to Birding Ottawa Table of Contents.
My late wife, Marianne, and I in Texas, April 2002
For information on sites north of the border (ON-QC), the Le club des ornithologues de l'Outaouais (COO) has a book called Guide to Birdwatching Sites of the Outaouais in English and Guide des sites d'observation des oiseaux de l'Outaouais in French (2008). These and earlier French only editions cover many sites in Western Quebec, with particular emphasis on the Ottawa River Valley. They have been very helpful to me regarding the Quebec sites covered in this site.
Another book which is most useful for the newcomer to Ottawa or for those only recently opening their eyes to the wonders of nature, is Daniel Brunton's Nature and Natural Areas in Canada's Capital (1988). His work here and in many other local studies have been useful to the author in compiling this web-book.
See the Useful Tools section for more information on these four books.
Penultimately, and with many warm memories, I want to thank my late wife, Marianne, whom I met while birding in the Britannia Conservation Area. She, a writer herself (poetry - Marianne Bluger), gave me constant encouragement in this project. She was a willing companion in the many adventures had while researching sites and made many useful suggestions about the text. Most critical of all, she provided an atmosphere of warmth and love, giving rise to an environment where this idea had a chance to grow and florish.
Lastly, I want to thank my new wife, Antoinette, whom I married in April 2009. A nature lover herself, she has now been on enough "expeditions" with me to have a feel for my view of nature and birding. And more importantly, seems to enjoy it. She is a wonderful companion, sharing love and affection and a sense of adventure. I am truly blessed to have found love again.
Marrying Antoinette in Virgina, April 2009