Martin Scott of Lewis’ Posting on Birding and Life

My Life as a Volunteer.

Why volunteer? You don’t get paid, so why do it? That’s a question I am often asked. Well feel good factor maybe a cliché, but it works, but in this instance Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory goes well beyond that.

Birds. Since a kid I have wondered at the marvel of birds, but to see the birds on a different continent so close, in the hand, touching them, examining them in minute details, gives a very warm feeling.

Banding (or ringing as we call it in Scotland) has largely eluded me so to see species such as Blue Jay and Yellow Warbler in the hand is a treat. You soon wonder how such fragile creatures make such long migrations. No suitcases, airplanes, pre-packed meals or sat navs here.

Migration is one of nature’s great wonders. We know why they do it – to escape the winter weather – but the feats of energy and determination never cease to amaze.

The hordes of Myrtle Warblers that moved through the canopy, the ever tail pumping Palm Warblers or the heavy weigh Common Loons powering past in determined flight offshore. We know they are going north – but to where? Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta or beyond? Every bird you see raises another question.

Those questions are often raised and discussed through the day and over the camaraderie of a team cooked meal and an inevitable beer. Visitor ages range from the 20s to 60s, and from Toronto, Switzerland, Nicaragua and me from the Scottish island of Lewis.

People who all enthuse birds – it’s somehow in their DNA, a lifetimes passion, and such great fun. That’s why I am a volunteer.

Martin Scott