Bird journaling M

any birders tend to never forget some of their most rare or exciting sightings. A spe- cial visit from a beautiful bird may not be forgotten but what about the details like, what time of the year, what was the weather like, where ex- actly was it? During the spring and fall migrations there

are always new

Sherrie Versluis Feathered Friends

birds to be seen, some expected and some rare. It is always interesting to compare dates each sea- son of the arrivals of the wild birds that are pass- ing through. Are they earlier, later, and what are the populations like? This is a good reason to keep a Bird Journal, it is a great

way to reference the activity in your own yard or at the cottage.

I have been birding for many years but never re- ally started journaling till about 10 years ago. Do I ever wish I had been doing this a lot longer! It is re- ally quite fascinating when I look back at my records some seasons and see the differences. Most notably in some cases it is the lack of and declining numbers of many species. That side of it is always a reminder of how concerning songbird populations are becoming each year. What I do love is the unusual sightings I have had at my own feeders like Indigo Buntings, the threatened Red-headed woodpecker, Eastern towhee, and the very exciting and rare, Red-bellied woodpeck- er I had for almost the entire winter of 2011. I am eager to add a Northern cardinal to my list one day! Here are some tips for you to begin your own birding journal. There are actual Birding Journals you can purchase

but any journal type book will do. Look for one that has good quality linen paper which is more durable and will last for many years to come. The Lang Company in particular makes excellent quality, hardcover, linen paper journals. They always have beautiful, decorative nature scenes on the cover making them a great choice

for your Birding Journal. There are also Bird Check- lists available which have all bird species listed where you can check them off when you see them and write a date. These are good when you just want to scan the birds you've seen but I prefer a journal where you have room to record more info with details. For example, I remember in May 2004 we had a horrible snowstorm in Winnipeg. This is the prime month for the arrival of South American migratory birds and most were here already. It was a devastating time for birders to witness many species struggling to survive . I recall walking my dog and finding mounds of dead warblers under spruce trees, most had per- ished through the night. The interesting thing was the activity at birdfeeders! It was a time when people were seeing birds they didn't even know we had here. The orioles, tanagers, and warblers in particular were frantic at feeders. There are some species of warblers I had coming to my feeders that I have never seen again at my feeding station. When I look back at these records I can clearly see it in my head and remember

how exciting it was yet the urgency felt for the weather to improve so that no more birds would die. I also recorded how much food I went through during that period which was really shocking to look back on. I went through 22 jars of grape jelly alone for the ori- oles and warblers... in 4 days! Another fun part of journaling is comparing dates each season. There have been some years where the arrival dates of some birds were exactly the same as the previous one which is really interesting to see. I know in spring the anticipation is so high for the arrival of birds that I like to check my previous dates to help me know what to expect and when. It's funny how many exclamation points I seem to put on my first sighting of flocks of geese, in fact, there are a lot of exclamation points in my spring recordings! Pick up a journal for yourself and start your records this year, you will really enjoy being able to compare your own records as the years go by. Sherrie Versluis owns the Preferred Perch and is an avid


Pet insurance is a good investment but if you can’t afford it, there is now a veterinary services subsidy program

diagnosis and treatment. Pet owners are financially responsible when their pets get sick. Emergency care, medical treatment or surgery can be costly. Pet owner should consider the financial risk before adopting a pet and prepare for the unexpected. If there are not enough savings to cover the emer- gency treatment expense, pet owners should consid- er pet insurance. Only about two per cent of North American pets are covered by pet insurance, compared to 20 per cent to 60 per cent of European pets insured. Pet insurance helps alleviate most of the pet medical expenses. There are a variety of coverages and plans available,


each charge a monthly premium based on pet breed, age and health condition. Insurance plans can cover accidents, injuries or sickness. The more comprehensive the coverage, the higher

the premium; however, buying pet insurance is both an economic and an emotional decision that needs to be based on personal financial situations and what pet owners are willing to pay for peace of mind. If you cannot find the pet insurance plan that suits you, con- sider starting an emergency savings fund for pet care or

applying for financing services. Companies, like Medi- card, will provide pet owners a loan or credit card to cover their pets’ medical, surgical and dental services, once approved. Other than insurance coverages and Medicard, your

local veterinarian may have financial solutions which can help in a medical emergency. Dr. Zheng, a veteri-

Are you an older adult who wants to do more walking outdoors?

April 2018

and older who have difficulty walking outdoors and walk outdoors less than 20 minutes a week to participate in the GO-OUT (Getting Older adults OUTdoors) study. Participants will be randomly assigned to take part in a workshop and a three- month outdoor walking program OR to partici- pate in a workshop and receive weekly education reminders. All participants will attend a five-hour interactive workshop to learn information, strat-


e are a group of physical therapists and researchers from the University of Man- itoba. We invite adults aged 65 years

ets, like their owners, can get sick and injured. We have universal health care coverage in Can- ada, yet our government does not cover pets,

narian and owner of Animal Hospital of Manitoba, sees many pet owners struggle with financial decisions about their pets’ diagnosis and treatment. This often leads to sick or injured pets being euthanized. To try and avoid that, Dr. Zheng decided to launch the Vet- erinary Services Subsidy Program to help pet owners in need. The subsidy program gives pets and families a chance to recover from a crisis, and not have to face a heartbreaking decision, a reality faced by many fami- lies.

How does it work? Dr. Zheng will subsidize 50 per

cent of the veterinary services the pet needs (up to a to- tal of $500, and maximum $250 discount). The owner is responsible for paying the full examination fee and the remaining 50 per cent of the diagnosis and treat- ment expenses. This program may be used only once per year per family. All remaining fees are due upon discharge of the pet from the hospital. The discount applies to veterinary services only and

does not include pet food, medications or pet supplies. Animal Hospital of Manitoba is the only veterinary clinic in Winnipeg that provides this kind of subsidy program. Since the program was first launched in 2013, over 422 families have benefited from this pro- gram, saving $101,500. If you would like more infor- mation, please call 204-586-3334.

egies and skills to walk safely outdoors. You will learn how to use step-counters and Nordic walking poles, and about fall prevention and proper foot- wear needed to walk outside. In the outdoor walk- ing program, participants will meet as a group, twice a week, for three months. Weekly education reminders will consist of tips on walking outdoors. The University of Manitoba research ethics board has approved this study. Please contact us by April 16, 2018 at or 204-787- 8015 for more information or if you are interested in participating. 15

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