GFM Network News


A great horned owl.

Nocturnal Owl Survey celebrates 30 years of counting owls

The survey began in 1991 and is now part of a nationwide owl-counting effort

This spring, the annual Manitoba Nocturnal Owl Survey will celebrate 30 years of counting owls — a remarkable achievement for an operation carried out mostly by volunteers. The Nocturnal Owl Survey began in Manitoba in 1991. It’s now part of a nationwide survey, although other provinces do not always follow the exact same format as

An “irruption” of snowy owls has brought many of the birds to southern Manitoba.

An invasion of owls

Why the snowy birds have descended from the Arctic to southern Manitoba isn’t thoroughly understood

Southern Manitoba has been invaded by snowy owls travelling far from their breeding ground north of the Arctic Circle. The owls began arriving as early as October. This phenomenon, called an “irruption,” happens at irregular intervals, usually every four or five years. Occasionally they happen two years in a row. Occasionally a “mega-irruption” may occur,


Blue jays are especially fond of peanuts in the shell.

Feed your feathered friends this winter

Put out a bird feeding station this winter to attract those hardy enough to weather our winters

Cold weather has arrived, and most of our birds have migrated south, but the hardy ones are still around. A dozen or so species remain, and a feeding station kept regularly supplied will attract them to your backyard or deck for your viewing enjoyment, if you place the feeders where you can watch them easily.


Jim and Bev Levandosky build birdhouses with a unique and artistic twist.

Couple’s retirement hobby is for the birds

Jim and Bev Levandosky of Strathclair create one-of-a-kind bird dwellings

A retired Strathclair couple has provided safe harbour for birds in locales as far-flung as British Columbia, Ontario and even the U.S. states of Colorado and Florida. Jim and Bev Levandosky have been building one-of-a-kind homes for their feathered friends for the past 10 years, full of character and colour. Their vast selection includes cabins,


Brad Mummery (l to r), Athia Rose, Trent Tomoniko, Jonah Rose and Herb Golden (in back) at  the Friends of the Bluebirds meeting in April.

New groups take up birdhouse project

A 4-H group and a training centre are building to aid Friends of the Bluebirds

Two new groups are helping to improve the survival rate of bluebirds and swallows in Manitoba. They are doing so by providing nest boxes through the Brandon-based organization, Friends of the Bluebirds. One group, the Belles, Beaux & Builders 4-H Club from Neepawa, made a presentation at the Brandon Discovery Centre at the April meeting

View from Fort Ellice site.

Visit the site of old Fort Ellice

A good destination for birdwatchers and those interested in history

For history buffs and keen birders, an interesting spot to visit is the site of old Fort Ellice, southwest of St. Lazare, Manitoba. This area is also part of the Ellice-Archie and Spy Hill Community Pasture, formerly PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration), that straddles the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border. It was recently included as part of Manitoba’s

Blackpoll warblers (male top, female bottom) fly up to 10,700 km between their winter and summer homes.

Back from South America for the summer

Warblers fly from Churchill to the Carolinas, then non-stop over the ocean for 2-1/2 days

University of Guelph biologists have tracked an annual migration of up to 20,000 kilometres made by the 12-gram blackpoll warbler, one of the fastest declining songbirds in North America. The bird’s trek between its breeding grounds in the central and western boreal forest of North America and its winter home in the Amazon Basin is


Birdhouses ready to be
put up.

Building birdhouses — a good indoor winter activity

Looking for a project while waiting for warmer weather? Why not try this?

If you’re interested in birds or the outdoors, but not keen on cold-weather activities, why not spend some time inside planning and building birdhouses? Most are not too difficult to make, but they do require some preparation. First, decide what type of bird you plan to build for, as different species have different requirements and/or

Burrowing owl.

For the birds

Ranchers and prairie grassland birds have something in common: they’re both endangered species

Home on Manitoba’s range, there are some discouraging words, especially when talk turns to bird habitat and populations. At a recent meeting in Winnipeg that flagged the importance of conservationists supporting the beef sector and their record of preserving habitat, it soon became clear that stemming the decline of forage-based beef production in the province