GFM Network News


Swans and mallard ducks, seen using a car as a photography blind.

Continue with bird activities in spring

With the new season come new avian arrivals and observation opportunities

Are you one of those who has recently taken up watching birds, or feeding or photographing them? With most Manitobans staying close to home, these have become new hobbies for many. With the arrival of spring, there are different birds to watch for, new requirements in bird feeding and maybe some changes in how you

Eastern bluebird fledglings in a nesting box.

Birtle birders take bluebirds under their wing

Manitoba organization has a long history of preserving bluebird population

Two Birtle bird lovers are flying high in the Friends of the Bluebirds organization, a group that has saved a couple of species from possible extinction. As woodlands continue to be cleared, nesting boxes help keep bluebird numbers up across the province. Roberta Hutchison and Pat Farquhar watch over 14 of these boxes. Friends of


(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Risk of human spread of H5N8 bird flu deemed low

Seven people infected but asymptomatic, WHO says

Geneva | Reuters — The risk of human-to-human spread of the H5N8 strain of bird flu appears low after it was identified for the first time worldwide in farm workers in Russia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. A separate influenza strain, H1N1, that emerged from pigs and spread rapidly worldwide among humans

File photo of goats on display at the Hanover Agricultural Fair in Grunthal, Man. in August 2019. (Dave Bedard photo)

U.S. transport regulators reject ’emotional support animal’ status

Service dog status still protected; 'support' goats, turkeys, others up to airlines

Washington | Reuters — Only trained dogs qualify as service animals on U.S. airlines, as regulators rejected requests to extend legal protections to miniature horses, pigs, turkeys and other species, under final U.S. Transportation Department rules issued Wednesday. Airlines can still choose which other species to allow on board, but the rules issued on Wednesday

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