The release of the full-length feature film titled The Messenger has sent shock waves not only through the birding community but has also resonated with many others as well.  Highlighting some of the negative effects we as humans have had on our wonderful planet, as well as the wildlife that inhabits it, the film made many of us uncomfortable about the way things have been going.

Utilizing stunning cinematography and concise storytelling, we along with many other local conservation groups in the area felt that this was a film and story that had to both be seen and heard.

As part of their January natural history presentation, our friends at the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists organized a special screening of the film at the historic Almonte Old Town Hall, just up the road from our flagship store in town.

 

Selling tickets for just $5 each, the event was wildly successful as the club pledged to donate the entire proceeds from the event to the bird-minded researchers at Bird Studies Canada to further their work in the field.

The night was a huge success as the screening was played to a sold-out audience who in addition to pledging their admissions, also made additional donations throughout the evening.  Last week, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists officially presented Bird Studies Canada’s The Messenger Impact Campaign with a donation totaling over $800.

While many that evening, we are unfortunately unable to attend (and stuck in a line up outside!), the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists purchased several DVD versions of the film.  They have since distributed these copies to both the Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place public libraries to allow those who might have missed it a chance to view the film.

In their release, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists left a few tips on what we can all do to further help our feathered friends:

  1. Reduce predation by cats. Keep your cats indoors. Click on the following link, or the image below, to read more about the interactions between cats and birds http://catsandbirds.ca/
  2. Do not use harmful pesticides
  3. In urban areas provide habitat for birds.
  4. Prevent fatal collisions with windows and get rid of “fatal” lights in the migration season. At night, lights in our windows and outdoors can fatally attract songbirds migrating at night. And year round, the reflective surfaces of windows can cause collisions during the day. Apply protective film or decals to reduce reflections. Window collisions are particularly a problem in our rural areas where reflective surfaces fool birds because they reflect natural features.

Read about the FLAP, the Fatal Light Awareness Program at http://www.flap.org/

  1.  Be bird friendly in other ways. Reduce your carbon footprint, buy “bird friendly” coffee (organic, shade grown, AND plants grown in conditions conforming to high standards for habitat quality), and choose recycled and unbleached paper products.
  2. Get involved in citizen science and become more educated about challenges faced by birds, and what individual species need to thrive on Earth. Join a local naturalist group, such as the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, the Ottawa Field Naturalist Club or the Macnamara Field Naturalists.
  3. Add your voice to protect the vast boreal forest habitat for songbirds. Sign the “Boreal Birds Need Half” petition at http://www.borealbirdsneedhalf.org/en/. The vast boreal region is the “planet’s nursery for billions of birds. It’s an ecosystem so big, the film says, that you can watch global carbon dioxide levels drop as the forest wakes up each spring and summer. And yet it’s being nibbled away by timber harvest, energy extraction and other types of fragmentation. The Boreal Birds Need Half campaign is a push by the Boreal Songbird Initiative and partners to ensure that some of this vast wilderness is set aside for the future.”