In WNY, we tend to talk a lot about our role as a stopover and destination for birds along a migratory path. We are lucky to have birds just about everywhere, whether it’s our backyards or at the waterfront.
When I walk my dogs, we’re always on the lookout for banditries of chickadees – we tend to find these boisterous chatterers playfully hiding in the thickets, almost within hand’s reach.
During the summertime, I am constantly fascinated by the turkey vultures that soar overhead. When I was young, I don’t recall seeing these amazing birds, but later in life they suddenly became ever-present in Buffalo – probably due to the environmental cleanups and the closed steel plant.
While I love observing birds, I must say that I know relatively little about them. That’s why I’m fascinated by a relatively new video interview program hosted by conservationist Jay Burney. Episodes of the Birds On Niagara TV show can be found on this YouTube channel. The first episode of season 2 was uploaded a couple of weeks ago. The program has a real life counterpart event aptly called Birds on the Niagara, which is set to be held February 10-12, 2022. The event is touted as the only international birding festival in North America.
I found the above episode of Birds On The Niagara TV very informative, especially as it pertains to screech owls living in WNY. In the episode, Burney interviews Tom Kerr, who works for Buffalo Audubon Society as a naturalist at the Beaver Meadow Nature Center. During the interview, Kerr introduces us to Zelda, a gray morph screech owl that – after being hit by a car and losing an eye – now has an important role as an educational bird.
If you’ve ever been curious about the birds that call WNY home, then you will want to tune into this program. Personally, I look forward to future shows, with special guests who know a heck of a lot more about the birds that many of us who tend to take for granted. And who knows – maybe some viewers will become so enthralled with the various bird species that they might actually become advocates for them. After all, as many of us are readily aware, birds are in peril from habitat loss, pollution, poisoning, flying into windows, light pollution, etc. It’s getting tougher and tougher out there, which is why it’s so important to have as many advocates as possible. Or if you’re just looking to get up close with some of the majestic birds, you might even join Kerr for one of his ‘Owl Prowls,’ or participate in the annual Winter Birding Challenge. You can find out all about these outings on Buffalo Audubon Society’s Facebook page.