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Monthly meetings are held at 7:30 PM the third Thursday of the month from September to May. NOTE NEW LOCATION: Biosciences room 1120 at Queen's for September, and Ongwanada at 191 Portsmouth Ave. for rest of year, Queen's University. A map is available. Social begins at 7:00 PM.
General Meeting Minutes

Upcoming Meetings - Guest Speaker Topics and Information

February 21, 2019

" A Quick Guide to Citizen Science "

Speaker: Mark Read

Mark Read, Park Naturalist, Murphys Point Provincial Park. Mark worked as a Park Ranger at Sherwood Forest until 1994 when he left the UK and moved to Thailand, spending 11 years working on a variety of personal and academic projects, primarily in Khao Yai National Park. After a brief stint back in the UK as a High School science teacher, he moved on to Egypt where he was Vice Principal at an International School. From 2011 to 2012 he was based in the lowland Terai region of Far-West Nepal working with the Ministry of Education as an in-school advisor. Since moving to Canada, Mark has been working at Murphys Point Provincial Park as their Senior Naturalist. In 2018, Mark won the Sandy McBeath Outstanding Seasonal Interpreter Award. This honour is awarded to one interpreter annually in the Great Lakes Region by the National Association for Interpretation.

The world of biodiversity is a complex one and for a growing number of amateur and professional naturalists being able to quickly share observations made in the field is important, not only on a personal or work level but also for the greater good of solid scientific knowledge. Mark's line of work means that he is frequently asked the best ways to do this so join him this evening as he showcases some of the best citizen science projects out there. This will not be a 'how to' session but instead a celebration of the achievements and genuine contributions to science these projects have made.

March 21, 2019

" Our Enduring Fascination With Birds Eggs "

Speaker: Robert Montgomerie

Dr. Bob Montgomerie is Professor and Research Chair in Evolutionary Biology at Queen's, where he has been on faculty since 1980. He grew up in the wilds of downtown Toronto where he was introduced to birds in the 1960s by both professional and amateur ornithologists at the Royal Ontario Museum (George Peck, Jim Baillie, Terry Shortt, Rolph Davis, Jon Barlow, Lester Snyder) and at Long Point Bird Observatory (David Hussell, Don Baldwin, Gary Page, Geoff Holroyd). He obtained his Ph.D. in 1979 from McGill University for studies on the foraging ecology of Mexican hummingbirds.



Past Meetings - Guest Speaker Topics and Information

January 17, 2019

" Iceland: Old and New "

Speaker: Chris Hargreaves

Chris and Phillida have been members of the KFN since 1979. Chris is a retired High School teacher: he taught History, Geography, and the Social Sciences at Q.E.C.V.I. He has been Chair of the KFN Conservation Committee since 2008, and is currently representing the KFN at the Ontario Municipal Board hearings regarding the environmental protections in the City of Kingston’s Official Plan.

Chris was an avid stamp collector as a boy, and was intrigued by the stamps from Iceland showing geysers, giant waterfalls, and volcanos. Before we visited Iceland in the summer of 2018, he wondered how the reality of the country would compare to the images left over from his childhood? His presentation will include rocks, plants, volcanoes, some birds, and visits to a few of the sites shown on those old stamps.

December 20, 2018

" Annual KFN Members’ Presentations and Holiday Social "

Speaker: Members!

This is your chance to show off your favourite flora and fauna photos (up to 10) or short videos (up to 5 minutes). Please bring your digital presentation to the meeting room in Ongwanada by 7:15. For information contact Erwin Batalla (simbat at or 613-389-0144). Please bring some holiday goodies to share after the presentations.

November 15, 2018

" What is habitat recovery and how should we measure it in Ontario? "

Speaker: Dawn Bazely

Dawn Bazely holds the title of University Professor and is Full Professor in the Biology Department. She Directed of York’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) from 2006-11 and 2012-14. Dawn has degrees from the University of Toronto, Canada, and Oxford University, UK. She is an ecologist and studies plant-herbivore interactions and plant defences.

Habitat restoration, in one form or another, has been going on for centuries. Ecological Restoration is a great field for encouraging citizen science participation. But, how do we know if our restoration efforts are a success, and whether we are actually doing more harm than good? I'll tackle questions such as: is it possible to eradicate an invasive species? I will be talking about oak savanna restoration in Ontario -- both my and other's research into what needs to be done and the research that assesses how successful the restoration efforts are. My talk will interest a wide audience -- from keen citizen science ecologists, to gardeners interested in planting more native species.

October 18, 2018

" Tallgrass Awakening: Conservation and habitat restoration in the Rice Lake Plains "

Speaker: Val Deziel

Val is a long-time resident of Northumberland County and has strong personal connections to the Rice Lake Plains. A graduate of Sir Sanford Fleming College's ecological restoration program, Val is committed to restoring the tallgrass prairie, oak savannah and associated habitats in the Rice Lake Plains.

The sandy hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine in Northumberland County were once cloaked in tallgrass prairie, black oak savannah and other open habitats over large areas. The tallgrass ecosystems of the rolling Rice Lake Plains are in fact Canada's easternmost tallgrass landscape. Now such habitats are globally rare and groups like the Nature Conservancy of Canada are committed to protecting what remains and restoring tallgrass communities to areas degraded by invasive species, unsuccessful farming and lack of fire. Val has been directly involved in the Rice Lake Plains for over a decade, and will share with you some of the great success stories, as well as some of the challenges, of bringing back the tallgrass ecosystems. Val will also talk about the community support and partnerships that are helping out in this landscape.

September 20, 2018

" Bobcat and Lynx: A Tail of Two Ontario Wild Cats "

Speaker: Jeff Bowman

Jeff is a Research Scientist with the Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and an Adjunct Professor in the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program at Trent University. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of New Brunswick in 1999, and has been with MNRF since August 2001. Jeff leads Ontario's furbearer and small mammal research programs, and has expertise in population and landscape ecology, spatial data analysis, and landscape genetics. He has conducted research on many species and ecosystems, including work on fishers, martens, lynx, wolverines, mink, wild turkeys, and flying squirrels.

NOTE NEW ROOM LOCATION Ontario is home to two cat species, the Canada lynx and the bobcat. The lynx inhabits northern landscapes of the boreal forest, and recent research has shown that the lynx range contracting northwards, perhaps due to changing climate. At the same time, the bobcat is spreading, expanding its range into the province. I will discuss the natural history of these two species and present recent results of a research program in Ontario designed to test for the effects of recently overlapping ranges of the lynx and the bobcat, including testing for effects of competition and hybridization.

April 19, 2018

" Annual General Meeting "


The KFN membership and fiscal year goes from 1 April to 31 March. The April meeting is also the Annual General Meeting; a short report about 2017-2018 activities will be presented and the 2018-2019 Executive will be elected. When the business is done, two executive members will tell us about trips in opposite hemispheres to witness spring: Janis Grant will present April on the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast; Anne Robertson will describe her impressions of Spring in South Africa.

March 15, 2018

" Bird Conservation "

Speaker: Hélène Gaulin

Hélène Gaulin is a biologist with 30 years of experience in outreach and public education. She worked for Parks Canada, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Canadian Wildlife Service, where she coordinated the centennial of the Migratory Birds Convention. She is now a social marketing consultant and facilitator, and helps conservation organizations to engage the public in conservation-friendly behaviours.

The Migratory Birds Convention was ratified by Canada and the US in 1916. In 1917 Canada adopted its Migratory Birds Convention Act, which implements the Convention on Canadian territory. The US followed with their Migratory Birds Treaty Act in 1918. Hélène will present 100 years of bird conservation history, how the Migratory Birds Convention Act works (what is protected, jurisprudence), successes from the past and challenges of today, AND how KFN members can get involved.

February 15, 2018

" What is Happening with Our Trees? "

Speaker: Oliver K Reichl

Oliver has an academic and professional background in arboriculture, urban forestry, management of parks and protected areas, and forest ecology. He has observed the evolution of our forests in the field during 20 years as a consulting arborist-ecologist and 14 years as a Naturalist and Resource Technician for Parks Canada. He is an avid amateur naturalist developing checklists for species of the Thousand Islands, from forbs to fishes and mosses to mammals, which can be seen in the Links on his website

Trees are the dominant vegetation on many of our landscapes. On a landscape level, they can act as significant drivers of ecological change. Some species are under threat of large-scale annihilation. This presentation puts these threats into the larger context of forest ecology.

January 18, 2018

" Metamorphosis: Changing the way we look at Amphibians "

Speaker: Peter B. Mills

Peter is an experienced naturalist who grew up in Barrie and obtained an undergraduate degree from Trent University, where he recently returned to pursue his Master’s degree. In between he obtained a teaching degree in North Bay and worked as a seasonal naturalist in Algonquin Park for nine years. His research focuses on patterns in the genetics of salamanders.

Field Guides have formed the backbone that naturalists rely on to better know plants, fungi, lichens, birds, mammals, and more! But what does it take to actually create one? Peter will describe his quest to write and illustrate a field guide to amphibians—one that would go beyond what was already known about them by depicting their eggs and aquatic larval stages, as well as the more familiar adults.

December 21, 2017

" KFN Member's Presentations and Holiday Social "


This is your chance to show off your favourite flora and fauna photos (up to 10) or short videos (up to 5 minutes). Please bring your digital pictures and video to the meeting room between 7:00 and 7:15. For information contact Erwin Batalla (613-542-2048 or Please bring some holiday goodies to share after the presentations.

November 16, 2017

" Exercise Booby Tern XXI - Ornithological Fieldwork with the British Army on Ascension Island "

Speaker: Anthony Kaduk

Anthony has recently retired after a 35-year career in the Canadian Army. While he has long been interested in all aspects of the natural world, it was his exposure to a myriad of unfamiliar species while living in the UK that sparked a passion for birding, which continues to carry him to the far-flung corners of Frontenac County and the world.

Ascension Island is a remote volcanic rock shared by a military airbase and about two million seabirds. The British Army leads a long-term project to protect and study the birds - primarily Sooty Terns but including a variety of boobies and the endemic Ascension Frigatebird. Anthony had the opportunity to work on this project and will describe the bird populations, the work that is being done and the insights that are being gained into seabird behaviour.

October 19, 2017

" Being a Bird in North America: BABINA, a New Kind of Nature Book "

Speaker: Robert Alvo

September 21, 2017

" Spiders of Ontario "

Speaker: Tom Mason

Tom is retired Curator of Invertebrates for the Toronto Zoo. He has had an interest in spiders since his university days, and has discovered several species of tarantulas from two continents

Spiders are found in every habitat in Ontario, and are one of the most poorly known taxa in the animal kingdom. Tom will give an introduction into arachnids, explain their role in the ecosystem, and tell us the best way to identify spiders in the field. He will describe some of the over 700 species in Ontario, hoping to clear up some misconceptions.

April 20, 2017

" Nature Travel North and South "

Speaker: Gaye Beckwith and Anne Robertson

Two members of the KFN Executive will describe nature tours they took in 2016.

Gaye Beckwith: The Heart of the Arctic on the Ocean Endeavour Arctic Cruise

While Kingston was blistering hot last summer, Betsy and I joined Adventure Canada on a 2-week arctic cruise. After exploring Greenland, the ship crossed the Davis Strait to southern Baffin Island and the northern coast of Quebec. We visited Inuit communities, took zodiac rides around icebergs, hiked on remote islands, and experienced the vastness and beauty of this unique region. Photos will highlight birds, animals, people, landscapes, and arctic flowers.

Anne Robertson: The Cape Region of South Africa in Spring

The special plants of the tiniest floral region of the world drew us on this spring trip. The birds and mammals were a bonus.

March 16, 2017

" Ontario's True North "

Speaker: Mike Burrell, Zoologist at the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre

Many Ontario naturalists are familiar with the vast taiga of northern Ontario, but most forget that our province extends beyond the boreal forest to the salt marshes and tundra of the Hudson Bay Lowlands. Over the past several years I have had the opportunity to work (and play) in some of Ontario's real north. Come hear about these experiences and see the amazing landscapes, plants and wildlife that call it home.

Mike grew up in the Waterloo area in southwestern Ontario and inherited his passion for natural history from his parents. He considers himself to have been very lucky to have completed an internship at Long Point Bird Observatory when he was 15; this experience opened many doors for him for jobs and for school. Since then, Mike has become involved in many aspects of birding and natural history study in the province. He currently serves as the secretary of the Ontario Bird Records Committee, coordinates eBird in Ontario, reviews Christmas Bird Count data for the province and works as a zoologist with the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre in Peterborough.

February 16, 2017

" Up, Up and Away: How birds gained flight and took over the world. "

Speaker: Dr. Thomas Alexander DeCecchi, William E. White Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Geological Sciences, Queen's University

The evolution of birds and the origin of flight are two points of extreme interest both to the public and scientific community. Birds are derived theropod (meat-eating) dinosaurs, and represent the only living lineage of the group whose beginnings date back to around 230 million years ago. Powered flight is a rare occurrence in the history of life, evolving only three times within vertebrates (birds, bats and the extinct pterosaurs) and is suspected to have been a critical evolutionary novelty that has allowed birds to diversify and to colonize all corners of the world. Critical to determining how flight began is to understand the context in which it evolved. My work has been looking at how the ecological settings and other factors such as body size and limb length have influenced the origin of flight. I will also discuss how by modeling flight and related behaviours in birds and their direct ancestors we can gain a greater understanding of how these creatures first got into the air.

Dr DeCecchi obtained his undergraduate Biology degree at Queen's, doing an honours thesis under Dr. John Smol and Dr. Guy Narbonne of the Geology department, then did I a PhD at McGill University studying under Dr. Hans CE Larsson, in biology with a specialization in palaeontology. After a postdoc at the University of South Dakota working with Dr. Paula Mabee, he is back at Queen's as the William E. White Postdoctoral Fellowship in Geological Sciences and a lecturer in Vertebrate Paleontology.

December 15, 2016

" Members Presentations and Holiday Social "


This is your chance to show off your favourite flora and fauna photos (up to 10) or short videos (up to 5 minutes). Please bring your digital pictures or video to the meeting room between 7:00 and 7:15. For information Contact Erwin Batalla (613-542-2048 or

November 17, 2016

" The 8th Continent - Madagascar "

Speaker: David Bree, Park Naturalist, Presqu'ile Provincial Park

David Bree grew up in Almonte, Ontario and developed an interest in the natural world at an early age. He received a B.Sc. in Geology from Waterloo in 1983, and a M.Sc. from Queens in 1990. In 1988 he started working as a seasonal naturalist in the Provincial Park system and spent 4 years at Charleston Lake, 8 years at Bon Echo, 1 year at Sandbanks, 4 years at Petroglyphs, and 1 year at Algonquin PP. He has been the Senior Natural Heritage Education Leader (Park Naturalist) at Presqu'ile PP since 2006. A resident of Prince Edward County for the last 28 years, seasonal work and vacations allow international travel. He and his wife Yvette have enjoyed the natural world in six continents so far. David's early interests focused on birds, vascular plants, and geology. Later insects became his passion, pursuing dragonflies, butterflies and moths throughout east-central Ontario. Lately his first love, birds have been creeping back into a place of prominence.

Isolated for 70 million years, Madagascar has been called the 8th Continent for the many unique and endemic species that have evolved there. Fully 80% of every living thing found on the island is found nowhere else. Ontario Parks Naturalists, David and Yvette Bree, spent 3 weeks on the island in fall 2015, seeking out birds, lemurs, chameleons and other natural treasures, and will present their impressions on the natural and cultural features of the 8th Continent.

October 20, 2016

" Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ontario "

Speaker: Colin Jones, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Colin, a lifelong naturalist, is the Provincial Arthropod Zoologist at the Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in Peterborough where he deals primarily with rare species. Like many naturalists, Colin first developed a keen interest in birds and birding but this interest grew into other areas. Over the past 25 years, he has been interested in the study of Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies). He is coordinator of the Ontario Odonata Atlas project and co-author of "A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and Surrounding Area", now in its 2nd edition, and "The ROM Field Guide to the Butterflies of Ontario".
Copies of these field guides will be available for $25 each.

Dragonflies and damselflies are beautiful and fascinating creatures! From the Ebony Jewelwing to the Stygian Shadowdragon, these insects are not only an important part of our ecosystem, they are also exciting to watch. Colin Jones will be presenting a talk on the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ontario during which he will highlight their fascinating life cycle, their conservation, the habitats they are found in and how you can learn more about them yourselves by getting out there and watching them first-hand.

September 15, 2016

" The Truth about Stories: Adventures from the Field "

Speaker: Catherine Dale, Amanda Tracey, and Sarah Wallace

Catherine Dale: Catherine is a PhD student in Biology at Queen's University. She is fascinated by migration, and her current research focuses on understanding its costs and benefits. Her PhD fieldwork took place in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, where she studied a partially migratory population of western bluebirds. As a veteran of long, cold Canadian winters, Catherine is curious to find out why some bluebirds migrate, while others stay behind to endure the cold. She also has a keen interest in writing and communicating science.
Amanda Tracey: Amanda is a PhD student in Biology at Queen's University who is passionate about plants and science outreach. Her research focuses on the importance and implications of plant body size for reproduction, abundance, and recruitment in herbaceous species (wildflowers, grasses, etc.). Amanda has done much of her fieldwork in the old fields and roadsides around Kingston, and during the seven years she's worked in the area, has gained encyclopedic knowledge of local plants and many fantastic stories to share. Amanda spends her spare time working closely with a number of science outreach organizations, including Let's Talk Science and Planting Science.
Sarah Wallace: Sarah completed her MSc in Biology at Queen's University in 2012, studying the population genetics of Cassin's Auklet, a burrow-nesting seabird that breeds along the Pacific coast of North America - a project that involved fieldwork on the beautiful islands of Haida Gwaii, in British Columbia. Now a research assistant in an ecotoxicology lab at RMC, Sarah continues to take every chance she can to get into the field - and takes advantage of every opportunity she has to share her love of science with the public.

"The truth about stories is, that's all we are." - Thomas King
Field biology has given all three of us the chance to visit amazing, hard-to-access places, and to view all places - from the most exotic and remote to the most commonplace - through different eyes. We wanted to share with the public this unique view of the places we've worked. So two years ago, we created our blog, Dispatches from the Field, which features regular posts from us and from field biologists around the world. Dispatches from the Field is a place for people to share stories about places they've come to know and love while doing fieldwork - stories that never make it into the scientific papers, but which form the core of the experience. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at field biology, which we hope will increase understanding, affection, and protection for these beautiful wild (and not-so-wild) places. In this talk, we will share some of our adventures and misadventures working in the field, from Sable Island to Hamilton Harbour, and from Haida Gwaii to the lakes and roadsides of the Frontenac Arch.

April 21, 2016

" KFN AGM and Habitat Selection, Population Size and Breeding Success of Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark in Various Habitats "

Speaker: Kurt Hennige

March 17, 2016

" The Motus Wildlife Tracking System - A hemispheric monitoring network for migratory animals "

Speaker: Stuart Mackenzie

Stuart Mackenzie has been exploring the natural world and birding since the age of 2. He is currently the program manager of the Motus Wildlife Tracking System and the Long Point Bird Observatory at Bird Studies Canada (BSC). He has a MSc. in biology and over a decade of experience conducting, coordinating and managing monitoring and research projects on a wide variety of taxa. He is the current president of the Ontario Bird Banding Association and Chair of the North American Banding Council.

Some of the largest barriers to effective conservation and management of migratory animals is our ability to determine the importance of various landscapes and how they are utilized throughout their annual cycle. Our landscape includes numerous geographic (e.g. Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, Mountains) and anthropogenic features (major urban centers, industrial, utility and transportation infrastructure) that might influence migratory animals use of and movement through the landscape. Gaining a better understanding of these processes will help decision-makers and other stake holders make informed and ecologically sound decisions with regards to wildlife management, policy, and regulation.

Automated radio-telemetry systems allow researchers to track the movements of radio-tagged birds, bats and insects throughout the land and seascape with unprecedented temporal precision. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System ( is a coordinated hemispheric collaboration of researchers maintaining a network of automated receiving stations throughout the Americas. Motus is a program of Bird Studies Canada (BSC) in partnership with collaborating researchers and organizations. The purpose of Motus is to facilitate landscape-scale research and education on the ecology and conservation of migratory animals. The current Motus array comprises over 300 stations across the Western Hemisphere operated by more than 50 collaborators.

Join Stu Mackenzie to learn about the program and discuss some preliminary results.

February 18, 2016

" Catering to Birds in all Seasons "

Speaker: Sharon David

Sharon David is a trained naturalist and has been an avid birdwatcher for over 35 years. Her keen interest in birds and birdwatching and her joy of gardening have led her to discover the best ways to attract birds in all 4 seasons. Sharon is past-editor of the KFN's Blue Bill, and a previous executive member. In 1995, on behalf of the KFN, Sharon created the Winter Foods and Shelter Garden at Landon Bay (Thousand Island's Parkway), as a demonstration garden of trees and shrubs which retain their fruit or seeds into the winter months to provide a natural food source for birds and other wildlife.

There are three basic things one needs to provide to attract birds to your yard in all seasons. They are food, water and shelter. Without all of them, birds and other wildlife may visit but will not remain long or to breed. Sharon will present what she has learned to enhance a yard to attract birds so that you may enjoy birds throughout the year by truly catering to their needs. With spring on its way she hopes to get your ideas flowing as to which trees, shrubs and flowers you can plant. As our summer birds return, learn which natural and artificial foods attract which species, such as Orioles and Hummingbirds. Finally, discover what food and shelter will help species breeding in your yard, or those that overwinter given the fluctuating winter weather events we now experience.

January 21, 2016

" The Once and Future Great Lakes Country: An Ecological History "

Speaker: John Riley, emeritus chief scientist Nature Conservancy Canada

John Riley is emeritus chief scientist to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. He has had careers as botanist, geologist, ecologist and conservation professional with the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Geological Survey and Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Nature, and the Nature Conservancy. He is a co-founder of the Partnership for Public Lands, Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation and Greenbelt foundation. He has written books on the peatlands of Ontario, the flora and wetlands of the Hudson Bay Lowland, the ecology of the Niagara Escarpment and Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserves and the Rouge Valley, as well as thematic studies of Ontario alvars and woodlands. He has written conservation blueprints for Canada's Great Lakes and Prairies and Parklands, and conservation atlases for Labrador and northern Alberta. McGill-Queens University Press published his latest book, The Once and Future Great Lakes Country: An Ecological History, which has been favourably reviewed by notables like Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro. It has been shortlisted for the Dafoe Book Prize, and has won the Ontario Historical Society Fred Landon Award for best history in the last 3 years. John lives on a farm in Mono.

North America's Great Lakes Country has experienced centuries of upheaval; its landscapes are utterly changed from 500 years ago. The region's superabundant fish and wildlife and its magnificent forests and prairies astonished European newcomers who called it an earthly paradise, then ushered in an era of disease, warfare, resource depletion, and land development that transformed it forever. John will present an ecological history of environmental change in the Great Lakes from the last ice age to today. He will describe how the region serves as a continental crossroads that experienced massive declines in its wildlife and native plants after European contact, has begun to see increased nature protection and re-wilding in recent decades, and today faces new pressures such as climate change, invasive species and urban sprawl.

December 17, 2015

" Members' Night "


Any member is welcome to make a 5-minute long natural history related presentation.

Contact: Erwin Batalla at 613-542-2048 or

November 19, 2015

" Bird Conservation in the Northeast: Keep the Cows and Manage Creatively "

Speaker: Noah Perlut, Associate Professor, Dept. of Environmental Studies, University of New England

The Perlut Lab focuses on how human habitat management affects the ecology and evolution of diverse species. Foundational to the work is the acknowledgement that all habitats and organisms are affected by humans. This broad interest has led to studies of diverse species and diverse habitats - from grassland birds breeding in agricultural fields of Vermont to Caribbean Martins roosting in roof crevices in Dominica. Perlut received his Phd from the University of Vermont, and lives in Scarborough, ME, with his wife, three young children, dog and chickens.

Grassland bird populations are in trouble across North America. Their ecology and evolution are affected by agricultural management; therefore, large-scale conservation must integrate land-owners and land-managers, balancing agricultural and bird needs. Dr. Perlut takes a life-history approach in studying Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows in the agricultural grasslands of the Champlain Valley of Vermont. The goal of is to understand everything that happens to a bird through its life, ranging from its reproductive success and habitat selection to mate selection to migration route and wintering location, and use this information in working with landowners in conservation and management.

October 15, 2015

" The Historical Geography of Social Science within UNESCO's Biosphere Reserves "

Speaker: Christine Grossutti

PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography and Urban Planning at Queen's University. Christine's research interest is the social and cultural history of nature.

Biosphere Reserves were created by UNESCO in the early 1970s as "living laboratories" for scientific study into humanity's relationship to our environment. In the earliest documents describing the purpose and function of Biosphere Reserves, the importance of social science's contribution to environmental problems is highlighted. This presentation will explore the extent to which Canadian Biosphere Reserve practitioners have been successful in bridging the gap between physical science and social science and the implications these successes could hold for the sustainability of our communities.

September 17, 2015

" Flying Squirrels in Ontario "

Speaker: Jeff Bowman

Jeff is a Research Scientist with the Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section of OMNRF, and Adjunct Professor in the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program at Trent University. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of New Brunswick, and has expertise in population and landscape ecology. Jeff has been with MNRF since 2001, involved in research projects on many species, including recent work on fishers, martens, lynx, wolverines, mink, wild turkeys, and flying squirrels.

North America has two species of flying squirrel, both present in Ontario. Recent studies have shown that the distributions of northern and southern flying squirrel have begun to overlap in Ontario due to range expansion by the southern species. This has led to hybridization between flying squirrel species. Jeff will discuss the natural history of flying squirrels, provide examples of squirrel ecology and behaviour from recent studies, and describe the causes and consequences of hybridization between flying squirrel species.

May 21, 2015

" May Dinner: The Natural History of Ontario Moths "

Speaker: Dr. Jason Dombroskie

Manager of the Cornell University Insect Collection and Coordinator of the Insect Diagnostic Laboratory.
A lifelong naturalist who grew up in Renfrew County and worked for 10 years in Algonquin Provincial Park, Dr. Dombroskie's research interests are in the systematics of New World archipine leafroller moths.

This intimate journey into the hidden lives of moths and their caterpillars will look at some of the amazing species in your backyard. Some of these moths take medicine and can bubble poison from their necks, produce pheromones that can be smelled from a few kilometers away, or can jam bat echolocation. We will also examine caterpillars with gills, stinky tentacles, and horns that squirt acid, as well as ones that fling their feces, and others that live inside regurgitated owl pellets.

Tickets are $30 each and must be purchased ahead of time. Contact Polly Aiken ( or 343-363-1342) for more information or to make arrangements for your tickets.

April 16, 2015

" Annual General Meeting and Executive Slide Presentations "


Executive members will prepare slide presentations

March 19, 2015

" Birds of the Northern Lights "

Speaker: Joel Coutu

Born in Montreal, Joel developed a passion for nature while living in Kingston from the ages of 4 to 12. Back in Montreal, observation of a peregrine falcon capturing a pigeon ignited a passion for birds. He has hosted local radio and television program on birds, worked on bird-related projects with the City of Montreal, schools, birding clubs and provincial parks, and done census work in many regions of Quebec and Labrador.

Some birds observed locally during migration go on to breed in Northern Quebec and Labrador. On the nesting territories they exhibit behaviour not seen during migration. Joel will describe these habits he observed during his research in this pristine location of great natural beauty.

February 19, 2015

" On the Fringes of Beringia- Observations from a Recent Yukon/Alaska Trip "

Speaker: Dr Herwart Helmstaedt

Herb is an Emeritus Professor in the Queen's Geology Department where his teaching and research specialty was structural geology and tectonics, particularly as applied to gold and diamonds. Since his retirement in 2004, he continues to write about geology, volunteer with the Friends of Frontenac Provincial Park, and pursue his passion for travel.

'Beringia' refers to the landmass that existed during the Pleistocene between present-day Siberia and Alaska, including the land bridge now submerged beneath the Bering Strait. Remaining largely ice-free during the last glacial maximum, when much of North America was blanketed by continental ice sheets, Beringia was covered with a cold-climate steppe vegetation supporting populations of woolly mammoth, horses, bison and other large mammals, most of which are now extinct. When travelling in the Yukon and Alaska, one cannot help but relive the story of Beringia, be it through geology and landforms, vegetation, or fossils of extinct Pleistocene mammals exhibited in museums and interpretive centers.

January 15, 2015

" Continuity broken and maintained: Mudpuppy Night in Oxford Mills "

Speaker: Frederick W. Schueler and Aleta Karstad

Fred and Aleta write: The rocky clear Kemptville Creek, from the dam at Oxford Mills to Kemptville, in Grenville County, is the best place to see Mudpuppies in Eastern Ontario. Since 1998, Mudpuppy Night in Oxford Mills (the longest-running winter herpetological outing in Canada) has taken observers to the only place these giant winter-active Salamanders are repeatedly observed in large numbers throughout the winter. Inspired by the Ontario Rivers Alliance, we're working on a description of what's involved in the "health" of a river or stream. Some basics are: 1) continuity (channel, flow regimes, migration, long-lived species), 2) oligotrophy (net watershed ombrotrophy, wetlands), and 3) endemicity (biogeographic integrity, biodiversity, native rather than alien species). Our talk will discuss how the Mudpuppies, the Oxford Mills dam, and other factors impinge on the assessment of the "health" of the creek.

December 18, 2014

" Members Night "


Members are invited to share up to 10 slides on a Natural History topic.
Contact Erwin Batalla (613) 542-2048

November 20, 2014

" Birds are More Colourful than They Look "

Speaker: Bob Montgomerie, Queen's University

Bob Montgomerie grew up in the wilds of downtown Toronto where he was introduced to birds in the 1960s by professional and amateur ornithologists at the Royal Ontario Museum and Long Point Bird Observatory. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1979 from McGill University for studies on the foraging ecology of Mexican hummingbirds, studying under Peter Grant, famous for his research on Darwin's Finches. Since then, his research on sexual selection and parental care in birds and other animals has taken him around the world to study diverse species in the high arctic of Canada, Alaska, Iceland and Scandinavia, as well as in Australia, the Cook Islands, France and New Zealand and the tropical forests of Mexico, Belize, Brazil and Costa Rica. While his main focus has been on the study of birds, he is a naturalist with wide interests and has at different times studied bumblebees, damselflies, rodents, fruit flies, spiders, fish, flowering plants, and humans in the context of sexual selection and reproductive strategies. Bob came to Queen' as an NSERC University Research Fellow in 1980, and is now a full Professor and holds a Queen's University Research Chair in Evolutionary Biology. He is currently teaching courses on ecology, the history and philosophy of biology, and statistical analysis.

Recent technological advances have allowed us to measure accurately the colors that birds display, and to estimate what they see when they look at each other. The surprise is that they are much more colourful than they look to us, and that they can detect subtle differences in coloration that are invisible to us. Over the past 20 year my research group has studied the colours and displays of fairywrens and bowerbirds in Australia, ptarmigan and buntings in the high arctic, robins, swallows and goldfinches in Ontario, and feral peafowl in LA, NY and Toronto. I will use these studies to address some fascinating questions about the evolution of bird colours. Why are they so colourful? What do they look like to each other? Why are some colours so common and others so rare? How does the colour of their plumage influence mating and social interactions? Why are females of some species so brightly coloured? How do they use ambient light to enhance their colourful displays? Why do so many species lay colourful eggs? I hope you'll wear your most colourful clothing to my presentation. Humans, like birds, are influenced by colors, and maybe that's why we find them so fascinating.

October 16, 2014

" Ecological and Evolutionary Lessons from (sometimes) Common Backyard Birds "

Speaker: Scott Taylor, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

Originally from Inverhuron, Ontario, Scott Taylor received his BScH in wildlife biology from the University of Guelph in 2006 and his PhD in evolutionary biology from Queen's University in 2011, where he studied the ecology and evolution of Blue-footed and Peruvian boobies. Scott is currently a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where he uses genomic approaches to understand avian evolution and ecological responses to climate change. A naturalist at heart, Scott worked for 6 years within the Ontario Parks system and brings a thorough knowledge of natural history to his research in avian evolutionary biology.

Chickadees and (sometimes) redpolls are common backyard birds in eastern North America that are providing us with insight into key questions in ecological and evolutionary research. Join Scott Taylor as he discusses his work, which uses a combination of genomic data and citizen science. He will focus on two recent projects (1) how a chickadee hybrid zone in eastern North America is responding to climate change; and (2) evolutionary relationships within the often hard-to-identify redpoll finches.

September 18, 2014

" Bat Migration across the Great Lakes "

Speaker: Toby Thorne

Toby's interest in bats began at the age of eleven when, at a public bat walk in his local park, he first listened to the sounds of bats through a bat detector. A few weeks later he joined the local bat group to hand-net bats leaving their roost in a church; he has been hooked ever since, With much of his adolescence spent catching bats in a variety of projects in his native England. Toby has a broad understanding of bat biology. Currently he is living in Canada and working towards his master's degree, studying bat migration under the supervision of Dr. Brock Fenton.

Bats are the second-largest group of mammals, found around the world occupying a wide range of ecological niches. This talk will begin with a discussion of their diversity and interesting traits such as flight and echolocation, then move to an in-depth look at bats in the Kingston region and an on-going project to study their migration across the Great Lakes.

May 15, 2014

" Dam Builders: the natural history of beavers and their ponds "

Speaker: Michael Runtz

Michael Runtz has been an avid birdwatcher since the age of five, and has worked as an interpretive naturalist in Algonquin and Point Peele parks, conducted numerous biological surveys and inventories across Ontario as far north as Hudson Bay, and on subjects ranging from endangered species to butterflies. Michael hosted international television series Wild by Nature, published 11 natural history books and written more than 1100 newspaper and magazine articles. As team captain or member Michael has won many birding competitions including the Taverner cup, the Carden Challenge, and the KFN's Roundup. Michael currently teaches natural history and ornithology at Carleton University where his highly visual natural history courses continue to attract record enrolments (more than 41,000 students to date). His efforts have been recognised through numerous education, conservation and photography awards. Noteworthy hounours include the Council of Canadian University Biology Chairs' Distinguished Public Science Education Award, Ontario Nature's Service Award, the Friends of Algonquin Park's Directors Award and many Carleton University awards. He is a popular keynote speaker a major events and a regular guest on radio and TV. Michael was the only Canadian featured in the TVO/NHK Japan 2001 Superteachers series that profiled such notables as Jane Goodall and Nelson Mandella.

Michael currently lives near Kingston on a 23-acre natural history paradice on Cranberry Lake with his better half, Ann Mayall.

Based on Michael's new book of the same title, this will be a highly visual overview of beavers and the natural history of the habitats they directly and indirectly create. Included will be a comparison to the Eurasian beaver, and lots of new and exciting facts about the most powerful animal in the world.

This will be our annual dinner meeting held at the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club, The cash bar and silent auction begin at 6 pm; dinner begins at 7 pm. The meal will be a choice of chicken or a vegetarian dish with salad to start and cheese cake for dessert. Tickets are $35, available from Polly Aiken or Janis Grant.

April 17, 2014

" Executive Member's Night "

Speaker: Members of the KFN Executive Board

Three members of your executive will present their own 15 minutes of nature photos and trip stories in a way similar to what is done at the December Member's night.
Gaye Beckwith will share some photos of his recent bus trip through several countries in Europe. Highlights include Amsterdam, Innsbruck, Venice, Lecerne, and Paris.

Chris Grooms will show some interesting wildlife pictures taken using a trail cam as well as give a presentation on his trip to Digges Island, a seabird colony in the Hudson Striat.

Janet Elliot will present "Rambles and Reflections": photos, taken locally and farther afield, which invite you to see things differently.

This is also the Club's AGM.

March 20, 2014

" Adventures in Phenology "

Speaker: David McMurray

David is a KFN member of lengthy standing, he has two degrees from Queen's (Honours BA in Economics and an LLB) and he is Secretary of the Board of Friends of Lemoine Point, where he does most of his flower watching.

David plans to talk primarily about spring wildflowers--After the winter we are having a few pretty pictures will probably be welcome , if only to remind people what grass looks like. He'll want to show some late bloomers as well, as there are some that he'd really like to bring to peoples attention.

(Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors).

February 20, 2014

" Nepal: A Land of Highs and Lows "

Speaker: Mark Read

Mark Read worked as a Park Ranger at Sherwood Forest until 1994 when he left the UK and moved to Thailand, spending 11 years working on a variety of personal and academic projects, primarily in Khao Yai National Park. After a brief stint back in the UK as a High School Teacher, he moved on to Egypt where he was Head of Secondary at an International School. From 2011 to 2012 he was based in the lowland Terai region of Far-West Nepal working with the Ministry of Education as an in-school advisor.

Nepal, a small Himalayan country has abundant wildlife and Mark will reflect upon his time birding in Nepal whilst also sharing a few of the cultural experiences he encountered along the way.

January 16, 2014

" The impact of wind energy on birds in the Kingston area: fact versus fiction "

Speaker: Bill Evans

Bill Evans is director of Old Bird Inc., a US nonprofit focused on nocturnal bird migration research and education. He has studied nocturnal bird migration in the eastern U.S. for 25 years and co-authored the CD-Rom, Flight Calls of Migratory Birds with Michael OBrien in 2002. Bills expertise on nocturnal bird migration has led him to active involvement in efforts to mitigate avian fatalities at communications towers and wind turbines. He has directed the website for 15 years and continues research toward understanding the impacts of artificial light on night-migrating birds and the concentration dynamics of night-migrating birds along shorelines and mountainous terrain. Bills scientific publications on night migration are included at; his research has been featured on CBC, PBS, BBC, NPR and in Science, The New York Times and numerous other science-news periodicals. Bill currently lives with his wife and two children in Ithaca, NY.

Bill will present a synopsis of his work for wind developers and groups concerned about wind power in the northeastern region of Lake Ontario. He will focus on his involvement with the Wolfe Island, Ostrander Point, Galloo Island, and Cape Vincent, NY wind projects, portraying the challenge of studying and mitigating impacts to birds from these and future wind energy projects in the region.

December 19, 2013

" Members' Night "


All members are invited to show their best 10 slides or short videos. To participate call Erwin Batalla at 613 542 2048.

This is always a popular meeting with lots of great images, stories and a few surprises.

This is also the meeting when members are encouraged to bring lots of Christmas baking to share after the meeting.

November 21, 2013

" Techno-birding "

Speaker: Pamela Stagg

Pamela Stagg began birding 50 years ago and -- after a time-out to be a workaholic -- was able to pursue her passion when she retired to Prince Edward County. Today she participates in a number of bird surveys and counts, as well as a personal study of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds in Prince Edward County. She also volunteers at Prince Edward Pont Bird Observatory and Presquile Provincial Parks Waterfowl Festival.

This talk looks at how technology is rapidly expanding our knowledge of birds and migration, examining technologies such as radio-isotope analysis of feathers, radio tracking and satellite tracking.

Special Request: Pamela has environmental illness. In other words, She gets sick from toxic products such as synthetic fragrance. This is considered to be a legal disability. She would be most grateful if your members could refrain from wearing scented products on the evening of this presentation, please.

October 17, 2013

" Animal rehabilitation in Ontario "

Speaker: Sue Meech

Sue Meech was born in England and emigrated to Canada in1974 after training as a R. N and Midwife, doing some globe trotting and working in several countries, including Africa Australia and New Zealand. She and her husband bought a small hobby farm in Napanee and started rescuing domestic animals. Sue started wildlife rehabilitating by accident one day about 20 years ago when the local humane society asked her to take in some orphaned raccoons. She and her husband started cage building and as fast as they built the animals came. Build it and they will come. Sue herself is a full time volunteer. As she would say no one could afford to pay me for the hours I put in here. But it is my passion and I enjoy every minute I spend caring for wildlife. Sue also fosters animals for the local Humane Societies and often has a litter of puppy mill dogs, or discarded farm animals.

Sue will be discussing the role of the Wildlife rehabilitator and some of the mammals and birds that are admitted to the Centre.

September 19, 2013


Speaker: David Phillips, Senior Climatologist, Environment Canada

David has been employed with Environment Canada's weather service for over 40 years. His work activities relate to the study of the climate of Canada and to promote awareness and understanding of weather and climate in Canada. He has published several books, papers and reports on the climate of Canada, including several essays in The Canadian Encyclopedia, a book on The Climates of Canada, and two bestsellers: The Day Niagara Falls Ran Dry and Blame It On The Weather. He is the originator and author of the Canadian Weather Trivia Calendar, the most popular calendar sold in Canada, and now in its 26th year. For nearly ten years he wrote the Weather-wise column in the Canadian Geographic magazine. David frequently appears on national radio and television as a commentator on weather and climate matters. David is a fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. He has been awarded the Patterson Medal for Distinguished Service to Meteorology in Canada, and has twice received the Public Service Merit Award. David is the recipient of two honorary doctorates from the University of Waterloo and Nipissing University. In 2001, David was named to the Order of Canada.

Extreme weather has become the norm - an epidemic of ferocious, destructive, disruptive and killer weather everywhere. Further, the seasons seem to be out of whack, certainly not what our teachers and parents told us it would be like. The climate is warming but bad weather and a more variable climate may be the most significant outcomes from an over-heated planet.

We can no longer assume that conditions in the past will apply in the future. Climate change is shortening the life span of structures and designs. For wildlife, it is clear that even slight warming can have a significant impact on biodiversity and the loss of life-sustaining habitats. The lowering of lake and stream levels, as well as the reduction of wetlands, forests, and snow cover are expected under a warmer climate. Existing plants and animals are already experiencing the effect of an altered climate and are desperately trying to adapt to environmental change. The future is not going to look like the past. We need to plan better for the climate coming not what has happened.

May 16, 2013

" State of Canadas Birds Report "

Speaker: Ted Cheskey


Edward (Ted) Cheskey, MA, BES Ted is Manager of Bird Conservation Programs for Nature Canada where he applies his passion for nature and knowledge of avian conservation and ecology to conserving Canadian birds. His main responsibilities are managing Nature Canadas role in the Important Bird Area program, and providing leadership and direction for Nature Canadas bird programs. Some of his accomplishments since year 2000 include authoring 20 Important Bird Area Conservation Plans for the Important Bird Area program, participating in several citizen science and professional bird monitoring and research programs and studies over the past 30 years, guiding birding trips in Canada and Central America, and co-founding the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory. Prior to working with Nature Canada, he specialized in using birds to connect children and youth to nature in his 22 years as an outdoor educator. Most recently he was on the Steering Committee for the State of Canadas Birds Report and co-authored parts of the Report. Cheskey is bilingual in English and French.

This is our Annual May Dinner Meeting. All are Welcome.

This past year, a landmark report was released by Environment Canada and Canadas bird conservation community: The State of Canadas Birds 2012. One key finding is that 44% of our species have declined in the past 40 years while 32% have increased.
Ted Cheskey, Manager of Bird Conservation Programs with Nature Canada co-authored the report, and will expose its details and implications.

Tickets $35, available till Saturday, May 11 from Connie Gardiner (545-2354) central Chris Hargreaves (389-8993) west Janis Grant 613-548-3668 central or Alexandra Simmons north (613 - 542-2048 or

April 18, 2013

" Biting flies in Canada: Are they worse than they used to be? "

Speaker: Fiona Hunter


Dr. Fiona Hunter received her Hon.B.Sc. (in Zoology) and M.Sc. (in Botany) from the University of Toronto, and her Ph.D. (in Biology) from Queen's University. She then spent 2 years teaching at the University of Brandon, Manitoba, before moving to Brock University, where she has remained for almost 20 years. Although her speciality is Medical and Veterinary Entomology, she also teaches Introductory Biology to over 900 students and always tries to convert as many pre-med students as possible to the study Ecology and Evolution!
Since West Nile virus first appeared in Canada back in 2001, Dr. Hunter has worked closely with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and with First Nations Inuit Health Branch to conduct mosquito surveillance and viral testing. Her research lab is currently home to 4 graduate students who work on various biting flies including black flies, mosquitoes and ceratopogonids (also known as "no-see-ums"). They are testing hypotheses about the evolution of sugar-feeding preferences in biting flies, and looking at the effects of different sugar meals on the transmission of West Nile virus by mosquitoes. Recently, she visited the Torngat Mountains National Park in the low Arctic of Labrador to conduct biting fly surveillance for Parks Canada.

I will talk about how species distributions are changing, and how that affects potential bloodmeal hosts. Are animals (including humans) at greater risk of contracting arthropod-borne diseases now than they were a century ago?
I'll draw on both my black fly work and mosquito work and will try to make it as entertaining (but informative) as possible!

March 21, 2013

" The Conservation and Preservation of Salamanders "

Speaker: Matt Ellerbeck

NOTE date is correct here and wrong in the newsletter
Salamander Matt Ellerbeck is someone who has always loved reptiles & amphibians. As a child he spent his summers in swamps and forests hoping to share some time with these fascinating creatures.
In doing so, salamanders were an animal that he often encountered. Over the years he has observed hundreds of salamanders in their natural habitats. This interest in salamanders finally led Matt to start a conservation and advocacy project for these creatures.
Salamanders are fortunate to have Matt as an advocate and ally. As a passionate and enthusiastic conservationist, Matt's endeavors have earned him several accolades. These include being presented with a special honorarium from the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority to recognize his dedication to conservation, a Green Globe Award nomination from the Commerce and Engineering Environmental Conference, and being named a Visionary by Within Kingston Magazine. He has aptly been described as " so full of enthusiasm, he looks like he will burst at any moment" by the South Frontenac Natural Environmental Committee, and as a 'true conservationist' by the educational coordinator of the Little Cat Creek Conservation Area. The Nature's Explorers Camp has hailed him as both a Habitat Hero and a Conservation Champion. British author Claire McClennan proclaimed that ''You (Matt) were obviously put on this earth to help salamanders!''

Salamanders are in a terrible crisis. Copious numbers of salamander species are disappearing from the wild at a daunting rate. Yet, due to their cryptic and secretive nature this decline largely goes unnoticed; and salamanders receive little attention. Join Salamander Conservationist - Matt Ellerbeck for an educational and insightful presentation on salamanders and their conservation. Presentation will include live salamanders.

February 21, 2013

" Birds, Mammals, and Scenes: Photographs from a Tanzanian Safari "

Speaker: John Allan

Lapwing John was born in Scotland, and came to Canada at fourteen. He completed his high school education in Ontario at Hamilton Central Secondary School and took an Honours B.A. in Economics at McMaster University in that same city. This was followed by graduate studies in economics at Princeton University from which he received both an A.M. and a Ph.D. While at Princeton, he was a Ford Foundation Fellow. Johns career has alternated between academe and public service. He has taught at Queens, McMaster and the University of Regina, and was Vice-President, Finance and Administration at the University of Windsor and the University of Regina. He is both Professor Emeritus and Vice-President Emeritus from the latter institution. In the public service, he has held senior executive positions in the federal Department of Finance and in the Alberta Treasury Department. He is the author or editor of nine books and many journal articles. Upon retirement from the University of Regina, he was appointed Senior Policy Fellow at the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy. Since coming to Kingston, he was invited to join the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queens University as Associate Director, and has since been appointed as a Fellow of the Institute. Among Johns community services were eight years on the Board of the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina; two years on the Board of the Regina Symphony Orchestra; three years on the Board of Regina Rotary; and he is a past President of the Canadian Club of Regina and of the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation. Since coming to Kingston, he has served on the Finance and Governance Committees of the Community Foundation of the Kingston Area and for four years on the Board of the Cataraqui Conservation Foundation. He is also a board member of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.

John will present photos and stories from a recent trip to Tanzania.

January 17, 2013

" Climate change and arctic-nesting shorebirds: species living on the edge "

Speaker: Erica Nol

Plover on nest Professor of Biology at Trent University since 1986. I have studied shorebirds in Ontario, the east coast of the United States, Argentina, Australia and in arctic Canada, during migration, winter and (primarily) during breeding. I am interested in the ecology and conservation of these diverse birds who traverse long distances from arctic and sub-arctic breeding grounds to southern latitudes where they concentrate in impressive numbers. I also study, with my students, and mostly in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the effects of anthropogenic factors such as logging, fragmentation, and more recently, farming practises, on songbird breeding success.

Erica in the Arctic Long-term research on arctic-nesting shorebirds has indicated that responses to climate change vary substantially depending on the ecology of the organism. Presenting data from three locations, and on four species of arctic or sub-arctic nesting shorebirds I show how climate change can be beneficial, only slightly negative or highly detrimental. I evaluate the very commonly applied 'mismatch' hypothesis for one species, show non-significant trends in demography to climate change in another, and then show how habitat change is likely to substantially reduce or eliminate populations of several other species, perhaps even in the short-term. The message is always the same: despite the sometimes beneficial responses to climate change, we need to reduce our carbon footprint, whether we like it or not.

November 15, 2012

" Journey to the Polar Regions "

Speaker: John and Janet Foster

John and Janet Foster have shared a passion for nature and the outdoors since they first met in l960, and began their broadcasting careers at CFTO-TV in Toronto. John had a farm background, and Janet was a dancer -- fresh out of the National Ballet Company of Canada. John went on to work for CBC as a farm commentator and natural science producer, and Janet combined her new television career with studies for her Doctorate in Canadian history at York University.
For the last 40 years they have brought a love of nature to their television documentaries. In the 1970s, they directed and hosted the CBC series To the Wild Country, and Wild Canada. By 1987 they had formed their own modest 2 person production company, filming and producing natural science programs for TVOntario, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, and the Discovery Channel. More recently their nine-part series, Discovering Wild Canada, was broadcast on CBC Newsworld.
They are the authors of To the Wild Country and Adventures in Wild Canada, books based on their television series. Janet has also published three non-fiction books for young readers: A Cabin Full of Mice; The Wilds of Whip-poor-will Farm, and Journey to the Top of the World. She is also the author of Working for Wildlife: the Beginning of Preservation in Canada
As well as being film makers, John and Janet are professional still photographers, and share their old farm at the edge of the woods in eastern Ontario, a farm they share with a suprising number of wildlife species.

This will inaugurate the Faith Avis Talks instituted to present high profile speakers. Faith was a longtime KFN member, President and Honourary President.

October 18, 2012

" Astro-photography "

Speaker: Michael S. Adler

M31Michael Adler worked at General Electric from 1971 until his retirement in 2000. From 1985 until retirement, he headed a laboratory of 150 people to develop power electronics and control systems for a wide variety of applications, and high-density electronic assemblies.
Mike worked as Senior Technical Director of Mechanical Technology Inc. (MTI), from 2000-2005 . MTI is involved with the development of micro fuel cells for powering portable electronic devices such as cell phones.
Mike graduated from MIT in 1971as a PHd in the area of solid state physics. In his early career at GE, Mike was involved with the development of a new generation of power semiconductors including the IGBT, the power MOSFET, and the power IC. He has published over 100 papers and was elected IEEE Fellow for his work in power devices.
Mike has been active in the IEEE for 30 years and was the IEEE President in 2003 and has been on the IEEE Board of Directors from 1996 to 2004.
Most recently, Mike has been pursuing his hobbies of astronomy and photography as well as traveling on two trips of a lifetime each year. Mike recently has combined his hobbies of astronomy and photography and is taking astro photographs using his 6 and 14 telescopes in Wyoming.
Mike is now a resident of Wyoming and he and his wife, Virginia, split their time when not traveling between homes in the Adirondacks and Jackson Hole WY. Virginia and Mike also enjoy sailing, hiking and camping, and skiing. He has also been giving talks on a number of topics in astronomy and cosmology to groups in NY including Paul Smiths college, Scientific American Lectures at the GE Research Center, and the Astronomy and Geology clubs in Jackson Hole.

The talk will focus on Astro-photography and a discussion how our observation of objects and phenomena in the universe is giving us a real understanding of the evolution of the universe.

September 20, 2012

" Natural history, science, and conservation "

Speaker: Dr. Paul Martin, Baillie Chair in Conservation Biology & Assistant Professor

M31I am an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Queens, interested in the origins and maintenance of diversity in nature. I use a broad array of approaches to address questions that interest me, and collaborate with many scientists in areas outside of my main research foci. All of my research is based on a deep appreciation for natural history. Much of my research takes place at the Queens University Biological Station (Ontario, Canada) and the Yanayacu Biological Station (Napo, Ecuador).

Natural history is the descriptive study of our natural world. In biology, natural history includes descriptions of the distributions, behaviours, ecology, physiology, and even genetic sequence of organisms. Natural history has played an instrumental role in the progress of science, but its importance is sometimes poorly recognized. I will talk about some of the major advances in science that have come from natural history studies, describe some of our own work on the natural history of poorly known birds, and will argue that natural history studies are needed now, more than ever, to further our understanding, and to protect, our natural world.

May 17, 2012

" May Dinner Meeting 2012 "

Speaker: This will be a tribute to Martin Edwards

Martin EdwardsAt the KFN Annual dinner meeting, Thursday May 17, we will pay tribute to the life of our Honourary President, Martin H. Edwards, who died February 16, 2012. Martin served the KFN from 1954 and as well as being President of our club, was also President of both the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Canadian Nature Federation.

Several fellow birders will share stories and photographs of Martins many adventures. Barbara Canton, Martins daughter will also show some of Martins own beautiful bird photos.


Meet with your fellow KFN members over dinner and participate in the Silent Auction organized by the McIntyres.
Cash Bar 6:00 PM, Dinner at 7:00 pm

Tickets are $30.00 each including tax and gratuity. They are available from Connie Gardiner,

Silent Auction of Books
Peter and Lorraine McIntyre will collect items for the silent auction to be held at the May dinner meeting providing enough books or other items are donated. If you have books on any natural history subject or items such as binoculars, telescopes tripods or other field equipment, please call Peter or Lorraine at 548-4738 to arrange for drop off.

April 19, 2012

" The Ontario Reptile & Amphibian Atlas "

Speaker: James Paterson Ontario Nature

James James is a biologist for Ontario Nature, a non-profit organization that protects wild species and wild places through conservation, education, and public engagement. He studied zoology at the University of Guelph and completed his masters in biology at Laurentian University in Sudbury. He has have been studying reptiles and amphibians for several years with a focus on turtles, and has several years of experience working with different species (including spotted turtles, Blandings turtles, snapping turtles, and painted turtles). His research has focused on habitat selection in relation to conservation, and his field work has taken him across the province and beyond. He has been coordinating the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas program for Ontario Nature since July 2011, and he enjoys sharing his enthusiasm and passion for conservation with others.

Turtle Reptiles and amphibians are a group of animals people love to hate. However, the 48 species of herpetofauna that call Ontario home are fascinating, beautiful, and full of surprises. Join James to learn more about this incredible group, why they are facing large declines in Ontario and beyond, and how you can become part of the solution. The Ontario Reptile & Amphibian Atlas ( is a citizen science project tracking the distribution and abundance of all species that occur in Ontario. This project is important for making conservation and land-use planning decisions in the province. Since its start in 2009, the atlas has more than doubled the number of records for this group of animals with the help of close to 600 participants. Learn to identify and report species in your region and become a contributing member of this large project. Participating in this program directly contributes to research and conservation, and is easy to do!

March 15, 2012

" Ticks in the 1000 Islands region "

Speaker: Lisa Werden

Lisa Werden Lisa is currently completing a Masters degree at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. In January, she will return to Gananoque to work as the interpretation coordinator at St. Lawrence Islands National Park in the 1000 Islands. Lisas interests in public safety and education and her background in science led her pursue a graduate research project looking at the causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, and its vector, the blacklegged tick, in the 1000 Islands region. In 2010, she spent the summer collecting thousands of ticks from the environment and off their small mammal hosts.

Lisa's talk will touch on tick identification, the life cycle of the blacklegged tick, the distribution of ticks and Borrelia burgdorferi in the 1000 Islands region, and the different factors that affect tick populations and the human risk of contracting Lyme disease in the region.

February 16, 2012

" City Bird, Country Bird: Mechanisms of Response to Urbanization "

Speaker: Fran Bonier

Fran is a NSERC Banting Postdoctoral Fellow with the Queen's University Biology Department, working with Professor Bob Montgomerie. She completed her MSc in Zoology at the University of Idaho, and her PhD in Zoology at the University of Washington in Seattle under the supervision of the founder of field endocrinology, John Wingfield. Fran's research interests revolve around questions of how organisms cope with challenges in their environment. She looks at both short-term responses to challenges, in terms of behavior, physiology, and life history, and also longer term demographic and evolutionary responses. She takes a diversity of approaches to addressing research questions, drawing on a wide array of tools from numerous disciplines including endocrinology, population genetics, hematology, behavioral ecology, and field biology. Her current research has two main foci: the hormonal mechanisms underlying life history allocation and the influence of the challenge of urbanization on the physiology, ecology, and behavior. Most of her research relies on field and comparative studies of birds.

More than half of the globe's human population now lives in urban areas, with a projected 70% of the human population of 9 billion expected to live in cities by 2050. Urbanization presents a challenge to many organisms and uniformly reduces biodiversity. Although most species do not persist in urban habitat, some not only persist, but appear to thrive in cities. How are species that thrive in urban centers different from those that do not? In our recent work, we find both population- and species-level differences related to ecology, physiology, and behaviour, suggesting that city birds differ from their country cousins in several important ways. These differences help explain the loss of diversity in cities and give insight into mechanisms for increasing biodiversity through careful planning and management of our urban centers.

January 19, 2012

" eBird bird records program "

Speaker: Mike Burrell

Mike Burrell is currently a biologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources. Since he was child, Mike has had a keen interest in birds and the natural environment. He grew up outside of Kitchener-Waterloo where he was an active member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists and regular participant in local Christmas Bird Counts. Since 2004, Mike has compiled the Kitchener CBC and at the same time created the Linwood CBC. Mike became "serious" about birds when he was a student intern at Long Point Bird Observatory. He has spend lots of time at Long Point since then as a volunteer and ran the Old Cut banding station in 2010. Mike studied biology at Trent University and completed his masters at University of Toronto where he studied birds in northeastern Ontario's boreal forest. Mike currently works for the MNR in Bancroft district working on several projects, which mostly deal with species-at-risk. For the past 3 years Mike has volunteered as the Ontario editor for ebird, a citizen science project that he is very passionate about.

Since its humble beginnings in 2002, ebird has captured the imagination of thousands of birders around the world. Birders are now flocking to the website to upload their bird sightings into the online database which is maintained by scientists and volunteers. Between 2006 (when the Canadian ebird portal was launched) and 2010, nearly 3000 users reported bird sightings to ebird. In Canada, Bird Studies Canada is the official partner managing ebird. The growth of ebird is incredible, and as membership increases so to does our understanding of bird distribution. ebird is already an important tool for making bird conservation decisions and will continue to be in the future. On top of its conservation implications, it opens up this vast amount of data to anyone interested and will surely make us all better birders and record keepers. There are lots of incentives too, with a variety of user stats available. Come hear more about what ebird is, how you can get involved, and what it is already teaching us about Ontario's birds.

November 17, 2011

" Some Arctic ecological tales "

Speaker: Paul Grogan, Queen's Biology

Paul is a terrestrial ecosystem ecologist and faculty member in the Department of Biology at Queens University ( He is particularly interested in plant-soil-microorganism interactions that significantly influence the cycling of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in terrestrial ecosystems. Paul has been doing research in Arctic tundra over the past 17 years in Europe, U.S.A. and Canada, and has also worked in boreal forest, local Ontario forest and abandoned farmland, mediterranean pine forest and annual grassland, and tropical hillslope agro-ecosystems.

Paul will talk about some of his research groups recent Arctic studies, and the natural history associated with them, and conclude by setting the results in the context of regional and global change.

October 20, 2011

" Birding Ocean Islands "

Speaker: Martin Edwards

Martin was raised on a dairy farm in Chilliwack, B.C., attended UBC and U.of T., and taught physics at RMC for 41 years. He is an emeritus professor of physics who bought his first binoculars in 1952, and has since birded in over 100 countries. As his hearing and eyesight have steadily got worse, he still keeps trying to see new species, and especially new genera. After all, there are nearly 2000 species of birds that he hasnt seen yet!

The talk will show photos of birds and other wildlife seen on six trips to ocean island groups, four in the Pacific Ocean, from New Zealand to the Aleutian Islands, and two in the Atlantic Ocean, from the Canary Islands to Svalbard.

September 15, 2011

" The Sky is Green: a brief natural history of Guyana "

Speaker: Mark Conboy

Mark Conboy is the Operations & Research Assistant/Outreach Coordinator at Queens University Biological Station. He has been a field biologist for over a decade, working and teaching all over Canada from the Arctic tundra to the Bay of Fundy to the forests of the Great Lakes, as well as in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Guyana. His main area of expertise is birds but he have wide interest in many other facets of natural history including trees, ferns, orchids, fish, butterflies and most recently longhorn beetles. He spends as much time as possible sauntering in wild places.

Guyana is nature's El Dorado: its a land thats teaming with life, decorated by macaws and tanagers, cloaked in a thousand shades of green and beholden to countless natural spectacles from humongous waterfalls to tiny delicate orchids. The phenomenal biodiversity of Guyana is widely regarded by naturalists and biologists but much of the country remains under-explored and insufficiently studied. Its pristine rainforests, sprawling savannas, rugged highlands and clean rivers are in large part untouched by humans. What better place for a naturalist to explore than a wild land where discovery awaits and pristine nature abounds. I visited Guyana in January 2011 to catch a glimpse of what life was like in a truly unspoiled rainforest. What I found was a country that inspired and amazed me.
My talk will be a brief introduction to the natural history of Guyana. Ill start our journey through Guyana with a photographic and audio expos of countrys weird, impressive and astonishing wildlife and plants. Then well take a closer look at the endemic giant tank bromeliad ecosystem found at Kaieteur Falls (the tallest single-drop waterfall on Earth), complete with its rare and highly specialized golden rocket frogs and colourful honeycreepers. Next well travel the whitewater rivers of Guyanas sprawling lowland rainforests where Ill introduce you to the diversity of fishes and other aquatic denizens found there; youll find out just why the word Guyana means Land of Waters. Finally well take a walk among the gigantic kapok and mora trees in search of one of the tropics deadliest animals, the bumblebee poison-dart frog.
The talk will be illustrated with spectacular wildlife photos by Philina English.

May 19, 2011

" A VOYAGE TO THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE: This is our May Dinner Meeting "

Speaker: Terence Dickinson, Editor, SkyNews Magazine

Terrence DickinsonAppointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1995, Terence Dickinson is the author of 14 astronomy books that have sold more than two millon copies worldwide. He is a former staff astronomer at the McLaughlin Planetarium in Toronto and has been a regular guest expert on CBC Radio and the Canadian Discovery Channel for many years. He is currently the editor of SkyNews magazine. In 1994, one of the asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter was officially named Dickinson in his honour by the International Astronomical Union for his ability to explain the universe in everyday language. He has a fully equipped observatory beside his home near the village of Yarker.

Night skyThe majesty of the night sky has fascinated humans since antiquity. In this highly illustrated presentation, astronomy author Terence Dickinson begins with the stars and constellations seen on a clear night from rural Ontario, then reveals the grandeur of the universe as seen through telescopes and by satellites and space probes. The program includes the most recent views of our neighbouring planets and moons as well as an update on the latest findings about the most distant objects in the universe.


Cash Bar 6:00 PM, Dinner at 7:00 pm

Tickets are $30.00 each including tax and gratuity. They are available at the General Meeting, April 21, or from Connie Gardiner,

Silent Auction of Books
Peter and Lorraine McIntyre will collect items for the silent auction to be held at the May dinner meeting providing enough books or other items are donated. If you have books on any natural history subject or items such as binoculars, telescopes tripods or other field equipment, please call Peter or Lorraine at 548-4738 to arrange for delivery.

In addition we will Silent Auction the beautiful photographs previously submitted for our KFN calendar.

April 21, 2011

" The Constricted Constrictor: The Life of the Black Ratsnake "

Speaker: Chris Robinson

Black ratsnake photoChris has long been interested in natural history, and is a member of the KFN. He studied biology at Trent University and then Outdoor & Experiential Education at Queens. Chris has worked as a naturalist in provincial parks for over 10 years, first at Algonquin Park and now currently at Charleston Lake Provincial Park, as the education coordinator, where Black Ratsnakes are regularly seen and prominently featured in the parks interpretive and education program. He loves spending much time outdoors, in addition to a contagious penchant for travel, to see people, places, and the natural world.

Black Ratsnakes have been restricted and constricted in Ontario by a number of factors including temperature, great lakes, and more recently habitat loss. The Frontenac Axis area near Kingston, is the Ontario stronghold of this at risk snake. Well delve into the amazing life history of Canadas longest snake, as well as into some of its direct challenges.

March 17, 2011

" Ontarios Bats: The Impacts of Wind Turbines and White-nose Syndrome "

Speaker: Lesley Hale, Science Specialist Renewable Energy

Lesley Hale works in the Science & Information Branch at the Ministry of Natural Resources in Peterborough. She coordinates and conducts research on bats across the province in relation to wind turbines and white-nose syndrome. She also provides science support in the development of policy for renewable energy in relation to birds and bats.

Bats play a critical role in Ontarios ecosystems as nocturnal insectivores and are considered one of North Americas most valuable species groups for agricultural pest control. Ontario has 8 species of bats, all of which are insectivorous. Due to their longevity and low fecundity, bats are quite vulnerable to environmental impacts. Unfortunately, there have been two recent introductions of environmental threats to bats: wind turbines and white-nose syndrome (WNS). Studies have found that wind turbines represent a greater risk to bats than birds, especially long distance migratory bats. However, science is helping develop effective measures to mitigate this impact to bats. We are currently working with the University of Western Ontario on a research project in southwestern Ontario to learn more about migratory bat movements in order to determine high risk areas for wind power development. WNS is a disease responsible for unprecedented mortality in hibernating bats in northeastern US and Canada. The fungus, known as Geomyces destructans, has spread rapidly since its discovery Albany, NY in 2006. The fungus is found on hibernating bats and is killing cave-dwelling species at a rate that could place a number of species at risk of extinction or at least regional extirpation within the next 20 years. The Ministry of Natural Resources is working with partners such as the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to develop and conduct research projects in the province to improve our understanding of the impacts of these threats to our local populations and developing methods for controlling the spread of the fungus.

February 17, 2011

" Algonquin to Adirondacks Conservation Association "

Speaker: Emily Conger

Biography Emily Conger Born 1946 Albany, New York, raised in Virginia, educated the University of Wisconsin, University of Victoria, and Queens University Immigrated to Canada in 1969, maintains dual citizenship Settled on a farm on the Frontenac Axis in 1970 Taught and served as a consultant for what is now the Upper Canada District School Board from 1971 until retirement June, 2001 Became involved in environment issues in the late 1970s, opposing the building of a nuclear power plants along the St. Lawrence River; continues to work on environment, peace and social justice issues in a variety of groups including the Gananoque River Waterways Association (Past President), Local Flavours, Casino Watch (President), and as Director of Communities A.L.I.V.E. (a Gananoque based group promoting sustainability) Worked at the township and county levels on waste management issues, serving for 3 years as Chairperson of the Public Liaison Committee of the Waste Management Master Plan Study for Leeds and Grenville Counties,1988-1995 With her partner, Cameron Smith, helped to build a community group which fundraised, purchased and donated roughly 256 acres to The Nature Conservancy (now owned by Ontario Nature), to create the the Lost Bay Nature Preserve, one connectivity link on the Frontenac Axis Joined Algonquin to Adirondacks Conservation Association (A2A), December1999, president of the organization since March, 2002-present Represents NGOs in Sustaining What We Value, a group working to determine what a Natural Heritage System should be in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere area, 2009-present

The Algonquin to Adirondacks Conservation Associations (A2A) main aim is to coordinate efforts to preserve and connect wildlife habitat in the unique region between Algonquin Park in Ontario and Adirondack State Park in New York. Due to its history and geography, this region is home to a vast array of different plants and animals, including many at risk of extinction, and it is the only viable north-south wildlife movement link in eastern North America. Preserving and connecting habitat connectivity here is critical. A2A believes that working respectfully with landowners, partnering organizations and governments at all levels is key to accomplishing our goals.

January 20, 2011

" When Life Got Big: the Mistaken Point Fossils of Newfoundland "

Speaker: Professor Guy Narbonne, Queens University

Guy Narbonne received his PhD in paleontology from the University of Ottawa and has been teaching at Queens University since 1982. His research is focused on the worlds first experiment in multicellularity, the soft-bodied fossils of the Ediacara biota, and he has written more than 80 refereed scientific papers and a book on this subject. He is the winner of numerous Best Presentation and Best Paper awards, the Queens University Prize for Excellence in Research (2008), the Billings Medal for outstanding lifetime contribution to Canadian paleontology (2009), and was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 2010. His discoveries have been reported in Time Magazine and National Geographic, on the CBC National News and Quirks and Quarks, and in television documentaries by Attenborough, Suzuki, and others. His greatest joy at Queens University is teaching his popular 1st year course in History of Life to students from nearly every department and program across the university.

Although microbial fossils extend through the Proterozoic and Archean, large recognizable fossils did not appear until just before the Cambrian explosion of life, a fact noted even by Charles Darwin in writing The Origin of Species. Fossils of the Mistaken Point assemblage (580-560 million years old) on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland represent the oldest large and complex organisms in Earth history, and superbly tell the story of when life got big after three billion years of microbial evolution. The oldest Mistaken Point fossils abruptly appeared immediately following the last of the Proterozoic snowball glaciations and concurrent with a large rise in atmospheric oxygen. More than 20 fossil species are present, ranging from cm-scale discs to fronds nearly two meters in length. All of them represent soft-bodied creatures living on a deep-sea bottom that were killed and preserved as fossils when they were catastrophically covered by eruptions volcanic ash. One form may represent an ancestral sponge but most are rangeomorphs, a failed experiment in fractal life that dominated the first 25 million years of multicellular evolution but went extinct before the beginning of the Cambrian. The position of Mistaken Point near the base of animal life has led to recent visits by NASA astrobiologists and Sir David Attenborough, and it is currently on the tentative list for a UNESCO World Heritage Site (decision expected in 2014).

November 18, 2010

" Boobies, upwellings, the Pacific Ocean, and Mangoes: thoughts from adventures in Peru and Chile "

Speaker: Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor graduated with a BSc. H. from the University of Guelph in 2006 and began his graduate studies with Dr. Vicki Friesen at Queens University in September 2006. During his time as an undergraduate student he worked as a naturalist at both MacGregor Point and Rondeau Provincial Parks leading hikes and participating in park research. Always interested in the natural world, Scott has had the opportunity to work on numerous field projects ranging from endangered plant monitoring to field sampling on the famous Peruvian guano islands, and is nearing the completion of this PhD research.

The desert islands along the coasts of Peru and Chile support some of the largest populations of seabirds in the world, and are most famous for the high quality guano produced by the abundant seabird populations. This guano was once an important source of income for Peru, and the management of Peruvian seabirds for the sustainable production of guano is one of the first examples of successful wildlife resource management. The nutrient rich upwelling now supports the largest single species fishery in the world and guano is no longer such an important resource; however, the system still support millions of seabirds. This talk will explore the ecology and history of the guano islands and illuminate connections between seabird population differentiation and the upwelling environment. Specifically, the talk will concentrate on population differentiation in Peruvian and blue-footed boobies, and in Peruvian pelicans, as it relates to the selective pressures of this nutrient rich, but sometimes unpredictable, marine ecosystem. Along the way youll hear about the challenges of field work on isolated desert islands and discover why mangoes were an important part of the projects success.

October 21, 2010

" Exploring the Lives of Bats. "

Speaker: Dr. Brock Fenton

M.B. (Brock) Fenton received his Ph.D. in 1969 for work in the ecology and behaviour of bats. Since then he has held academic positions at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada 1969 to 1986), York University (Toronto, Canada 1986 to 2003) and the University of Western Ontario (2003 to present). He has published about 200 papers in refereed journals (most of them about bats), as well as numerous nontechnical contributions. He has written three books about bats intended for a general audience (Just bats 1983, University of Toronto Press; Bats 1992 - revised edition 2001 Facts On File Inc; and The bat: wings in the night sky 1998, Key Porter Press). He has supervised the work of 45 M.Sc. Students and 20 Ph.D. students who have completed their degrees. He currently supervises 4 M.Sc. students and 4 Ph.D. students. He continues his research on the ecology and behaviour of bats, with special emphasis on echolocation. He currently is Professor and Chair, Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Fenton will review some of the more intriguing features of the lives of bats, from their exceptional longevity to their use of biosonar (echolocation). This means looking at the evolutionary history of bats as well as information from living species. He also will consider interactions between bats and people, from those associated with folklore to others involving the spread of diseases. For Brock, bats are a life-long addiction.

September 16, 2010

" A Birding Trip to Brazil "

Speaker: Kurt Hennige and Rob Worona

Robert Worona recognizes the summer of 1979 as the year he started birding even though he remembers seeing a Red-headed Woodpecker in Kingston Township when he was five years old. In 1979 he was in northern Saskatchewan working as a geologist and it was the thought of seeing new birds that really inspired him. As a geologist he worked in Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec, NWT and Nunavut even before it was Nunavut and all that time he kept a bird list. His travels have taken him to the United States, Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil. He has been a breeding bird atlas volunteer in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and is currently contributing to the British Columbia atlas. Robert lives and birds in Calgary, Alberta. Kurt Hennige grew up near Baden, Germany. He developed an interested in the natural world and in bird conservation at an early age. He remembers doing weekly bird surveys at age 12. While growing up he managed to visit many parts of Europe on birding trips, before immigrating to Canada in 1982. A KFN member since 1983 and on the Executive for 8 Years as Field Trip coordinator, he has organized and lead several private and custom tours for KFN-members to Latin America.

In March of 2009 Robert and Kurt spent three weeks in three different region of Brazil on a private tour. Their talk will feature this trip and will include many photographs.

May 20, 2010

" The Reluctant Twitcher "

Speaker: Richard Pope

"Richard Pope, author of Me n Len: Life in the Haliburton Bush 1900-1940 and the voyageur epic Superior Illusions, is a recently retired professor of Russian literature and culture at York University and a long-standing member of the Toronto Ornithological club and the Ontario Field Ornothologists. He and his wife, Felicity, live in Cobourg, Ontario. Richard has been birding all his life; he began his "heard only" list five months before birth.

Richard will be doing a reading for us from his recently published book, The Reluctant Twitcher: A Quite Truthful Account of My Big Birding Year and will welcome questions and discussion. The theme of the book is birding in Ontario - chasing 300 birds in a year - and the presentation will be entertaining. The book has been nominated for the Leacock humour award.

This is our annual dinner meeting.

Tickets $30, available till Saturday, May 15 from Jackie Bartnik (613 - 531-3736) Janis Grant (613-548-3668) or Alexandra Simmons (613 - 542-2048 or

April 15, 2010

" The Buprestid Hunter: Enlisting a native wasp in the search for beetles. "

Speaker: Philip Careless

Born and raised in Toronto, Philip has had an obsessive interest in nature all his life. Delighted to discover you can get a degree studying stuff you love, he completed his Masters in Entomology at the University of Guelph and has continued biosurveillance research working with the CFIA and USDA. In his efforts to collect all sorts of insects (and to the distress of his family) Philip has the tendency to fill freezers with dead bugs and topping off crisper drawers with over-wintering pupa.

The beetle-hunting wasp Cerceris fumipennis, which is native to southern Ontario, provisions its subterranean nests almost exclusively with adult metallic wood-boring beetles (Buprestidae), including the destructive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Distribution and unique behaviour renders C. fumipennis a potential ally to our efforts to monitor EAB in Canada and the United States. Current monitoring methods for EABs are costly, labour intensive and at times destructive or impractical. So we are experimenting with a novel solution for a complex monitoring problem: using a wasp to find the beetle.

March 18, 2010

" Short-Eared Owls Study "

Speaker: Kristen Keyes

Kristen graduated from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in May 2007 with an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Science. She then spent some time volunteering and traveling in southern Africa before starting her Masters at the Macdonald campus of McGill University in September 2008. While Kristen is actively involved with both passerine and Northern Saw-whet Owl migration monitoring efforts at the McGill Bird Observatory, her research is focused on the movement patterns and habitat use of the Short-eared Owl during both the breeding and wintering seasons. Most of her fieldwork is focused on Amherst and Wolfe Islands, and Kristen is very appreciative of the generous assistance of several members of the KFN who have been conducting weekly Short-eared Owl surveys on the islands since November. At the continental scale, she is collecting feathers from across Canada and the United States to investigate movement patterns through the use of stable isotope analysis. Within the context of current concerns regarding observed declines in the North American Short-eared Owl population, Kristen will present the progress to date of all aspects of her research project.

February 18, 2010

" "Recent research on the role of grizzlies and Pacific salmon in coastal BC ecosystems". "

Speaker: Dr. Barrie Gilbert

Dr. Barrie K. Gilbert is Senior Scientist (retired), Utah State University. After receiving his B.A. in Biology from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, he earned a PhD in ecology at Duke University. His specialty is behavioral and conservation ecology, especially the application of behavioral science to management of human-wildlife interactions. His recent research has focused on the impacts of roads, access and recreation on bears and other carnivores, their habitat, and plans to minimize or eliminate these impacts at a protected area scale. He began studying bears in 1974 and started working with coastal B.C. bears in 1996, directing graduate studies there from 1997-2004. He has traveled by foot, boat and air into dozens of drainages on the central and north coast. His research experience has extended more than 35 years and included studies of deer, moose, pronghorn, coyotes, African hunting dogs, dolphins, bears (black, brown, polar), Jungle Fowl and survey and population monitoring of birds in Puerto Rico and Cayman Islands. For the last 15 years he directed studies of human-bear interactions along salmon streams in Katmai National Park, AK, and in Southeast Alaska, and more recently in the coastal rainforests of British Columbia. Dr. Gilbert consulted for Canadian and U.S. federal, provincial and state agencies on forest wildlife conservation issues, grizzly bear responses to people, and habitat needs of bears.

Coastal brown/grizzly bears that feed mainly on salmon can attain population densities that are extraordinary. Our behaviour studies of bears protected from hunting identified up to 70 individuals coming to one stream segment. Dr. Gilbert's presentation will illustrate the role of bears in transporting nutrients from salmon into the forests and learned behaviour of grizzlies that underlies their high populations. Some implications for bears of declining salmon, bear hunting and guided tourism will be explored, especially for coastal BC and Alaska where the speaker has led field research since 1983.

January 21, 2010

" Colonial Water Birds of the Great Lakes. "

Speaker: Dr. Chip Weseloh

Dr. Weseloh has worked for the Canadian Wildlife Service since 1978. He has spent all of that time investigating colonial water-birds on the Great Lakes. He will treat us to results of Great Lakes-wide surveys as well as species-specific surveys for the likes of cormorants, Great Egrets, Black Terns, Little Gulls, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls and others. He and his fellow workers are the ones who have been responsible for the bird blinds that many of our members may have seen on Snake, Salmon and Pigeon Islands over the years. He has spent many nights in those blinds watching for colour-banded birds. He will tell us his stories. Chip is also co-author of a chapter on the colonial water-birds in the Kingston area in the 2008 edition of the Birds of the Kingston Region (see page 545).

December 17, 2009

" Members' Night: Various members will be showing their slides "


All members are invited to show their best 10 slides or short videos. To participate call Erwin Batalla at 613 542 2048.

November 19, 2009

" Walking with Wolf "

Speaker: Kay Chornook

Kay Chornook was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, but as a teenager went to live amongst the rocks, trees and lakes of northern Quebec and Ontario. She visited Monteverde, Costa Rica, as a volunteer in 1990, fell in love with the people and the rainforest, and has returned each year. Ten years later, Kay moved back to Hamilton, an industrial city undergoing a vibrant artistic renaissance, and found herself enamored with her birthplace, so she stayed. Kay has a Diploma in Horticulture from the University of Guelph - she had every intention of moving to the far north and getting involved with northern agriculture - and then she met a palm tree in Costa Rica and changed her idea. She has been involved in numerous environmental organizations and supports the struggle for peace and justice. Kay has published numerous human interest articles for newspapers as well as contributed a chapter to Circles of Strength: Community Alternatives to Alienation, New Society Publishers, 1992.

Walking with Wolf was created through a collaboration between Kay Chornook and Wolf Guindon, Quaker, father, pioneer & conservationist. Wolf provided the stories, told to a tape recorder while walking through the jungle, and Kay put them to paper, adding her own observations, research, and commentary. Over seventeen years they worked together to record Wolf's oral history and eventually produce this book, a labor of love that reflects their respect and concern for the future of our planet. Her talk will include photographs of Costa Rica, readings from the book and historical and biological information from Monteverde.

October 15, 2009

" KFN: Moving Forward But Some Distance to Go "

Speaker: John Cartwright

JC started as a naturalist at an early age, first keeping a yearly bird list at age 11 (1948), and joined the Kingston Nature Club at its founding in 1949. During the 1950s, he became one of the more active birders in the Kingston area while studying political science at Queen's, and kept his interest as he then moved around Canada and West Africa. While teaching at the University of Western Ontario, he began to develop his concerns about the natural environment into courses on the politics of the environment, including the protection of natural areas, until, by the time of his retirement in 2003, this had become his major academic focus. He also has been involved in a range of nature and conservation organizations, including the McIlwraith Field Naturalists of London, the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, the Canadian Nature Federation, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, as well as the Ontario and Alberta Breeding Bird Atlases, breeding bird surveys and frog counts, the Kananaskis eagle watch, and occasional bird banding in Calgary, Ottawa and Costa Rica.

September 17, 2009

" PCB Concentrations are Increasing in Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie Forage Fish: A Result of the Dreissenid Mussel Invasions? "

Speaker: Todd French

Todd French is an aquatic ecologist with interests in contaminant cycling in freshwater ecosystems, rooted macrophyte ecology, and phytoplankton dynamics. He did his B.Sc. in biology at the University of Victoria and his M.Sc. in macrophyte ecology at the University of Alberta. After completing his M.Sc. in 1994, Todd worked for about 10 years as a consultant to not-for-profit conservation organizations and the BC Ministry of Environment, directly for the BC Ministry of Environment and Upper Fraser-Nechako Fisheries Council and as a part-time laboratory instructor at the College of New Caledonia. He then returned to school to undertake Ph.D. research at Queen's University where he is now in his final year of study.

May 21, 2009

" Thoughts From the Pied Piper on Nature "

Speaker: Terry Sprague

Reminder: This is our annual May Dinner meeting and will be held at the Italo-Canadian Club (west off Montreal Street, north of Highway 401. Cash bar at 6:00pm, dinner at 6:30.

For almost 25 years, Terry Sprague has seldom been on a hike without instinctively glancing over his shoulder to make sure everyone is okay. Learn about some of the cool places he has taken people, and the topics they discuss - everything from natural history to human history. His hikes and paddle trips are about more than just birds - its stories about mammals, herptiles, insects, wildflowers, sawmills, logging camps, agriculture, and the people who shaped these areas. During his interpretation of nature, Terry has experienced a number of amusing incidents and misadventures, like the time a Main Duck Island water snake wrapped itself around his leg as he was discussing snake myths to a group of hikers, or how he once got a group of hikers lost, but managed to lead them back to the parking lot, on time, and without admitting a thing. The presentation will take us to conservation areas, cemeteries, islands, wetlands, creeks and rivers, proving that nature and history is where you find it, often within a short distance of our own backyard.

April 16, 2009

" Bird Colouration "

Speaker: Dr. Troy Murphy

Troy Murphy from Phoenix Arizona, completed his Ph.D. at Cornell in 2005, and has spent the last many years at Queens on an international postdoc. He will be starting an assistant professor position at Trinity University in San Antonio Texas this summer. Troys research program focuses on animal communication and the adaptive significance of elaborate female traits.

Females can be flashy too: Ornamental females signal to predators and competitors When elaborate plumage is found in males, it is typically thought to function as a mate-choice signal. However, when both males and females are ornately decorated, this presents a paradox because females generally do not evolve ornaments to solicit mates. I will discuss how the Turquoise-browed Motmot wags its tail in an elaborate display to communicate with predators that it is aware of a threat and is prepared to escape. And I will discuss aviary experiments with American goldfinches and simulated territorial intrusions with tropical orioles that show that females can evolve signals that convey information about their fighting ability.

March 19, 2009

" From English Roses to Canadian Wildflowers: Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill in Two Worlds "

Speaker: Michael Peterman

Michael Peterman is Professor Emeritus and recently retired from Trent University where he taught for 35 years. He has written extensively on Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill, having worked on their letters, editions of their famous books, and the stories of their lives. "Sisters in Two Worlds: A Pictorial Biography of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill" (Doubleday Canada, 2007) is his most recent book. He has also written on Isabella Valancy Crawford, Robertson Davies, Timothy Findley, Margaret Laurence, Willa Cather and Edith Wharton, and for 15 years edited "The Journal of Canadian Studies." He is a member of the Royal Society and, with his wife Cara, splits his time between homes in Peterborough and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Professor Peterman will present a slide show drawn in part from "Sisters in Two Worlds" (2007). While he will speak about the contrasting lives led by the sisters in England and colonial Canada, he will also address their contributions to the representation (through paintings by Moodie) and the description of Canadian flora in their various works (notably Traill's "Canadian Wild Flowers" [1868] and "Plant Life in Canada" [1884]).

February 19, 2009

" Coral Reefs and Condoms "

Speaker: Dr. Lena K. McPhee

Dr. McPhee's education and background: B.Sc., '68 - McGill, D.D.S., '72 -McGill Private general dentistry practice in Amherstview '72-'93 M.Sc., '97 - Queen's (algal physiology -Dave Turpin, supervisor) Ph.D., '02 - Queen's (fluorescence in tropical corals - Peter Boag, supervisor) "volunteer post-doc" Paul Young's lab '07-present She is also an avid diver in tropical waters and an "interested bystander regarding coral reefs

A defining theme of the 11th International Coral reef Symposium is that the news for coral reef ecosystems is far from encouraging. Climate change is now much faster than in an ice-age transition, and coral reefs continue to suffer fever-high temperatures as well as sour ocean conditions. Corals may be falling behind, and there appears to be no special silver bullet remedy. Nevertheless, there are hopeful signs that we should not despair. Reef ecosystems respond vigorously to protective measures and alleviation of stress. For concerned scientists, managers, conservationists, stakeholders, students, and citizens, there is a great role to play in continuing to report on the extreme threat that climate change represents to earth's natural systems. Urgent action is needed to reduce CO2 emissions. In the interim, we can and must buy time for coral reefs through increased protection from sewage, sediment, pollutants, overfishing, development, and other stressors, all of which we know can damage coral health. The time to act is now. The canary in the coral-coal mine is dead, but we still have time to save the miners. We need effective management rooted in solid interdisciplinary science and coupled with stakeholder buy-in, working at local, regional, and international scales alongside global efforts to give reefs a chance.

January 15, 2009

" Great Lakes of the World "

Speaker: Dr. Linda Campbell, Queen's University

Combined, the Great Lakes of the world, contains the vast bulk of the world's surface fresh water. They include the five great lakes in North America, the three great lakes of eastern Africa and Lake Baikal in Russia. Those lakes also are among the world's most important sites for biodiversity and endemic terrestrial and aquatic species, yet are understudied and rarely considered as part of everyday life by ordinary citizens. Recently, a symposium was held at last year's annual Society of Conservation Biology meeting, where experts from around the world was brought together to discuss the natural history, biodiversity, human health and economics of the Great Lakes, where we realized how much yet how little even foremost Great Lakes researchers and managers know about the world's Great Lakes! In this seminar, I will present some of my experiences with the Great Lakes in Africa and North America, the only two sets of Great Lakes in the world, with photographs and insights into their unique natural history. Then we will cover the concerns and policy issues that were raised by international experts at the SCB symposium, and what we can do to resolve those issues as citizens. Finally, given that we live in Kingston right next to Lake Ontario, our very own Great Lake, I hope to discuss with the audience how Lake Ontario is important to our everyday lives.

November 20, 2008

" Birds of Australia "

Speaker: Martin Edwards

Raised on a dairy farm in Chilliwack, BC, attended UBC and U of T, started at RMC in Physics in 1954 retiring in 1995. Began birdwatching in 1952 and quickly got in to conservation organizations. Served as president of KFN, FON, and CNF and on the council of the World Conservation Union. One of the founding members of the CRCA, and currently still in the Species Survival Commission and Commission on Environmental Law of the World Conservation Union.

In the fall of 2007 Dr. Edwards spend a month chasing birds in Australia. His talk will feature this adventure and will include many of his beautiful photographs.

October 16, 2008

" Migratory songbirds: canaries in the mine? "

Speaker: Bridget Stutchbury

Bridget Stutchbury is a professor of biology at York University in Toronto and author of Silence of the Songbirds. Since the 1980s, she has studied migratory songbirds like the Hooded Warbler, Purple Martin, Scarlet Tanager and Wood Thrush. Her research includes studies on the breeding behavior of songbirds and the effects of habitat loss on their nesting success and winter survival. In Silence of the Songbirds, Stutchbury follows migrants from the tropical forests of Panama to the boreal forest of Canada to understand why populations are declining and how each of us can make the world safer for songbirds.

September 18, 2008

" Conservation by Design: Planning and Action in Eastern Ontario "

Speaker: Gary Bell

Gary P Bell is the Eastern Ontario Program Manager for Nature Conservancy of Canada. Gary joined NCC in 2006 after nearly 20 years working with U.S.-based "The Nature Conservancy" (TNC) as Area Ecologist in Southern California and most recently as Director of Conservation Science for New Mexico. His work for TNC included the bi-national "Ecoregional Assessment of the Chihuahuan Desert" and leading TNC's "Global Habitat Assessments" for Aridlands and Tundra. Gary received his B.Sc. from Queen's University and holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Carleton University.

In 2007 the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) completed a conservation plan for the Frontenac Arch, detailing priority conservation actions and identifying key acquisitions for the next five years. This science-based approach to land conservation enables NCC to be more selective and strategic in the properties and projects it takes on with the goal of directing limited resources toward a bigger picture of conservation at the landscape level. This year NCC completed a similar plan for the Napanee Plain and this fall will embark on a plan for Prince Edward County and the Kingston Plain. Gary Bell will detail the Frontenac Arch plan and discuss recent land acquisitions that have come out of this planning effort.

May 22, 2008

" Nature into Art - creating colour illustrations for a new Peterson Field guide to mammals of North America "

Speaker: Fiona Reid

Fiona A. Reid spent many years capturing small mammals and drawing them from life for her new book: A Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America. An accomplished writer and artist, she has written and/or illustrated numerous guides, including A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico, The Golden Guide to Bats of the World, Bats of Papua New Guinea, and Mammals of the Neotropics (volumes 13). Fiona is a Departmental Associate in Mammalogy at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the Royal Ontario Museum, in Toronto, Canada. She has led nature tours for the past two decades, showing ecotourists the mammals and other wildlife of diverse lands from Brazil to Indonesia, and Alaska to Venezuela. She lives on the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario with her husband and two children.

The 2008 KFN May Dinner Meeting will be held on Thursday May 22 (Note that this is the FOURTH Thursday in May) at the Italo-Canadian Club (west off Montreal Street, north of Highway 401). Cash bar 6:00 p.m.; dinner 6:30 p.m. Tickets at $27 each are available at the March and April General Meetings, or from John Critchley ( 613- 634-5475), Jackie Bartnik ( 613 - 531-3736), Janis Grant ( 613-548-3668 ) or Alexandra Simmons ( 613 - 542-2048 or Please purchase your tickets by Saturday May 19. Please indicate choice of main dish (Roast Pork , Chicken Supreme, Filet of Sole or Stuffed Pepper with Rice and Vegetables) when purchasing tickets.

April 17, 2008

" All About Bluebirds - and More "

Speaker: John Rogers

John Rogers has maintained a trail of hundreds of bluebird nest boxes in central NY for over 35 years, and has fledged over 11,000 Eastern Bluebirds. He is a recognized authority on bluebird conservation, and has done slide programs, field trips, and workshops for hundreds of groups. John was a cofounder of the New York State Bluebird Society in 1982. He is a recipient of the John and Nora Bluebird Conservation Award from the North American Bluebird Society, and a past board member of that organization. John holds a BA in Biology from SUNY Oswego.

This presentation encompasses the life history of the Eastern Bluebird, nest box management, other birds that nest in bluebird boxes and more. The theme throughout is nature appreciation. The focus is on bluebirds, but John also shares his passion for the natural world in hopes the audience will absorb some broader and deeper messages. With visually beautiful photographs, creative graphics, and a sincere, enthusiastic presentation style, this program is of interest to anyone who appreciates nature.

The presentation includes the following:

Factors for why bluebirds declined, with a focus on starlings/house sparrows/habitat loss.

Natural nesting sites of bluebirds in abandoned woodpecker holes and natural cavities, photos of the woodpeckers present in this area, and a brief discussion of cavity nesters.

Optimal habitat for bluebirds, and proper placement and management of nest boxes etc.

The nesting cycle establishing territories, courtship, courtship song, nest building, egg laying and incubation, raising young, fledging.

Feeding the four primary feeding methods and primary food sources

A few common wildflowers, butterflies, and dragonflies of this area.

A quick quiz on Ontarios official plants and animals. Thought provoking nature quotes by a few great naturalists of the past.

Other birds that nest in bluebird nest boxes (swallows, wrens, house sparrows, black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice).

Predators and parasites raccoons, cats, squirrels, blowflies, jewel wasps.

March 20, 2008

" The Essential Truth An Exploration of three Eastern Ontario Provincial Parks "

Speaker: David Bree

David grew up in Almonte, Ontario in the Ottawa Valley and developed an interest in the natural world at an early age, remembering the birds at the winter feeder and the spring wildflowers in the bushlot behind his home. After high school he pursued a formal education in the field of Geology, receiving a B.Sc. from Waterloo in 1983, and a M.Sc. from Queen's in 1990. David joined the KFN in 1985 and served one term on the executive when he lived in Kingston.

Since 1988 he has worked as a seasonal naturalist in the Provincial Park system, including 4 years at Charleston Lake, 8 years at Bon Echo, 1 year at Sandbanks, 4 years at Petroglyphs Provincial Park and one year at Algonquin. Since 2006 he has been the full-time Naturalist at Presquile Provincial Park. For the last 21 years he has lived in Prince Edward County, though seasonal work has allowed time for international travel. Along with his wife Yvette he has managed to enjoy the natural world in six continents over the last 20 years, with most recently a trip to Peru.

While all aspects of nature are of interest to David his early interests focused on the study of birds, vascular plants, and geology. In the last nine years insects have become his passion and has pursued these throughout east-central Ontario. Dragonflies in particular have been a favourite study area, along with butterflies and moths.

An exploration of Charleston Lake Provincial Park, Bon Echo Provincial Park and Sandbanks Provincial Park to find the essential element (at least in the eyes of the speaker) of each park. The underlying geology and geomorphology and how it controls what we see on the surface features prominently.

February 21, 2008

" Hope for the Wood God: On the Trail of the Ivory billed Woodpecker in the Florida Panhandle "

Speaker: Dr. Wallace Rendell

Wallace Rendell received his PhD from Queen's University studying the breeding and behavioural ecology of Tree Swallows with his long-time mentor and friend, Raleigh Robertson. During his biology research career he's been involved with projects studying a wide variety of topics, including acid rain effects on north temperate lakes, and the effects of physical and chemical factors influencing recruitment of marine fish fry. Mostly, however, his interests lay in bird breeding ecology. He spent over a year of his life in Galapagos working on Darwin's Finches and Masked Boobies, and most recently he conducted investigations into egg-laying sequence and the influence of food quality on breeding success in Eastern and Western Bluebirds in Ontario and California. Currently, he is a Professor of Biosciences at Loyalist College in Belleville, and the Recording Secretary and an Officer of the Board for the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory.

Dr. Rendell reviews the natural history of the ivory-billed woodpecker, it's many extinctions and rediscoveries, the evidence for its continued presence in the Florida panhandle, and the part he played in helping a joint Auburn-Windsor university team gather this evidence.

January 17, 2008

" The Importance of Montane Environments in the Origins of Neotropical Biodiversity. "

Speaker: Dr. Steven Lougheed

Stephen Lougheed is an Associate Professor in Biology, cross-appointed to Environmental Studies, at Queens University. His research primarily centres on understanding the origins of vertebrate species diversity in the Americas, with projects spanning phylogenetics and biogeography to population and conservation genetics of mostly amphibians, squamate reptiles and birds. He has taught field and wildlife courses in South, Middle and North America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

The Neotropics, and especially lowland Amazonia, are widely celebrated as housing the greatest array of terrestrial diversity on the planet. Yet for some groups it is not the lowlands but montane environments where we find the highest concentration of species. Indeed some biologists have posited that montane regions act as species pumps that might provide at least some of the complement of diversity at lower altitudes. For this talk, I will speak broadly to the theme of montane diversity with reference to western Mexico where I recently taught a field course, and western South America where my students and I have been conducting some phylogeographic work on birds and frogs.

December 13, 2007

" Members Night: Various members will be showing their slides. "


November 15, 2007

" Turtle Conservation "

Speaker: Matt Ellerbeck

Matt Ellerbeck is someone who has always loved turtles. In his childhood he spent every summer in marshes and ponds just so he could spend sometime with these creatures. In 2007 he decided to start a turtle conservation project due to his growing concern over declining turtle populations. In January 2007 Matt gave his debut turtle presentation for the Friends of Big Sandy Bay group on Wolfe Island. Throughout the year Matt traveled in and around the Kingston area to give numerous presentations on turtles and turtle conservation. In April he went to the Cat Creek Conservation Area where he gave two consecutive turtle presentations for a very packed house! The shows drew the largest audience in attendance at Cat Creek for Winter/Spring 2007. Other highlights included two days at the Kingston Baby and Kid Show, the Second Annual GreenUP! Environmental Festival, and presentations at all the Kingston Libraries as part of the 'Friends of The Library' series. In fact, tickets for his presentation at the Isabel Turner Library were gone within 10 minutes of becoming available! The presentation at the Central branch also saw every ticket being swapped up for the presentation. Aside from presentations Matt has appeared in local media to help further get his message out to the public. He appeared on CFRC Radio, Fly FM Radio, CKWS Newswatch, and has been featured three times in the Kingston This Week Newspaper. To further get the message out, articles on turtles were written. His article 'Turtles in Torment' was published in the Kingston Field Naturalist's publication, The Blue Bill. His article 'Helping To Reduce Turtle Road Mortality, One Sign At A Time' was released in the Amphibian Voice. The Amphibian Voice is the official newsletter of the Adopt-A-Pond programme of the Toronto Zoo. To further help turtles a great deal of the summer months is spent out in the field trying to gather observations of turtles. In May Matt records over 80 sightings of Northern Map Turtles along the Cataraqui River. This is very important as this turtle is federally listed as a Species At Risk by the Committee On The Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The information is sent into various local authorities as well as Turtle Watch and the Ontario Turtle Tally. In June, Matt records numerous sightings of the threatened Blanding's Turtle at an undisclosed location. Matt is later informed by Turtle Watch that this is the first record of these turtles in this place. Matt is more than elated to find out that he has recorded a previously undocumented population of a threatened species! In July, he returned there to release three baby Blanding's turtles back into the wild. The turtles had been under the care of Turtle SHELL Tortue. To help combat turtle road mortality, Matt has been instrumental in getting five turtle crossing signs erected in and around the Kingston area. Matt has numerous more plans to help turtles for 2008, including more turtle presentations and stewardship projects.

During his presentation to the KFN Matt will share his passion for turtles and describe how all of us can participate in preserving this ancient creature.

October 18, 2007

" Conservation Status of North American White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) "

Speaker: Todd French

Todd French is an aquatic ecologist with interests in contaminant cycling in freshwater ecosystems, rooted macrophyte ecology, and phytoplankton dynamics. He did his B.Sc. in biology at the University of Victoria and his M.Sc. in macrophyte ecology at the University of Alberta. After completing his M.Sc. in 1994, Todd worked for about 10 years as a consultant to not-for-profit conservation organisations and the BC Ministry of Environment, directly for the BC Ministry of Environment and Upper Fraser-Nechako Fisheries Council and as a part-time laboratory instructor at the College of New Caledonia. He then returned to school to undertake Ph.D. research at Queen's University where he is now in his third year of study. The presentation Todd is giving today is not related to his Ph.D. research, but to conservation work he was involved with back in BC before returning to school.

With some individuals growing to 6 m in length and 600 kg, the white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, or "sturgeon across the mountains") is the largest freshwater fish in North America. The species first appeared in the fossil record 175 million years ago during the days of the dinosaur and has remained almost unchanged to the present. Like sharks, white sturgeon have a heterocercal tail (upper lobe larger than lower lobe) that increases manoeuvrability in flowing water. Other characteristics of the species include long external barbels, rows of external bony scutes, and a mostly cartilaginous skeleton. In North America, white sturgeon are found in three Pacific drainages: the Sacramento (California), the Columbia-Kootenai (British Columbia, Idaho, Washington, and Montana), and the Fraser (British Columbia). Small populations also inhabit some Gulf of Alaska drainages and lower reaches of the Cowichan and Somass rivers on Vancouver Island. White sturgeon inhabiting the lower reaches of large rivers that enter the ocean directly are often anadromous; that is, they live part of their life cycle in fresh water and part in salt water. However, populations living far inland, such as those in the Nechako River (major tributary of the upper Fraser River), typically become landlocked living their entire life in fresh water. Females reach sexual maturity when they are 20+ years old, with males reaching maturity earlier at 14+ years. They can spawn several times throughout their lifespan, which can exceed 100 years. Surveys have shown that Fraser River white sturgeon populations are largely composed of individuals younger than 20 years old, with relatively few individuals representing older classes a distribution expected from a sustainable population but, that the Nechako River population has a large proportion of individuals between 30 and 50 years old with few individuals representing younger age classes. The scarcity of young white sturgeon in the Nechako River will result in fewer and fewer fish reaching reproductive maturity, with this ultimately setting the stage for future population extinction. In 1990, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) classified the white sturgeon as a Species of Special Concern (species particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events). In November 2003, COSEWIC downgraded the species to Endangered (species facing imminent extirpation or extinction) and in August 2006 the Nechako, upper Fraser, Kootenai and Columbia populations were officially designated as Endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA, Bill C-5). This designation is more in-line with those of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service who list the Kootenai population as Endangered and the British Columbia Conservation Centre who designate the upper Columbia and Nechako populations as Critically Imperilled. In my presentation I will discuss the conservation status of Nechako white sturgeon, causes for the population decline, and the direction of ongoing recovery initiatives. Specifically, I will speak on the physical and chemical effects of two types of water regulations schemes and their limnological and ecological consequences.

September 20, 2007

" Insect Photography: Exploring Nature With A Macro Lens "

Speaker: Kenneth Edwards

How macro photography allows the amateur naturalist to explore the world of invertebrates.

May 24, 2007

" Monteverde Then & Now: The role of land purchase in conserving biodiversity in the Neotropics "

Speaker: Dr. Adrian Forsyth

Dr. Forsyth received his PhD in tropical ecology from Harvard University under E.O. Wilson in 1978. He is the author of nine books, including Tropical Nature, Mammals of the Canadian Wild, The Natural History of Sex, The Nature of Birds, Exploring the World of Insects, and Portraits of the Rainforest.

Our May 24th *****Note the date change, 4th not 3rd Thursday***** dinner meeting speaker will be Dr. Adrian Forsyth, who last spoke to the KFN in September 1987 about the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica. At that time the reserve was still being established and needed funds to purchase land. At the end of the talk, the KFN donated $10, 600 to the cause. At this presentation, Adrian will tell us how tropical conservation has proceeded over the past 20 years.

This is our annual dinner meeting and silent book auction held at the Italo-Canadian Club, 1174 Italia Lane (Highway 401 and Montreal Street). Cash Bar 6:00 p.m., dinner 6:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the March and April General Meetings or from John Critchley (634-5475), Jackie Bartnik (531-3736), Norma Graham (546-9381) or Alexandra Simmons (542-2048) for $27 each. Please purchase tickets before Saturday, May 19.

Silent Auction

A silent auction will be held at this Dinner Meeting and will include nature books, and other items such as binoculars, telescopes, tripods, etc. To donate items to the auction contact Peter McIntyre at 548-4738.

Rare Book

This year's auction will feature an original 3 volumes of Wilson & Bonaparte, American Ornithology or The Natural History of Birds of the United States with Illustrative Notes and Life of Wilson by Sir William Jardine. This 1832 set is complete with 97 full-page plates of birds engraved by Lizars and coloured by hand. Minimum bid is set at $1000.00 with $50 increments accepted for subsequent bids.

April 19, 2007

" Polar Bear Mating Systems "

Speaker: Peter de Groot

Peter J. van Coeverden De Groot completed his Ph D. at Queen's University in 2001. For his thesis, he examined genetic variation in muskoxen throughout their Canadian and Greenland range. More recently he has been working on Polar Bear mating systems using genetics and is working on methods that can include local Inuit in data collection. He also uses genetics to answer rhino and elephant conservation questions in Africa and Asia. He and his family live on farm near Kingston.

As a backdrop, the recent United States proposal to investigate the listing of the Polar bear as endangered will be discussed, as will be current Canadian management practices of 60% of the world's polar bears. Contrasting studies of the impacts of the reduction of ice cover on the fate of the polar bear will be highlighted. This will be followed with a description of recent research at Queen's University, investigating mating systems and dispersal of polar bears and efforts to design an inexpensive bear survey that includes Inuit participants. Findings from the most recent fieldwork in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut will be presented.

March 15, 2007

" Save the Boreal Forest: Ontarios Songbird Nursery "

Speaker: Caroline Schultz

Join Caroline Schultz, Ontario Natures Executive Director, for an informative and colourful presentation about Ontario's boreal breeding birds, the threats facing their nesting sites, and what you can do to help protect them. Recent evidence estimates that 300 species and 2 billion individual birds breed in the boreal forest before migrating south. Numerous species of birds that we see during the spring migration, such as songbirds, swans and ducks, call the boreal forest home during the nesting season. The boreal forest is recognized as the single most important breeding ground for birds in North America. This is why it is being called Ontario's Songbird Nursery.

The boreal forest is under threat from industrial development but we still have a tremendous opportunity to protect large portions of this forest, particularly in the unallocated forest north of 51 degrees latitude. Ontario Nature is working with other organizations to raise awareness about the threats to boreal forests and actions that must be taken to protect the songbirds home.

February 15, 2007

" The Return of the Bald Eagle "

Speaker: Jody Allair, Bird Studies Canada

Once almost wiped out by DDT, Bald Eagles are now returning as a breeder to southern Ontario. Jody Allair of Bird Studies Canada tells the story of their remarkable comeback, shares insights into eagle breeding biology, and describes eagle tracking by satellite. The evening will also include discussions on their status as breeders in eastern Ontario and what members of the naturalist club can do to help our understanding of these birds in the Kingston region.

January 18, 2007

" How the birds got their colours. "

Speaker: Robert Montgomerie Queens Biology

Birds and butterflies are among the most colourful animals, in part because they employ a variety of mechanisms to make colours, but possibly also due to their unusual sex determining mechanisms. In this talk I will take you on a tour of 20 years research on the mechanisms of colour production and perception in birds, visiting colourful birds at field sites from the high arctic to temperate zone Ontario to tropical Australia. Why are crows black, ptarmigan white, and house finches red? And do birds see things that are invisible to humans? The answers are neither obvious nor completely understood.

November 16, 2006

" Why are there so many small plants? "

Speaker: Lonnie Aarssen


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