Bruce Di Labio, Paul Pratt & Tom Hince
After a long two year break, The Great Canadian Birdathon is finally back! Once again, OFO’s Celebrity Birders, Bruce Di Labio, Paul Pratt & Tom Hince, will conduct a Big Sit to raise funds for OFO’s Young Birders Program and to support bird research and conservation at Birds Canada.
To say this trio has a rich and storied reputation in Big Day Birding would be an understatement. Some of their accomplishments include setting the all time Big Day records for North America, the US, Canada, Texas, New Jersey, 7 Canadian provinces (including Ontario) and 2 territories! The team has also won the esteemed World Series of Birding in New Jersey, the Great Texas Classic Birding competition, and the Space-coast Flyway birding competition in Florida.
They conducted their 2019 Birdathon as a Big Sit (observations made from within a pre-determined 5 metre diameter circle) on the west side of the tip of Point Pelee National Park. It was a beautiful day and their final total was 108 species (just under the previous year total of 110). The top bird of the day was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo which landed briefly in a tree beside the van.
Our celebrity trio - Bruce, Paul and Tom will be conducting their Birdathon on Saturday, May 14. Bruce and Paul will be found near or on the observation tower out at the Tip of Point Pelee and Tom will be birding down south near his home in Florida. Please stop by to say hi to Bruce and Paul, help them spot some birds for the list or make a pledge!
We hope you will consider supporting the OFO Celebrity Birders in 2022!
Participation in the Birdathon is a fun and worthwhile way to take part in real life bird conservation efforts. All money raised for OFO will support the Young Birders program. Many thanks to our supporters.
Three ways to donate! Tax receipts will be issued for amounts over $20.
Canada Helps: https://www.canadahelps.org/me/6MFCjDZ
Birds Canada: https://www.birdscanada.org/you-can-help/birdathon/ then search for OFO’s Celebrity Birders.
Mail your cheque to: Birds Canada, P.O. Box 160, 115 Front Rd, Port Rowan, ON, N0E 1M0. Please include your name, address and a note that this is for OFO’s Celebrity Birders
Bruce Di Labio
A native of Ottawa, ON, Bruce Di Labio's passion for birds and birding began at the young age of 7 when he hand-tamed a Black-capped Chickadee at his family cottage at Constance Bay, ON. From these simple beginnings emerged both a life-long passion and career in the field of birding,
With a bicycle as his only means of transportation, Bruce spent most of his free time in the early 1970s birding the Ottawa area with members of the "bike gang" and others, getting a first taste for doing "year lists" and "big days". It was during this time that Bruce began leading field trips for the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club.
Birding has also taken him down some interesting career paths working at the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Canadian Nature Federation before he began environmental consulting and providing courses and tours for beginner birders. He spends many hours photographing birds and regularly presents to local schools, and naturalists groups.
Paul's passion for birds and natural history began as a child as he explored rural Lambton County. Upland Sandpiper, Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlark and Red-headed Woodpecker were familiar sights during treks along Clay Creek. It was over fifty years ago that Paul first visited Point Pelee and began birding there on a regular basis.
Paul has shared his enthusiasm for birding and nature with thousands of people through his work, guiding tours and personal interest. After stints at Algonquin and Rondeau Provincial Parks, he became chief naturalist for the City of Windsor where he managed the Ojibway Nature Centre and associated Tallgrass Prairie Park complex until he retired in 2014. He is a past member of the OBRC, Beach Migration Observatory and a past president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Windsor Centre. Paul's many interests include all fields of natural history including birding, herping, wildlife photography, travel, insects and botany. He lives just outside Point Pelee in Wheatley.
Tom has been an active birder since his early days as a "bike gang" member in the seventies in Ottawa, Ontario. Many of you have probably met him during his tenure at Point Pelee National Park as staff naturalist, or picked up a copy of his first book "A Birder's Guide to Point Pelee (and surrounding Region)". From 1994 to 2001, he also made regular appearances as the birding columnist on "The Daily Planet" on The Discovery Channel Canada.
Tom continues to guide organized tours to some of his favourite destinations including the Yukon, Alberta, South Africa, Australia and Texas. In 2021, he moved to Dunnellon, Florida. There, he and his wife Kathi enjoy discovering and photographing a host of great birds, butterflies and other critters. While he's now a southerner, his heart still yearns for the thrill of a May day at Point Pelee.