How eating beef might save MB birds; hydro project threatens grasslands; our 2017 AGM and more!
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In this issue:

How Beef Helps Birds
Concerns With Birtle Project
2017 AGM
Workshop Series
Discovery Evenings
Volunteer Opportunity
Garden Tour 2017
Share Your Nature
Outdoor Activities
Grey Hares Outings
Bird News/Outings

If you have questions, comments, or you would like to contribute to the content of Nature Manitoba News you can email our editor, Lynsay Perkins at or call our office at 204-943-9029. 

Nature Manitoba News

How Beef Helps Birds

North America's temperate grasslands are disappearing faster than the rainforest, and cattle farming could help stop this decline. New unique partnership in Manitoba aims to protect prairies.   Read more

New Hydro Project Threatens Grasslands

Some of the proposed routes for new Manitoba Hydro Birtle Transmission Project would cross the largest un-fragmented grassland in western Manitoba. The Spy-Hill Ellice Community Pasture is a highly endangered ecosystem, and also supports globally important concentrations of threatened birds. Read our letter to Manitoba Hydro here.

2017 AGM

Mark your calendars for our 2017 AGM on March 20. After the meeting we are very excited to have a presentation on Manitoba Wolves by Daniel Dupont!

2017 Workshop Series

Want to dig deep into the wonders of nature under the guidance of an expert? Then Nature Manitoba workshops are for you!

February 7 - A Year in the Life of Red Squirrels in the Yukon

February 21 - Birding for Beginners

February 28 - Backcountry Food Prep

March 7 - Sedge Hunting in Vietnam

March 14 - Electronic Birding

April 4 - This is What's in Our Water

April 11 - Manitoba Shorebirds

April 18 - Gardening With Native Plants

April 25 - Morels & Other Fungi

Register today! Class sizes are limited.

Discovery Evenings

Don't miss our last two lectures for the season!
See all our Discovery Evenings here

Feb 6 - Birds of the Hudson Bay Lowlands: More than 165 bird species breed in the beautiful and diverse northern Manitoba.

Feb 27 - Restoration of Two Manitoba Wetands: Learn about the restoration work happening in Delta and Netley-Libau marshes.

Volunteer Opportunity

Last spring, Nature Manitoba News went digital and our new editor, Lynsay, has been doing a great job. But our newsletter, as well as the rest of our web presence, is not the sole responsibility of one person. The editor works with the help and support of Nature Manitoba volunteers on the newsletter committee. The committee is severely short of volunteers and we are calling out to all members who would like to be involved in an advisory role with the newsletter.
Duties consist of brainstorming ideas for newsletter content, reviewing drafts prepared by the editor, and ensuring that content represents the broad range of objectives and interests of Nature Manitoba. This work is done almost exclusively by email. Volunteers should be reasonably well-versed in the Nature Manitoba environment.
Contact our volunteer coordinator, Deanna, at 204-943-9029 or by email.

2017 Garden Tour

Tickets are now available for our annual Garden Tour fundraiser! This year's tour takes place on Saturday, July 8th from 10am to 4pm in North/East Kildonan and St. Boniface. Tickets are $15 and available at our Discovery Evenings, workshops, as well as through our office. You can also buy tickets online here.

Share Your Nature

We love sharing great photos of nature in Manitoba! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see and share your photos! This incredible shot was taken by at Winnipeg Beach. Tag us in your photos, email them to us, and use #naturemanitoba
Outdoor Activities

Click here to view all our current trips


Feb 5 - Birds hill Park Hike

Feb 18-20 - James Lake Cabin trip

Feb 19 - Snow Valley hike
The Grey Hares

The Grey Hares is a group within Nature Manitoba of retired, and partly retired people who enjoy outdoor activities. 

Grey Hares Outings

View all Grey Hares Outings here

Feb 8 - Ski the Pinawa or Sandiands trails

Feb 22 - Ski the Ross Creek Trails

Mar 1 - Ski the trails at Beaudry Provincial Park
Bird News

Bird of the Month

Every month we will feature a bird you can find in Manitoba. We will also be giving away a copy of Finding Birds in Southern Manitoba! Enter once here and your name will go in the draw every month.

This month: the Great Gray Owl

The Great Gray Owl is the Provincial Bird of Manitoba, and the “tallest” owl in North America (Snowy Owl and Great Horned Owl may appear smaller but they are both heavier).

How do I recognize it? Distinguished by its tall, sleek, body; large round head without ear-tufts; soft grey plumage; and large, flat facial disk with piercing yellow eyes and black and white 'bow tie' underneath the facial disk.

Is it migratory? Great Gray Owls are somewhat nomadic but not migratory in the true sense. It is an example of an irruptive species, with population cycles following the cycle of their main prey here, the meadow vole. Birders often report larger concentrations of this species in some areas when irruptions occur; in extreme cases over 100 individuals have been seen in a single day!

Where does it live? The Great Gray Owl is at home in the boreal forest, especially in tamarack bogs.

Where I see it? In Manitoba, the southern edge of the boreal forest is generally speaking the best place to find Great gray Owls. This includes Riding Mountain National Park, Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, and areas east of Winnipeg such as around Lac du Bonnet, Pinawa and Sandilands Provincial Forest.  It is especially important to keep a good distance from any owl if you spot one, especially in winter, a time were animals need to conserve energy for hunting. Many people mistakenly conclude that an owl that does not fly away is not impacted by our presence  but this is almost invariably false. Here is some great info on recognizing stress in owls.

Conservation status: Due in part to its Holarctic range, this species is currently considered of Least Concern and not listed under federal or provincial Species At Risk Acts. Nonetheless, habitat loss through clear cutting and peat extraction and clearing for agriculture impact this species.

How can I help them? The more information we have on the distribution of owls, the more we understand them and the more we can conserve their habitat. You can do so by getting involved in the Nocturnal Owl Survey

Did you know? Great Gray Owls have a remarkable ability to locate voles deep under snow. Numerous adaptations including asymmetrical ear openings enable them to plunge into several feet of snow to grab an unsuspecting rodent beneath. Reports suggest that Great Gray Owls have broken through snow crust thick enough to support an 80kg human.

Christmas Bird Count Results

There were 16 recorded counts across Manitoba this year, with about 258 participants! Great work to all the volunteers who got out to a count. Detailed Manitoba results are available here. You can get all the CBC results from the Audubon website.

Unique Collaboration in Manitoba

Last summer indigenous science groups partnered with western science groups in Poplar River First Nation to monitor bird sounds in the boreal forest.
Listening to the Secrets of the Boreal - BOREAL SONGBIRD INITIATIVE
Notices & More

Become a Nature Manitoba member

Not a member? Why not join our great community of people passionate about nature! Click here for more info on the benefits of membership

Nature Haiku

by Gail Walker

On the windowsill
A moth, night's feather duster
Lies now, in pieces

Scientists call for tri-national conservation effort to save monarch butterfly - CBC

Canadian grasslands among world's most endangered ecosystems - University of Alberta

Mineral exploration OK'd on Lake Winnipegosis island after preserve status expires - CBC

New bid for Manitoba-Ontario UNESCO boreal forest deal - CBC

Tiny Pollinators Need Wildlife Corridors Too - The Atlantic
Title Photo: Grey Hares Snowshoe King's Park: Keith Sutton
Long-billed Curlew: Christian Artuso
Garden Tour: Tommy Allen
Ice at Winnipeg Beach:
Grey Hares Ski Birds Hill Park: Doug Belcher
Great Gray Owl in Flight: Christian Artuso
Great Gray Owl Plunged in the Snow: Christian Artuso
Copyright © 2016 Nature Manitoba, All rights reserved.

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