Enjoying the Birds of the Ottawa Valley

John Sankey


This book is about people's enjoyment of birds. People like you.


My Dad in his Backyard - Evelyn Sankey


Few individuals are expert in all aspects of such a broad field as this book covers. I do not pretend to be one. I am indebted to the many hundreds of naturalists in the Valley who generously shared with me their experiences and understanding, and the authors of the hundreds of books about birds and about the Ottawa Valley in our public libraries.

Ray Holland contributed much of the expertise on which the Birding section is based, and gave valued encouragement throughout the period of writing. Bill Walker provided his data on the birds of Deep River, a unique balance to the preponderance of Ottawa-centered birding in the Valley. Elizabeth Le Geyt, through her column in The Citizen, put me in touch with hundreds of Valley bird watchers. Sheila Thomson helped me to resolve several difficult issues of presentation. Elizabeth Morton capably clarified many passages.

The following provided significant information for this book: Frank Bell, Jacques Bouvier, Monty Brigham, Dr. Graham Cooch, Lorne Craig, Ellaine Dickson, Bruce Di Labio, Stephen and Rukmin Gawn, Dr. Gary Hanes, Verna Ross McGiffin, Dr. Pierre Mineau, Frank Munro, Patricia Narraway, Dr. Henri Ouellet, Richard Poulin, Gordon Pringle, Daniel St. Hilaire, Dr. Victor Solman, Dr. Roger Taylor and Dr. Steven Wendt. The librarians of National Museums and CISTI helped to locate many special references, including the exact edition of the field guide used by Wm. Lees in 1889. Many others helped with details. I thank them all. I acknowledge, also, the support of my children, who put up with erratic meals and even more erratic housekeeping during the year of its preparation.

A note on bird names. Bird specialists use the English species names issued by the American Ornithologists' Union. However, this book is intended for non-specialists. We generally think in terms of individual birds, and find the specialists 'the House Sparrow' unnatural when our feeder is covered with birds! For this reason, to make the text easier to read, I have omitted excess capital letters from bird names, and generally use plural forms. I have also, for the same reason, abbreviated names when there is no likelihood of confusion. I note also that some words, song in particular, are used in a much more precise and limited sense by ornithologists than by non-specialists. Here too, my usage is that natural to non-specialists.

The study of nature is not an exact science. Often I received conflicting advice from experts. The opinions expressed in this book are thus my own, by necessity not those of all who assisted me. It was written in 1985, so some areas are out of date. However, most of it should still be useful as long as we are human and birds are birds.

This on-line book is Copyright © John Sankey, 1985-2002, under the Berne convention in order to protect the right of all to continue to use it freely. Anyone may copy, link to, or use any of it as much as they wish as long as as long as this notice of copyright and permission to copy is distributed with all copies. That's the only restriction I put on it - that it remains absolutely free to all. No one may restrict its further use in any way, by collection copyright, copy protection, or any other means. The courtesy of a site reference or credit is always appreciated.

John Sankey