Thursday, May 10, 2007

Birthday Birding Party

I mentioned in my last Friday Flowers post that Grandma's birthday was on May 10th. I was looking through her birding scrapbook and found this scorecard that was filled out at her birthday picnic at the farm on May 12, 1944 when she was 48 years old. The bird on the front of the tally card was adorned with real feathers.

The object of the game was to see who could identify the most birds. Grandma's card had 21 birds listed, including six different warblers;- a very good tally for the Toronto area in early May. See how she crammed her writing, obviously confident that she would be filling more than the 16 spaces alloted on the card. I wonder if it is possible to find the number and variety of birds in the same area on this weekend, 63 years later? The big city is eating up the farmland to the north with bedroom communities for commuters.

Grandma is on the far left

Grandma and her birding friends went to Point Pelee each spring. Mom told me they would visit Jack Miner's Bird Sanctuary, which is still operational. These pictures were taken in 1947 during a five day birding trip. It looks like they had good weather and a great deal of fun! Today, Point Pelee is a five hour drive from Grandma's hometown of Aurora, using the super fast Highway 401. It would have taken all day to get there in the 1940's, driving through the small towns and countryside of south-western Ontario. These were adventurous ladies in their day!

Looking for birds on Lake Erie


  1. This is so sweet, Ruth. How wonderful that you have these mementos. Your grandmother would have never imagined that so many people would enjoy her treasures today!

  2. I'm really enjoying these peeks into your grandmother's birding history. She and her friends all look so happy!

  3. So you are carrying on a family tradition! Good for you. And what a treasure to find her birding card.
    So many big cities are gobbling up farm lands and open spaces. Makes me wonder what birds will be around in another 60 years--or more. We have to live in balance with our fellow creatures on planet Earth.

  4. Anonymous4:41 pm GMT-4

    Really nice post and photos. Enjoyed it!


  5. Mary- Grandma would never have imagined the internet. When she died in 1990 I didn't either. She would be pleased to see her things online.

    Lynne- Thanks. You will likely see more things from her scrapbook. It is a labour of love about her favourite hobby.

    KGMom- Your comment gave me an idea for my next post! We do have to stop paving over our land.

    Eric- Thanks. I love reminiscing.

  6. Erik- sorry for misspelling your name!

  7. That photo of those happy women - the friendship - the shared adventure - sitting on the bumpers of those great old cars - I have to believe that some birding organization would love to see this. A wonderful picture. One can't help but to share their delight.

  8. Cathy- I have several more good pictures of this birding group in action, as well a a number of newspaper articles about their discoveries. They were avid birders, but I believe fun was first on the agenda.

  9. Oh, what joy is captured on their faces! They remind me of a former day Thelma and Louise story. How lovely that you have so many mementos of her life and birding.


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