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It comes as no surprise that Mick Pickup is set to receive this year’s Norah Toth Award. After all, the Norah Toth Award recognizes people who have contributed to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival in ways that makes a difference. Through his writings, his serving the Festival, the Friends of MacGregor, the Bruce Birding Club, the OFO and the inspiration for the Bird Blind – to name just a few – Mike’s contributions make him an obvious choice.

“It’s an honour to be able to get the award and the recognition from your peers and associates,” said Mike. “I feel very humble.” Which is perfectly in character for this gentle man that birders know and respect.


Mike was just 9 years old when birds first began to interest him. His father would take him for walks pointing out birds on the moors in Lancashire. He came to Canada via England and Ireland when he was thirteen. He spent many days hiking and exploring the Bruce Trail near his Georgetown home. Then came the cottage in Sauble Beach, and the eventual move to Port Elgin. It was here that he met his mentor, Martin Parker, a naturalist and ‘big birder’. Martin rekindled Mike’s interest in birding. And the rest is local history.

Mike volunteered for Bird Studies Canada doing Nocturnal Owl Surveys, Breeding Bird Surveys, and Forest Monitoring Surveys; as well he has worked on both the first and second Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario projects and in 2009 received the OFO’s Award of Distinction. Mike loves to share his knowledge with others. After he retired he carried this a step further writing books to give people ideas of where to go and what to expect in certain birding areas. He’s published three helpful books to date and is currently working on a fourth.

When he isn’t out in the field or writing you’ll find him with his other love…Mike, the model train enthusiast, has a layout in his basement that occupies most of his winter hours.

When asked what it takes to be a successful birder, Mike’s advice is simple…”get a good pair of binoculars, a field guide, get outdoors and enjoy yourself.” That’s something Mike has been doing for over 50 years.

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival honours and celebrates Mike Pickup’s Outstanding Volunteer Contributions with this year’s North Toth Award, Saturday, May 23 at their annual Banquet and Presentation.


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And the OFO Certificate of Appreciation goes to…

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by James Turland

Fred Jazvac and his OFO CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION Photo courtesy James Turland

Photo courtesy Cindy McGregor

Each year the Ontario Federation of Ornithologists (OFO) Board of Directors recognizes individuals and organizations for their outstanding contribution to the birds and birding community of Ontario. Last Saturday night, at the OFO Banquet in Ottawa, Fred Javac was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation.

Fred was nominated partly for his role in the Bruce Birding Club (BBC).

Many of us know Fred because he initially welcomed us to the BBC. He has been there from the start and through gentle encouragement and teaching ability brings out the best birder in us all. Fred is not only the foundation of the BBC but is the common link that keeps us all bonded together.

Thanks Fred, for all you have done to commence, oversee, and make the BBC such a great club. Congratulations, your award recognizes your dedication to the BBC.

But, the BBC is only one of the recipients of Fred’s love of birds. The Huron Fringe Birding Festival also benefits greatly by his participation on committees and as a hike leader. Fred’s presentations are often to a full house. He has a way of making complex families like the sparrows comprehensible. Because of his love of teaching Friday nights are now set aside to be teaching programs. Congratulations from the HFBF.

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The full program will be available on-line January 15th 2015 on the Friends of MacGregor website at: 

 Be sure to mark your calendars with next year’s dates…May 22nd to May 25th and May 28th to May 31st, 2015.

Registration starts on February 1st, 2015.

Check out this video for a closer look at the festival:

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