Pres Winter - Bluebird Trail

Pres Winter - 29th Annual Emerald Awards - 2020

In 2020, 29th Emerald Award Lifetime Achievement recipient, Pres Winter, started the The Viking Bluebird Trail in 1977. The trail was started with just 200 nest boxes given to him by the then-director of John Janzen Nature Centre. Today, the trail boasts more than 1200 nest boxes and stretches along 275 miles of road in Beaver County. At 79 years old, Pres still tends and bands baby birds with no intention of missing the 2021 season.

Bluebirds are secondary cavity nesters, which means they do not build their own nests. In the pre-colonial past, Winter says, they would take over the abandoned nests of woodpeckers. But with the clear-cutting of forests to make way for agricultural development, the woodpecker population diminished and the bluebirds with them.

In the 1960s, non-governmental grassroots efforts started popping up around North America to set up bluebird trails to restore the bird population. Winter, who ran a pharmacy in Viking before he retired, was given an article by a local teacher about the movement — he started his trail the same year.

Pres has now retired from his working on the Viking Bluebird Trail and has been an essential and integral part of this birds survival in our area and promoting habitat for them to thrive.

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