Members of Coleraine Probus were treated to a fascinating talk by local ornithological expert, Ken Perry. The title of his presentation was 'The beauty of birds', and accompanied with a series of stunning photographs taken by Ken - clearly an expert in his field and a master of his craft!
Having taken early retirement from service in the bank, Ken was able to develop his bird watching hobby by taking an MA at the University in Coleraine. So well did he do, Ken was offered a bursary to take PhD in Ornithology, By of a 'thank-you' for being able to achieve so much and continue his research, 'Doctor' Ken has expanded his studies to cover a network of over 800 nesting boxes around the University campus, the greater Coleraine area and even in Canada, the USA and a comparison area in the Czech Republic.
The ornithological expertise and qualifications Ken has, has also led to employment. For a number of years now, Ken has been in demand as an 'Environmental Impact' assessor for feasibility studies and planning permissions for the development of 'Wind Farms' in Northern Ireland. The post retirement employment has had the happy spin-off of enabling Ken to continue his 'hobby' in other parts of the world - as his photos went on to show with spectacular results.
One further result of years of study, interest and experience, is that Ken is a registered bird netter. Ken (and bird watching helpers) are legally able to net wild birds for 'ringing' and further study. This has been vital to his research and continues to be so. Only in the last few weeks Ken and colleagues have started on a study to find out why it seems that 'Graylag Geese' are not returning to their usual breading grounds, but staying on in the local area.
For Ken, being able to net and hold a bird, be it a tiny Blue Tit, a beautifully coloured 'Bee Eater' or a big and powerful Graylag Goose', is a fantastic experience, it is not just 'bird watching', it's a whole experience - perhaps proving the old saying: 'a bird in the hand…'!!!
(Canada Geese Family)