BUSY Lab: Birdwatching with Dr. Blasutig

I.Blasutig and daughters
The love for birds seems to be hereditary based on both of Dr. Blasutig’s daughter’s Halloween costumes. Top right is a microraptor dinosaur in a stage of its evolution to a bird, and bottom right is the majestic snowy owl.


This week the BUSY Lab connected with LMP clinical biochemist, Dr. Ivan Blasutig to learn a bit about what he does to take a break from the craziness of life and shape his personal health and wellness. The theme: Birdwatching.

“No matter where you go, if you take a moment to stop what you’re doing and pay attention, you’ll notice all different kinds of birds,” says Dr. Blasutig. “Even in the city there’s lots of wildlife to be seen.”

He doesn’t actually recall an exact time when birdwatching became a thing of interest, but just knows he’s always loved animal and has always been fascinated by birds. A possible reason could be because Dr. Blasutig had a pet canary as a kid (which he reluctant shared the name of: Cheepy), but there’s no specific thing or event that started the hobby.

Now, no longer the owner of any birds, Dr. Blasutig is able to casually maintain his pastime at home by putting up a couple bird feeders and even using feed that can attract specific species or keep squirrels away.

“Not sure what I really get out of it,” says Dr. Blasutig, “I guess solitude, reflection, just being able to shut the world out. It can be a great break from the BUSY.”

Dr. Blasutig is able use his hobby as an opportunity to get active as well – be it just going on a casual walk or gearing up for a hike with some binoculars and a bird book. He’s now seen over 100 different types of birds and is able to enjoy the nuances and the different behaviours and calls from each species. It takes a bit of an investigative nature to determine the type of bird you’re looking at or listening to, but that shouldn’t be difficult for LMP staff given the investigative work of the labs.

“You really don’t need much to get started birdwatching,” says Dr. Blasutig. “Just go outside and pay attention. You can go for walks, or put up a bird feeder and try to attract birds you’re interested in. If you find that you enjoy it you can get a bird book to reference, or binoculars to see them up closely.”

Overall Dr. Blasutig made it sound like a very easy hobby to get into, and if you’re interested the bird book of choice is, Birds of North America, and there’s also a fabulous birds of prey conservatory in Halton, Mountsberg Raptor Centre.

As a final point Dr. Blasutig shared a story about walking across Gerrard toward University and seeing a red-tail hawk swoop down in front of him and pick up a pigeon just west of the TGH Gerrard entrance… So keep your eyes peeled!


What do you do when you need to feel “BUSY”?

                                       What’s that thing you do that makes you happy (“Bliss”),

                                                                                            or helps you relax (“Unwind”),

or makes you feel like you can take on anything that comes your way (“Strength”)?

                   Dr. Blasutig might go for a hike and birdwatch.  What would YOU do?

The BUSY Lab

Check in next week as we hear from another LMP staff member about their BUSY activity.  We hope these stories may remind you about your BUSY thing, or even inspire you to try something new!


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