Discover Owls

Conserving Owls Through Education and Research


About Us


Get up close and personal with owls during presentations!


Talks and presentations with a live owl are unforgettable experiences that last a lifetime.


Support owl conservation and research!

 Funds from owl talks support owl studies and conservation efforts.  


Book an owl talk and we'll be on our way to see you soon!

 Over 280 award winning owl presentations given to date to over 15,000 children and adults. 

Contact Us

Request an Owl Presentation Today!

Book a talk or live owl presentation today!

 I love to talk about owls, so please email me today to let me know how I can help you. 

James Duncan, Discover Owls

P.O. Box 253, Balmoral, Manitoba R0C 0H0

(204) 404-7063

Owl Education and Research Programs

Services Provided Locally and Around the World



  • Owl education presentations to day cares, preschools, elementary and  high schools, colleges and universities, private or retirement homes, and other businesses, public institutions or offices.

  • Public speaking engagements for annual general meetings, banquets and other special events for a variety of groups including businesses, non-government organizations, and associations.

  • Research and writing brochures, articles, books or technical material on owls or wildlife biology and ecology including for newspapers, magazines,  websites, scientific journals, and other private or public publishers.

  • Technical and scientific expertise on owls and other wildlife for radio, TV, video, and movie productions.

  • Field research and monitoring on owls and other  wildlife, including the supervision of university graduate students as an adjunct professor.

  • Knowledge and expertise of other wildlife related experts and  authorities, permit requirements, and handling live or dead owls and many other wildlife species.  



“It was a really great evening Jim...lots of interesting info as well as a lot of laughs! It was my first time seeing Rusty the Long-eared Owl ….”  

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Linda Curtis, Attendee at a Discover Owls presentation to the Manitoba Naturalists Society.


“One highlight so far was the visit from Rusty the Owl and Jim Duncan on January 13th. Jim showed us a video of exploring different owl nests with babies in them which was a huge hit. His humor was amazing too with lots of laughs and ‘ewwwww’s!’ He let the girls hold different specimens of owl feet, heads, and look at what the poop even looks like.”

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First Oakbank Brownies Newsletter.


“I just wanted to thank you again on behalf of the grade 1 and 2 classes. The kids were so excited before, during and after your talk. They came back in the afternoon and shared the new information they learned from you.

So thank you for making a lasting impression on our students.  Who knows, one might become a biologist one day because of your visit! Take care and all the best in your continued work of studying the lives of owls and educating the rest of us.”

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 Pam Durston, Elementary School Teacher.


“Thanks so much for coming in today.  The kids didn't stop hooting (quite literally!) all afternoon.  You are an inspiration. With thanks, Barb”

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Barb Powell, Elementary School Teacher.


“Just wanted to let you know that you and Nemo still come up in conversation with the students in my class. Thanks again for all the information. Hope we can get you out again.”

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Leitha Fraser, School Teacher.


“Quick note to let you know how much I appreciate you coming to Cranberry Portage to talk to the school children and also the general public at our local spring festival. The comments we received have all been very positive!

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Christopher E. Smith, Ducks Unlimited Canada 


“I was one of the Creative Retirement Manitoba members that heard your talk on the natural history of owls last month. Thanks again for your fascinating and wonderful presentation.  I certainly have become far more knowledgeable about owls.

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Jan G., Creative Retirement Manitoba

Education, Awards and Experience



  • Ph.D. Zoology, University of Manitoba (1992)
  • M.Sc. Zoology, McGill University (1985)
  • B.Ed. Biology, Queen's University (1983)
  • B.Sc.Honours Zoology, University of Guelph (1982)

Recent Awards

2016 World Owl Hall of Fame Lady Gray'l Award for “Nemo”, a Long-eared  Owl. For owl education and conservation. 

International Festival of Owls.  Houston, MN

Champion of Diversity Awards (2014 and 2012) - Manitoba Governor General Employer Recognition for Disability Accommodations.

2009 World Owl Hall of Fame Champion of Owls. For owl education and conservation. International Festival of Owls. Houston, MN


  • Director, Discover Owls (2018 to present)
  • Director, Wildlife and Fisheries Branch, Government of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB (2011 - 2018)
  • Manager, Biodiversity, Habitat and Endangered Species Section,  Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection Branch, Government of Manitoba,  Winnipeg, MB (1999-2011)
  • Adjunct Professor at University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB (1998-2016)
  • Zoologist, Conservation Data and Nongame Management, Wildlife Branch, Manitoba Natural Resources, Winnipeg, MB (1996‑99)
  • Zoologist, Manitoba Conservation Data Centre, The Nature Conservancy (USA), Winnipeg, MB (1994‑96)
  • Coordinator/Zoologist, Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre, The Nature Conservancy (USA), Regina, SK (1992‑94)
  • Project Leader, Manitoba Great Gray Owl Research Project, Winnipeg, MB (1985‑present)
  • Researcher/Educator, Macdonald Raptor Research Centre, McGill University, Montreal, PQ (1983‑85)

Owl Information Sources




NatureNorth - Manitoba's online nature magazine.


The Owl Pages 

International Festival of Owls

The Global Owl Project

World Owl Conference 2017

Help Monitor Owls!


(image from

You can help owls in many ways!

Discover Owl Research


You can learn about our published owl research projects at

Some recent published papers include:

  • Duncan, J.R. 2018. Owls of the World. John Hopkins University Press.  Baltimore, Maryland. 198 pages.
  • Duncan, J.R. 2016. Foreword pp 11-16 in Sound of Snow Falling. A graphic novella by artist Maggie Umber. 2dcloud (publisher). Minneapolis, MN. 104 pages. 
  • Duncan, J.R. 2016. 2015 Nocturnal Owl Surveys: Manitoba. Bird Watch Canada. Winter 2016. 74:17.
  • Duncan, J. 2016. Manitoba Nocturnal Owl Survey – 2015 Annual Report. 16 pages. Available at:'s%20Owl%20Survey%20Annual%20Report%20-%20Final.pdf
  • Duncan, J. 2016. Owls of the World. New Holland Publishers. Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia. 240 pages.
  • Duncan, J. 2016 (technical editor/reviewer) of: Owls! Strange and Wonderful, by Laurence Pringle (Author) and Meryl Henderson (Illustrator). 2016. Boyds Mills Press, Honesdale, PA, USA. 32 pp. 
  • Duncan, J. 2015. Spotlight on Research: Great Gray Owls. Pp. 42-43 in D. Evers and K. Taylor. 2015. Journey with the Owl: A Photographic Exploration Through Field and Forest. Willow Creek Press, Minocqua, WI. 156 pp. 
  • Whiklo, T.M. and J.R. Duncan. 2014. Characteristics of Barred Owl (Strix varia) nest sites in Manitoba, Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist 128(1): 38–43.
  • Duncan, J.R. 2013. Foreword, p. iii in R.W. Nero. No More Than This: Poems and Essays. Published by R.W. Nero, Winnipeg, Manitoba. 91 pp.
  • Duncan, J.R. 2013. The Complete Book of North American Owls. Thunder Bay Press. San Diego, CA. 192 pp.
  • Whiklo, T.M. and J.R. Duncan. 2012. Occurrences of Wing Clapping Behavior in Barred Owls (Strix varia). J. Raptor Res. 46(4):413-416.
  • Whiklo, T.M. and J.R. Duncan. 2012. An Efficient Method for Capturing Barred Owls. North American Bird Bander. 37(1): 1-3.
  • De Ruyck, C., Duncan, J. and N. Koper. 2012. Saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) Migratory Behaviour, Population Demographics and Trends in Manitoba. J. Raptor Res. 46(1):84-97. 
  • Duncan, J. 2011. Manitoba Nocturnal Owl Surveys - 2011. Bird Watch Canada, Bird Studies Canada. Winter 2012, No. 58: 18.
  • Duncan, J.R., Swengel, S.R. and A.B. Swengel. 2009. Correlations of Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) calling indices from surveys in southern Wisconsin, USA with owl and small mammal surveys in Manitoba, Canada, 1986-2006. Pp. 489-496. In: Johnson, D.J., Van Nieuwenhuyse, D. and J.R. Duncan (Eds.). 2009. Owls – Ambassadors for the Protection of Nature in their Changing Landscapes. Proceedings of the fourth World Owl Conference. 31 October – 4 November 2007, Groningen, The Netherlands. Ardea 97(4): 395-649.
  • Johnson, D.J., Van Nieuwenhuyse, D. and J.R. Duncan (Eds.). 2009. Owls – Ambassadors for the Protection of Nature in their Changing Landscapes. Proceedings of the fourth World Owl Conference. 31 October – 4 November 2007, Groningen, The Netherlands. Ardea 97(4): 395-649.
  • Swengel, A.B., Duncan, J.R. and S.R. Swengel. 2008. Auditory Survey for Northern Saw-whet Owls in Southern Wisconsin 1986-2006, with Comparison to Manitoba Owl and Mammal Surveys. Passenger Pigeon. Vol. 70 (1):3-17. 
  • Johnson, D.H., J.R. Duncan, D. Van Nieuwenhuyse, R.P. Kavanagh, and R.S. Leigh. 2007. Survey and Monitoring Manual for Owls of the World. Manual and CD distributed at World Owl Conference. Groningen, The Netherlands. 31 October – 4 November, 2007.
  • Duncan, J. 2006. Contributing Author and Editor to: Cutting for Wildlife – Forest Harvest and the Great Gray Owl. Primary contract author Tina Portman and also edited by Bob Nero and Tim Swanson. 12 page (non-paginated) illustrated booklet plus cover. Published jointly by the Manitoba Model Forest and Manitoba Conservation. Sponsored by the Southeast Manitoba Quota Holders and the Gray Owl Fund.
  • Duncan, J. (technical editor) - Berger, C. 2005. Wild Guide: Owls. Stackpole Books. Mechanicsburg, PA. 131 p. 
  • Duncan, J.R. and P.A. Duncan. 2003. Northern Hawk Owl. Pp. 229-230 In Taylor, P. (Ed.). The Birds of Manitoba. Manitoba Avian Research Committee, Manitoba Naturalists Society. Winnipeg, MB. 504 pp.
  • Duncan, J.R. 2003. Owls of the World. Key Porter Books, Ltd. Toronto, ON. 310 pp.
  • Duncan. J.R. 2002. Foreword pp v-vi in North American Owls: Biology and Natural History. 2nd Ed. Johnsgard, P.A. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington. D.C. 298 pp. 
  • Hinam, H.L. and J.R. Duncan. 2002. Effects of habitat fragmentation and slope on the distribution of three owl species in the Manitoba Escarpment, Canada -- a preliminary analysis. Pp. 148-161 in Newton, I., R Kavanagh, J. Olsen and I. Taylor (eds.). Ecology and Conservation of Owls. Symposium proceedings from Owls 2000: The biology, conservation and cultural significance of owls. 19-23 January 2000, Manning Clark Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Csiro Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  • Takats, D.L., C.M. Francis, G.L. Holroyd, J.R. Duncan, K.M. Mazur, R.J. Canings, W. Harris and D. Holt. 2001. Guidelines for Nocturnal Owl Monitoring in North America. Beaverhill Bird Observatory and Bird Studies Canada, Edmonton, AB. 32 pp.