Bird documentary featuring ‘dazzling’ Western research comes to campus

An award-winning documentary titled “The Messenger” featuring ‘dazzling’ high speed and high-definition footage of wild Canadian birds filmed at Western University’s Advanced Facility for Avian Research (AFAR) will have a special pre-release screening at Western Film on Thursday, November 26.

The event, hosted by AFAR and Bird Studies Canada (BSC), begins at 7 p.m. and includes a Q&A panel discussion with Western biology professor Christopher Guglielmo, who is featured in the film, and his AFAR collaborators, the director of “The Messenger” Su Rynard, as well as special guest experts from York University, the University of Saskatchewan, FLAP Canada and BSC.

Western Film is located on the second level of Western’s University Community Centre (UCC) in the McKellar Room. Admission is $8 ($6 students).

AFAR is a world-class facility dedicated to interdisciplinary studies of bird physiology, neurobiology and behaviour. Researchers at AFAR come together from a variety of disciplines to explore how birds work, and how they respond to their environment.

To view the trailer for “The Messenger,” please visit


Su Rynard’s wide-ranging and contemplative documentary THE MESSENGER explores our deep-seated connection to birds and warns that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own. Moving from the northern reaches of the Boreal Forest to the base of Mount Ararat in Turkey to the streets of New York, THE MESSENGER brings us face-to-face with a remarkable variety of human-made perils that have devastated thrushes, warblers, orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks and many other airborne music-makers.

On one level, THE MESSENGER is an engaging, visually stunning, emotional journey, one that mixes its elegiac message with hopeful notes and unique glances into the influence of songbirds on our own expressions of the soul. On another level, THE MESSENGER is the artful story about the mass depletion of songbirds on multiple continents, and about those who are working to turn the tide.

In ancient times humans looked to the flight and songs of birds to protect the future. Today once again, birds have something to tell us.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165,, @jeffrenaud99

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