Radiologist leaves mark in history, ornithology
Stuart Houston is a man of many passions.
The retired radiologist, who holds numerous honours including the Order of Canada and Saskatchewan Order of Merit, has published dozens of books and articles on topics as diverse as Saskatchewan’s medical history, Arctic expeditions and birds.
Houston was born in North Dakota in 1927 and spent much of his childhood in Yorkton. He attended medical school at the University of Manitoba and worked with his parents — both physicians — from 1951 to 1960. He then moved to Saskatoon to study diagnostic radiology at the University of Saskatchewan and went on to head that institution’s radiology department. He made a name for himself studying the genetic origins of childhood diseases.
As he was advancing his career in the world of medicine, Houston was also making strides as an ornithologist and today is widely recognized as one of the leading authorities on Canadian birds. Houston started banding birds as a teenager with the Yorkton chapter of Ducks Unlimited after having been granted a special permit that allowed him to work with the creatures even though he was underage. As the decades marched on, Houston never stopped banding and said he is proud to hold the lowest bird banding licence number in Canada, which reflects the fact that he’s been banding birds longer than anyone else in the country.
Houston and his wife have banded more than 150,000 birds from nearly 200 species and he said he holds world records for most turkey vultures and great horned owls banded. As he approaches 90 years old, Houston said he has no intention of stopping the practice and does 10 chin-ups every morning and swims to keep his fitness up. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, the Leader-Post and StarPhoenix are telling the stories of 150 Saskatchewan people who helped shape the nation. Send your suggestions or feedback to email@example.com.