I heard a strange sound last night – what was it?

Today’s post is from Mark D. Read, a senior interpreter at Murphys Point Provincial Park.

It’s a common question that park interpreters face almost daily during the summer and one that many folks already think they know the answer to:

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Fall warbler migration at Rondeau Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Laura Penner, a Discovery Program Group Leader at Rondeau Provincial Park.

Thousands of birdwatchers flock to Rondeau each spring to take part in one of natures most spectacular events, the annual songbird migration.

The male warblers, in their attempt to attract mates, are in their finest plumage with bold patterns and bright colours. Their unique songs fill the air! Beginner birders focus on the bird’s appearance to identify it. For more advanced birders, the songs may help identify birds that aren’t out in the open putting on a show.

But for those who are ready to take their warbler identification skills to the next level, there is the fall migration!

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A tale of star cross’d plovers

In today’s post, Marina Opitz, Discovery leader at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, regales us with shorebird drama of Shakespearean proportions. Thanks to Neal Mutiger for photographing our leading avian actors.

First, let us set the scene for our dramatic tale.

Picture an empty beach, orange sunrise gleaming across the waves, when two solitary plovers lock eyes from across the wrack line. It is love at first sight.

However, if we have learned anything from the immortal Bard, it is that not all romantic tales have a happy ending. And so we start on our path to eventual heartbreak…

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Autumn isn’t just coloured leaves and migration — bring on the murmurations!

Today’s blog comes from Jessica Stillman, school outreach coordinator for Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

With all the coloured leaves and migrating birds, autumn is all about big performances.

But even before sharing these spectacular displays, autumn delights us with the sights and sounds of another performance: the fabulous fall show presented by European Starlings.

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The fastest animal in Bon Echo, Canada, and the world!

Today’s post comes from Mitch Kellar, a Discovery Leader at Bon Echo Provincial Park.

Being a staff member at Bon Echo has given me a lot of incredible experiences: seeing the Mazinaw Rock at sunset, camping on Joeperry Lake, and a very memorable Kishkebus canoe trip, to name a few.

Above all, my experiences with Peregrine Falcons — small birds of prey and the fastest animals on the planet — will always be one of my favourites.

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Banding the wind riders

Today’s post was written by David Bree, Natural Heritage Education Leader at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

It’s a blustery late-May day on Presqu’ile’s beach and a few birders are out watching the shorebirds. The birds wheel in and land for a few minutes of frantic feeding before lifting off again and heading out to disappear over Popham Bay.

One can’t help but be in awe of their flying skill and wonder. Where are they going? Where have they have come from? Questions no doubt asked by people since questions could be formed.

One may also ask, “where does the wind go?” since it seems impossible to track the wind and the birds that ride it. But, of course, we now do know where many of these birds go, thanks to bird banding.

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The spring bird migration

Today’s post was written by Laura Penner, a Discovery leader at Rondeau Provincial Park.

Watching the world wake up and spring back to life after a long winter is something almost everyone looks forward to. While the winter has charm and stunning beauty, the thought of those long, warm days simply change the pace of outdoor activity.

We aren’t the only ones anticipating the change of seasons. In fact, nature has been investing large amounts of energy in order to take advantage of this relatively short burst of warmth and the seemingly limitless supply of food that comes with it. This is evident in the countless flocks of birds that migrate north each spring.

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Discover birds with your kids

Today’s post comes from Eva Paleczny, A/Learning & Education Specialist with Ontario Parks. 

On my drive to work one morning last month, I noticed a bunch of Mourning Doves sitting in a row along an electrical line. As I continued driving, I wondered why birds gather in groups like that. Are they being social? Is it advantageous to their survival?

Birds are among the most commonly seen wildlife in our parks and cities, yet probably among the most difficult to observe and identify, due to their intricate colour patterns, quick movements, and ability to stay hidden from view. Not to mention the HUGE variety of bird species out there!

Despite this, I’ve seen many young children express awe and excitement when they see a bird fly by or land on a nearby window sill. These are new sightings for them and they are curious…but eventually, they become ordinary sightings.

How can you tap into discovering birds with your children at home? How can you spark a lifelong curiosity in birds and other creatures?

Here are some fun ideas you can try out from your own backyard:

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