A sure sign of spring is when the birds begin to arrive at Ontario Parks.
Birdwatching is a popular activity especially in spring and fall at Ontario Parks. Two big birdwatching festivals take place on the same weekend this year, at the tail end of March Break and on the eve of the first day of spring. The events are the Presqu’ile Provincial Park’s Waterfowl Weekend and Rondeau Provincial Park’s celebrated Wings of Spring Festival.
We thought for this post we would focus on Rondeau Provincial Park and two of its annual spring birdwatching festivals.
Rondeau Provincial Park is a giant crescent shaped sandspit found southeast of Chatham, Ontario. Known for its delicate dunes, marshlands and its magnificent Carolininian forest (one of Canada’s largest), the park is where Tundra Swans and various other species of waterfowl stop to rest and feed before flying to their breeding grounds further north. Some years, tens of thousands of waterfowl flock to Rondeau Bay.
Wings of Spring will be staged by the Rondeau Bay Waterfowlers Association and the Friends of Rondeau on March 19 and 20. Activities are planned to suit all ages and include birdhouse building, children’s crafts, waterfowl viewing stations along the bay, a live bird of prey show (19th at 1:00 p.m.), local artisans, and a BBQ lunch. The first 25 cars to enter the park will be paid for by the waterfowlers association. If you’re not one of those first 25 cars, this festival is still a great deal. Activities are free with the purchase of a park day-use permit (with exception of the BBQ).
Rondeau Provincial Park’s Festival of Flight is another event you won’t want to miss. It celebrates the return of the songbirds and will take place May 4 through to May 23. Up to 350 species nest or move through the park during the month of May. Laura Penner, Rondeau Provincial Park’s Acting Natural Heritage Leader says, “Festival of Flight visitors have been treated to some great sightings over the years, even some really odd sightings like Scissor Tailed Flycatchers and Harris’s Sparrow. Last year, we had Blue Grosbeaks and a few Prothonotary Warblers which are becoming very rare in Ontario.”
For more details on the Festival of Flight at Rondeau Provincial Park and other migratory festivals taking place in Ontario Parks, see Ontario Parks’ calendar of events. In the meantime, Ontbirds.ca is a great site to check for the latest Ontario bird sightings.
Looking for more March Break activities in Ontario Parks? Click here