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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IBAs of Ontario Parks: spring migration on Lake Erie

Welcome to the May installment “IBAs in provincial parks,” brought to you by Ontario IBA Coordinator Amanda Bichel of Bird Studies Canada.

Did you know Saturday (May 11, 2019) was International Migratory Bird Day! What a wonderful reason to highlight sites renowned for migrating songbirds!

In today’s post, we’re chatting about two of Ontario’s southern-most Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas:

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10 signs of spring at Ontario Parks

Spring has sprung at Ontario Parks!

The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and the days of snow and sleet are (hopefully!) behind us. As the snow melts, enjoy the sensory delights of spring in our provincial parks as we see and hear signs of warm weather to come.

You know it’s spring in Ontario Parks when…

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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, 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?

Some fun ideas you can try out:

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The spring bird migration

Today’s post was written by Laura Penner, Natural Heritage Education Leader at Rondeau Provincial Park.

Watching a forest 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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Spring birding festivals

The songbirds are returning and bringing spring with them!

Catch a bird-banding demonstration, take in a nature photography workshop, or sign on for a bird-themed hike with our park naturalists.

If you love songbirds, you won’t want to miss the Ontario Parks spring birding festivals:

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Keeping up with the Canada Jay

Today’s blog post comes from bird researchers Alex Sutton and Koley Freeman, PhD candidates at the University of Guelph.

In the world of Canada Jays, winter means one thing: it’s breeding season!

Canada Jays are common in Algonquin Provincial Park. Continuing a 55 year-old tradition, a dedicated team of researchers is monitoring breeding pairs. This is the longest study of its kind in the world!

With each passing year, more is learned about the breeding behaviour and life history of these remarkable birds.

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Birding in the boreal

Lev Frid, birder par excellence, recently explored some of our northern parks, and wrote us the following post. If you love songbirds, this is a must-read!

For many Ontario birdwatchers, it’s all about the spring. Great Lakes havens such as Rondeau, MacGregor Point and Presqu’ile Provincial Parks host birding festivals and draw lots of visitors itching to see newly-arrived spring migrants.

What you might not know is that there are many opportunities to view these same birds on their breeding grounds in the boreal forest in some of our northern parks.

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