Piping Plovers

Today’s post comes from Assistant Ecologist and Piping Plover specialist Ian Fife.

If you’ve visited some of our popular Great Lakes beaches, you may have noticed restricted areas for a tiny bird no larger than a sparrow.

What’s so important about these birds, and why do we fence off parts of our beaches to protect them?

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May’s digital download

With the arrival of spring comes the familiar call of our provincial bird.

The sights and sounds of these iconic birds capture the hearts of all Ontarians.

Learn more about the Common Loon.

Throughout 2021, we’re sharing a free downloadable graphic for you to use as wallpaper for your favourite devices. We’ve specially sized these images for your computers, tablets, smartphones and Facebook covers.

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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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We’re here for the birds: how to be an ethical birder

It’s officially spring, which means that birds are winging their way back to our parks — and birders won’t be far behind them!

As birding becomes more popular, and with the initiation of the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, we’re expecting that this will be a big year for the activity.

Whether this is your first season birding or your 91st, we know you want to act in a way that is respectful and protects our feathered park inhabitants.

If you and your binoculars are venturing into a park this season, read on for our top suggestions for ethical birding.

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Discover birds with your kids

Today’s post comes from Eva Paleczny, 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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Saving the unseen: managing habitat for Eastern Whip-poor-will at Pinery

For some, it’s the song of summertime. For others, it’s the song that signals impending doom. It was part of what made Hank Williams (so) lonesome, but many consider its presence far too surrounding.

Despite your interpretation, it’s easy to learn this bird’s classic “WHUP-poor-WILL” song.

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The Breeding Bird Atlas is coming to Ontario Parks!

This year marks the beginning of an exciting five years for Ontario Parks (2021-2025)!

We’re supporting the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas: an enormous community science initiative that aims to survey all the province’s breeding birds.

It’s a big job, so if you like birds and care about their conservation, we could use your help!

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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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