Migrating north: how I became a “Bird Nerd”

Today’s post comes from Sarah Wiebe, the senior park naturalist at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park

Before this year, I would have never considered myself a “Bird Nerd.”

My journey began in my southern Ontario home, but it wasn’t until I arrived at my summer destination (Kettle Lakes!) that I truly hit my nerdy stride.

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Birding with benefits: therapeutic benefits of bird watching

Birdwatching is a time-honoured tradition that many people enjoy today, offering the opportunity to switch off from the modern world and get back to nature.

Whether you’re simply investing in a bird feeder for your backyard or going for a walk in your local park, birding is beneficial to both your mind and body.

It is renowned for being a meditative exercise where you are fully present in the moment.

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The annual birding battle for the golden binoculars

In today’s post, Learning & Education Specialist Rachelle Law recounts Team Ontario’s push to find as many birds as possible. 

Every year, a team of expert birders from Ontario Parks prepare — binoculars in hand — to compete in a heated competition.

The goal: spot and record as many bird species as they can over one weekend, and win the coveted “golden” binoculars.

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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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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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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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