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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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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Turtle eggs and salamander spawn: spring monitoring at Grundy Lake

Today’s article comes from Emily Wright, Discovery Program Leader at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.

Spring at Grundy Lake is a quiet time of year. The lake waters are cold from the melting snow and ice, birds are just starting to arrive from their long migrations, and visitors are few and far between.

Park staff, however, are often busy and bustling about as they begin to prepare for another season of campers.

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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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Presqu’ile’s Waterfowl Weekend

During March, spectacular events are taking place at Ontario Parks. One of them takes flight at Presqu’ile Provincial Park’s on March 21-22, 2020.

It’s the 44th anniversary of Waterfowl Weekend, hosted by park staff and Friends of Presqu’ile Provincial Park volunteers.

Make plans to witness one of the best waterfowl migrations in the world!

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Ollie and Oona’s new pad

Port Burwell Provincial Park is a hot spot for large raptors.

Two local Osprey (affectionately named Ollie and Oona) fish Big Otter Creek and the shores of Lake Erie, regularly bringing their “catch of the day” back to the park’s radio tower to settle in for some fine dining high above the park.

In February of 2019, local volunteer Cliff Dickinson approached the park about the feasibility of installing an Osprey nesting platform.

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