Feb 042017
 

I had a male Red-bellied Woodpecker at my feeder on George street in Lakefield on February 2, 2017. It spent enough time on the feeder to identify and was confirmed by photo from David Wells. Great website!  John D’Andrea
For the past two days (Jan. 31, Feb. 1) our black sunflower feeder has been visited by a male Red-bellied Woodpecker. I’ve observed birds for a long time, but I have never seen one of these beautiful creatures. According to my Peterson Guide their range seems to be limited to south of the Great Lakes.We have quite a few Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers. They gorge themselves at the feeder and in the process throw seed all over the ground. In contrast, the Red-bellied grabs a couple of seeds and flies away to return a few minutes later – not unlike the behaviour of chickadees. We live on the 4th Line of Asphodel, 2 km north of highway #7.  Bill Hooper

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Nov. 30, 2013 (Robert Latham)

Feb 042017
 


Port Rowan, ON—A lot has changed since the first Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) was held in 1998. Each year brings unwavering enthusiasm from the growing number of participants in this now-global event. The 20th annual GBBC is taking place February 17-20 in backyards, parks, nature centres, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies, and beaches—anywhere you find birds.
Birdwatchers from around the world enjoy counting their birds and entering the GBBC photo contest. Photo by Ann Foster, Florida, 2016 GBBC. Download larger image.
Birdwatchers count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org. All the data contribute to a snapshot of bird distribution and help scientists see changes over the past 20 years.
“The very first GBBC was an experiment,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program. “We wanted to see if people would use the Internet to send us their bird sightings. Clearly the experiment was a success!” eBird collects bird observations globally every day of the year and is the online platform used by the GBBC.
That first year, birdwatchers submitted about 13,500 checklists from the United States and Canada. Fast-forward to the most recent event in 2016. An estimated 163,763 birdwatchers from more than 100 countries submitted 162,052 bird checklists reporting 5689 species–more than half the known bird species in the world.
“The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way to introduce people to participation in citizen science,” says Audubon Vice President and Chief Scientist Gary Langham. “No other program allows volunteers to take an instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations that can contribute to our understanding of how a changing climate is affecting birds.”
Varying weather conditions so far this winter are producing a few trends that GBBC participants can watch for during the count. eBird reports show many more waterfowl and kingfishers remaining further north than usual because they are finding open water. If that changes, these birds could move southward.

Also noted are higher than usual numbers of Bohemian Waxwings in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains. And while some winter finches have been spotted in the East, such as Red Crossbills, Common Redpolls, Evening Grosbeaks, and a few Pine Grosbeaks, there seem to be no big irruptions so far. A few eye-catching Snowy Owls have been reported in the northern half of the United States.

Jon McCracken, Bird Studies Canada’s National Program Director, reminds participants in Canada and the U.S. to keep watch for snowies. He says, “The GBBC has done a terrific job of tracking irruptions of Snowy Owls southward over the past several years. We can’t predict what winter 2017 will bring, because Snowy Owl populations are so closely tied to unpredictable ‘cycles’ of lemmings in the Arctic. These cycles occur at intervals between two and six years.  Nevertheless, there are already reports of Snowy Owls as far south as Virginia.’

In addition to counting birds, the GBBC photo contest has also been a hit since it was introduced in 2006. Since then, tens of thousands of stunning images have been submitted. For the 20th anniversary of the GBBC, the public is invited to vote for their favourite top photo from each of the past 11 years in a special album they will find on the GBBC website home page. Voting takes place during the four days of the GBBC.

Learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count at birdcount.org where downloadable instructions and an explanatory PowerPoint are available. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada. The GBBC is made possible in part in Canada by sponsors Armstrong Bird Food and Wild Birds Unlimited.
Contacts:

Kerrie Wilcox, Bird Studies Canada, (519) 586-3531 ext. 134, kwilcox@birdscanada.org
Agatha Szczepaniak, Audubon, (212) 979-3197, aszczepaniak@audubon.org
Pat Leonard, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, (607) 254-2137, pel27@cornell.edu

Feb 042017
 

I live in the Youngstown subdivision in Ennismore, just up from the causeway. I was reading your recent list of birds in the area on your annual bird count. You noted that no Barred Owls were seen during the count. About two weeks ago now, I saw a Barred Owl fly into a tree behind my backyard which, runs down to Chemong Lake. He stayed on that branch for about 45 minutes.
Randy Hayes, Ennismore

Barred Owl – Feb. 2017 – Randy Hayes

Feb 042017
 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) (1)
– Reported Feb 03, 2017 10:16 by Iain Rayner
– Otonabee River–between Lock 24 and 25, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34129948
– Comments: “Continuing male o n far shore halfway between both locs”

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) (1)
– Reported Feb 02, 2017 08:38 by Matthew Tobey
– Trent River–Asphodel 5th Line, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34118931
– Comments: “Female with Common Mergansers. ”

Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis) (1)
– Reported Feb 03, 2017 13:33 by Matthew Tobey
– Peterborough–Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34135387
– Comments: “calling spontaneously from frozen wetland along the John de Pencier trail (west side of University Rd). Responsive to pishing, allowing for good views.”

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (1)
– Reported Feb 02, 2017 12:15 by Ken Abraham
– Crawford Dr at SSF & Parkway, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34134615
– Comments: “Bird sitting on shrub branch in slight opening about 4 feet above ditch with water, facing road. Blue head, shoulders, rusty-red upper breast interrupted by light abdomen clearly visible. In the midst of EUST and AMRO movement.”

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (8) CONFIRMED
– Reported Feb 02, 2017 15:40 by Erica Nol
– Hannah Road, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34127791
– Comments: “flock flew across Hannah Rd near intersection with Evertson Road; blue backs, smaller than robins but similar shape; may be same flock as seen previously in this area”

Winter Wren – Wikimedia

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds – male at upper right – Wikimedia

Feb 042017
 

Yesterday morning (Feb. 3), we saw a Bald Eagle perched on a post south of Lakefield on the shore of the Otonabee River. We thought it might be a Golden Eagle or immature Bald Eagle. On our way home, we drove along the same stretch and saw the first bird with two others… a mature Bald Eagle and another younger one. We thought the younger ones could have been different ages since one’s plumage was closer to that of an adult than the first bird’s. Quite a sight…   (N.B.  left to right, there is a 1st winter, a 4th winter, and an adult plumage birdTim Dyson)
There were also three Trumpeter Swans on the same part of the river.

Gwen Forsyth, Lakefield

Immature Bald Eagle 2 – Otonabee R. – Feb. 3, 2017 – Gwen Forsyth

(L to R) 1st winter, 4th winter and adult Bald Eagle  – Otonabee R. – Feb. 3, 2017 – Gwen Forsyth

Trumpeter Swans – Otonabee River – Feb. 3, 2017 – Gwen Forsyth