Dec 182017
 

 

Bald Eagle:  We live on the Sixth Line of Selwyn (right behind Paris Marine). I spotted this adult Bald eagle in the tree beside our house on Monday, December 18. Hope you enjoy it. Heather Turner

BAEA – Dec. 18, 2017 – Paris Marine, Selwyn Twsp – Heather Turner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-winged Blackbirds:  My “ long overdue to leave”, so-called friends. They sometimes number over 30! (Dec. 23, 2017) Michael Gillespie, David Fife Line, Keene

Red-winged Blackbirds – Dec. 23, 2017 – Fife Line _ Michael Gillespie

 

This morning, there was a pair of Red-winged Blackbirds at my bird feeder. I live just east of Westwood, between Keene and Hastings, and have never noticed red-winged blackbirds here at this time of year before. Is this the new normal? Debbie Lynch, Westwood

N.B.  Not the new normal, but more than usual this winter. Most years at this time there are a few reported, but usually less than five. They may be part of the same flock that has shown up on Fife Line. D.M.

RWBLs – Dec. 23, 2017 – Debbie Lynch

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) (1)
– Reported Dec 22, 2017 10:00 by Dave Milsom
– 1093 Scollard Drive, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.3412121,-78.3001087&ll=44.3412121,-78.3001087
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41253932
– Comments: “female made very brief visit this morning”

Note: Also seen December 24.

Ring-necked Pheasant – female -Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Ravens: On December 22, at 250 Lindsay Road, between Craftworks and Pawz-N-Train, I saw 30 ravens circling above the silo on a barn. David Beaucage-Johnson

Common Raven – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolina Wren (Northern) (Thryothorus ludovicianus [ludovicianus Group]) (1)
– Reported Dec 20, 2017 13:11 by Matthew Tobey
– Matthew’s Backyard, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41220532
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “Visited feeder for a brief period; flew off before I could get a decent record shot.”

Carolina Wren (Wikimedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharp-shinned Hawk: I’m quite distraught, because a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew straight into one of our windows on December 16. Had a quick demise. This happened close to the bird feeder, which was well populated at the time.  Jill Stocker, Millbrook

Sharp-shinned Hawk – window collision – Millbrook – Dec. 16, 2017 – Jill Stocker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodpeckers and a shrike: I had a Red-bellied Woodpecker (male) at the suet feeder and sunflower feeder yesterday and today (Dec. 17, 18). Pretty exciting -and hard to miss. It seems like all the woodpeckers – Pileated, Hairy and Downy – have been pretty active the past few days. On Dec. 21, I also had a visit from a Northern Shrike! Annamarie Beckel, Lakefield

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Lynde Creek, Whitby- Photo by Brian Crangle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opossums and Robins: We have had visitation since late summer of a pair of Opossums….rather unusual creatures…. rather comical the way they walk and run off when you talk to them….we haven’t had problem with raccoons since they came and they don’t seem to bother our rabbits that come all year for a date wrapped in whole wheat bread…… some of my most loveable friends have been the robins we have. One we call Robbie Robin… he picked up on the feeding of rabbits in early spring and took a taste for the dates they were getting from us, so he now perches on the rail outside the patio doors, waiting for the next treat… this also lead to grapes, raisins and apples … he would come maybe 6 times a day …if we didn’t go out he started coming to the patio doors and looking in… this has been going on for 3 years……he is different than the other robins in that he has some feathers that seem to be sticking out on one side of his body…. just a few of my memories for spring, summer and fall and winter… we have the Opossum still and our lovely rabbits….. we are located on the north side of Rice Lake in the Bailieboro area on the lake……. we also have an otter and a beaver that eats cedar hedges!  Esther Ross

Opossum on Johnston Drive, south of Peterborough – Mary Beth Aspinall – Feb. 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) (2)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 10:13 by Scott Gibson
– aa_Peterborough – Edmison Rd right-of-way, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 2 Photos
– Comments: “first birds of the day! both in same spot, 200m in from end of Edmison Rd.”

Fox Sparrow – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis) (1)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 10:00 by Scott McKinlay
– Peterborough, Ontario, CA (44.225, -78.293), Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “I saw this bird through my Kowa scope from considerable distance (1km?) as it was flying over an open field in full sunlight . It had broad wings and slow arching wing beats typial of large herons and cranes, and it was clearly brown in colour, even at that distance. I was reluctant to call it because of the distance and time of year, but nothing else fit. This was during our Peterborough Christmas bird count and when I reunited with the rest of the group for our sector, who had been surveying the area in the direction of my sighting, the first thing they said, before hearing about my sighting, was that they had seen what looked like a sandhill crane. They described it as being the size of a blue heron, with an outstretched neck and long trailing legs. All three birders were adamant that it was not a blue heron, and that it was lighter in colour than a blue heron. They had viewed it while it was flying low over fields just ahead and of and to the side of the car they were travelling in. They followed it and then got out of the car to watch it in binoculars as it continued to fly in my general direction. There are no photos.”

Sandhill Crane (Wikimedia)

Great Blue Heron (Paul Anderson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Screech-Owl (Northern) (Megascops asio [asio Group]) (1)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 07:50 by Matthew Tobey
– Peterborough CBC Area 7, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Mervin Ln.”

Eastern Screech-owl – red phase – 9th Line of Selwyn Twsp – March 11, 2017, Kathy McCue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis) (2)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 08:30 by Scott McKinlay
– Bensfort Road Landfill Site, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist:

Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis) (1)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 10:13 by Scott Gibson
– aa_Peterborough – Edmison Rd right-of-way, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “middle of marsh”

Northern Shrike – Tom Northey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) (1)
– Reported Dec 17, 2017 07:36 by Luke Berg
– Peterborough CBC Area 2, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Snow Bunting (from Crossley ID Guide)


		
Dec 022017
 

 

 

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Dec 02, 2017 09:40 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Peterborough–E side Airport Rd opposite Peterborough Municipal Airport, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “perched atop ventilation ducts on roof of easternmost blue building (Flying Colours Corp) on N side airport. Record shot from 500 m to S.”

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Dec 01, 2017 07:25 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Truthfully in Kawartha Lakes…Sitting on green marker buoy across lake directly out from launch. Seen well through scope in good viewing conditions with limited haze. Some markings on breast, clean white head.”

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1) Yesterday afternoon, November 30, I was lucky enough to have a Snowy Owl perch on top of my house around noon. I only noticed when I heard the crows alarm-calling. I live right on George Street in Peterborough and added the observation to eBird if you’re interested in exactly where he was. He was beautiful and rested there for about 20 minutes. It was a first for me and a very timely sighting given your article!   Jenn Baici

 

Snowy Owl (Karin Laine)

Snowy Owl (Nima Taghaboni)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redhead (Aythya americana) (1)
– Reported Dec 02, 2017 11:13 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Rice Lake–Pengelly Landing, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map:
– Checklist:
– Comments: “male, in with HOME in mixed flock to W of cormorant colony on island”

male Redhead – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great morning of birding in Peterborough and southern Peterborough County

The highlight of our birding outing this morning, November 29, were the waterfowl at Pengelley Landing on Rice Lake, located at the bottom of Scriven Road. They included 400 Common Mergansers, 200 Hooded Mergansers, 500 Canada Geese and 1 Common Loon. We also saw a Rough-legged Hawk on Country Road 2, just east of Bailieboro. In Peterborough, we found 2 American Coots by the Silver Bean Cafe at Millenium Park, 2 Pied-billed Grebes at the T-wharf on Little Lake, 64 American Goldfinch and 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet at Little Lake Cemetery and 24 American Robins at GreenUP Ecology Park.  The goldfinch were eating seeds from the abundant cones on the Eastern White Cedar. The robins were feeding on European Buckthorn berries.

Drew Monkman, Martin Parker and Brian Wales

Common Merganser (female), Wikimedia

Common Merganser male – Wikimedia

male Hooded Merganser – Peter Beales

Pied-billed Grebe – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rough-legged Hawk (Karl Egressy)

American Coot (Karl Egressy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) (1) CONFIRMED
– Reported Nov 25, 2017 08:01 by Daniel Williams
– Peterborough–Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Yellow rump, faint yellow on sides, white chin/throat. Feeding along waters edge near railway bridge. Calling frequently. ”

Yellow-rumped Warbler at feeder – Nov. 28, 2014 Franmor Dr. Ptbo – Sue Prentice

Cackling Goose (Richardson’s) (Branta hutchinsii hutchinsii) (1)
– Reported Nov 26, 2017 13:46 by Martin Parker
– Rice Lake–Pengelly Landing, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “With large Canada Goose flock near shore on Rice Lake.”

Cackling Goose (foreground) – Brendan Boyd

Oct 232017
 

 

 October 28 – For the second time this week, a Cooper’s Hawk was in my yard today. I knew it was around because a couple of dozen Mourning Doves flew out of the spruce tree they roost in.  Sue Paradisis

Cooper’s Hawk on Rock Pigeon – Helen Nicolaides Keller

 

 Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) (2)
– Reported Oct 28, 2017 11:59 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Dirtyish cheeks and neck, long bill”

Red-necked Grebe. The grebe in the lower right is in winter plumage. – Wikimedia

 
October 27 – I had four Red-shouldered Hawks here at home today, plus nine Red-tailed Hawks, and one  Sharp-shinned Hawk for my hours sitting out in between chopping wood. The Red-shouldered Hawks were three adults and one immature, and the Red-tailed Hawks were about half and half. The Sharp-shinned Hawk? Couldn’t tell – a bit too high. For a little while at least, it was hopping around the sky here!! No more Monarchs since #532 on October 26 at Nephton. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a November sighting, but if I am going to, I’ll bet it will be this year. This last week of October is certainly the best week of the year, not only to count Red-tailed Hawks and Golden Eagles, but also Red-shouldered Hawks, as well. I am glad to be getting out and looking up.  Tim Dyson, Warsaw

Red-shouldered Hawk – Karl Egressy

 

Monarch – Saw a Monarch today, October 26, on Nephton Ridge, near Petroglyph Provincial Park. Was gliding southward about 50′ above ground despite temperature around 8C!  Drew Monkman

Monarch Butterfly – Terry Carpenter

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Oct 27, 2017 07:50 by Scott Gibson
– Downtown – MNR Building, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Peregrine – often seen on MNR Bldg & sometimes clock tower in downtown Peterborough (Rick Stankiewicz)

Mallard: Here’s a photo of a leucistic (lacking normal pigment) Mallard photographed this summer near Whitaker Street, west of Armour Street North in Peterborough. The bird departed in early October. We nick-named the bird “Miss Vicky”!  Gord Young

Leucistic mallard – Whitaker Mills, Ptbo – summer 2017 – Gord Young

American Robin:  Watched a small flock today, October 23, feeding on abundant berry-like cones of Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginia) at Roper Park –  Drew Monkman

Robin feeding on E. Red Cedar berries at Roper Park 2017-10-23 – Drew Monkman

Berry-like cones of Eastern Red Cedar – Sept. 19, 2017 – PRHC – Drew Monkman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolina Wren:  Turned up at my feeder today, October 23.  Phil McKeating, Creekwood Drive, near Harper Park in Peterborough

 

Carolina Wren (Wikimedia)

Black Scoter (Melanitta americana) (2)
– Reported Oct 23, 2017 07:44 by Iain Rayner
– Pigeon Lake–Sandy Point, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Female type. Black ducks with pale cheek”

Black Scoter – Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds – Wikimedia

 

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 10:45 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “calling (‘crick’) from high in Red Pine then in flight W over beaver pond; W side entrance loop road around 250 m N of locked gate at CR 56.”

Black-backed Woodpecker – Wikimedia

Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 08:25 by Brian Wales
– Peterborough Landfill Wetland Project ponds, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “white goose with clear grinning patch along beak”

SNGO – Rice L. – Oct. 18, 2014 -Ron Mackay

 

Oct. 22 – Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) (1)
– Reported Oct 22, 2017 07:06 by Iain Rayner
– Ptbo – Yard – Bear Creek Rd, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Red Crossbill – male – Wikimedia

Oct 212017
 

Oct. 21 – Narrow-winged Tree Cricket – Rob Tonus found this very late tree cricket on the grass beside the Rotary-Greenway Trail, just south of Nichol’s Oval Park. Note the reddish cap. This species sings at only at night, producing a mellow trill of variable length (usually 2-10 seconds). It is reminiscent of an American Toad. Drew Monkman

Narrow-winged Tree Cricket (Oecanthus niveus) 2 – Nichol’s Oval – Oct. 21, 2017 – D. Monkman

 

Oct 21 – Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 21, 2017 15:44 by Warren Dunlop
– Peterborough Landfill Wetland Project ponds, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “adult, white morph”

Snow Geese (Marcel Boulay)

 

October 20 – Monarch butterfly – I saw a very late Monarch today on County Road 16 at Edenderry Line. This is my latest date ever. There were also 10 Wild Turkeys in the same field.  Drew Monkman

Monarch on Boneset flowers – Drew Monkman

Opossum:  Recently, I found the remains of an Opossum – skin still intact – in our backyard. There were a couple of tufts of skin and hair nearby, so I am thinking our neighbours cat dispatched of it but didn’t like the taste! Our neighbour, directly behind us, found one on his property (also dead) one week before. Our neighbour at the end of our sub-division (Simons)..off Simons Ave. (off Chemong Rd.) saw a live one a short time ago and another neighbour saw one as well. On another topic, we have a variety of different birds in our sub-division from time to time, including 12 American Robins or so that stay all winter for a few years now…We did have frogs and toads but the frogs have gradually disappeared from view in the last few years. The strip of woods behind our sub-division and behind McDonald’s, adjacent to our sub-division and below the hill/tower behind Sobey’s, had or have coyotes and an occasional deer or fox are spotted from these areas. Sadly, not commonly known, we will be subject to more houses taking up the 25 acres in those areas mentioned by the year 2022. We are on wells yet with no benefits…but we too will feel the loss of land and habitat, its animal inhabitants and maybe our health as well.  Gloria Lamond

An opossum photographed in Ennismore several years ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 20 – Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) (1)
– Reported Oct 20, 2017 08:02 by Iain Rayner
– Peterborough–Fairbairn Street wetland, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Calling and then finaly seen moveing through hedgerow. Well seen from close distance. Black back head and tail, rusty sides. White patch on wing and white either side of tail”

Eastern Towhee – Karl Egressy

October 17 – Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) (1)
– Reported Oct 17, 2017 20:00 by Michael Mechan
– James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Dave Heuft)

October 15 – Just looked out the window and there were Chipping Sparrows everywhere. I was counting and at 18 when the White-throats came back again and I gave up. They are loving the spruce and birch seeds.    Sue Paradisis

Chipping Sparrow – Karl Egressy

 

 

October 14  – American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) (1)
– Reported Oct 14, 2017 17:23 by Amie MacDonald
– Peterborough–Loggerhead Marsh, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

American Pipit (from The Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds)

October 14 – Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) (3)
– Reported Oct 14, 2017 09:23 by Chris Risley
– Trent University: N. end of DNA building, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Lincoln’s Sparrow – Wikimedia

 

October 11 – Virginia Opossum

On or about this date, Hugh Kidd trapped and released a Virginia Opossum at the east end of the 7th Line of Selwyn, near the Otonabee River. Report via Leo Conlin

Opossum on Johnston Drive, south of Peterborough – Mary Beth Aspinall – Feb. 2014

Feb 152017
 

Today, February 15,  I was at band practice at Living Hope Church on Lansdowne St. east beside the OPP building. There are 12 crab apple trees in front of the church and I counted 5-6 American Robins in each tree. That’s a lot of robins in one spot.! They were in a feeding frenzy.  Ron Craig

Today, February 15, I had 18 American Robins in my yard. They have been eating the apples from my flowering crab tree, which for some reason didn’t all drop in the fall. I have been throwing out dried cranberries and read on the Internet that they also will eat small pieces of apples, soaked raisins and possibly pieces of oranges.  Is there anything else I can put out for them? I am usually lucky to have two robins in the summer so this is such a treat to have so many! Also, the man who snowblows my driveway said he saw about 100 American Robins near the Holiday Inn on February 12.   Marg Byer, Chamberlain St., Peterborough

NOTE: You may want to try putting out mealworms. D.M.

Today, February 13, I had 9 American Robins feeding on berries in my mountain-ash trees. Nick Chaggares, MacDonald St., Peterborough

I saw this tree full of mostly American Robins when I was out walking on Dublin St. They were feeding on a mountain-ash tree across the road.  When I first passed the mountain-ash, I counted 25 robins feeding. So much for flying south.   Ron Craig

Mostly robins in tree on Dublin Street – Feb. 12, 2017, Ron Craig

Well who knew? We were walking through Beavermead Park near the campgrounds on February 6, when we saw a multitude of birds – over 30 – that we at first did not recognize. We were surprised once we realized it was a flock of American Robins Helen and Larry Keller

American Robins feeding on Wild Grape – Beavermead Park – Feb. 7, 2016 – Helen & Larry Keller –

Today, February 7, we noticed at least 30 American Robins feasting on crabapples in our backyard. We have seen one or two robins in the crabapple tree over the years but never a small flock.  Jim Falls, Peterborough (west end)

Today, February 7, I saw at least 30 American Robins feeding in trees along the road off of Clonsilla Avenue that leads to the Dollarama / HomeSense parking lot. Michelle Monkman

At about 4:35 pm on February 6,  I noticed about 60 American Robins in my backyard treeline. I used to race pigeons so I’m pretty good at counting the number of birds in a flock! LOL   Gavin Hunter, Omemee

I live near the corner of Monaghan Road and Charlotte Street in Peterborough and saw a flock of ‘huge’ American Robins this morning. Quite round in shape! Sarah Thompson, Hazeldean Ave.

I continue to have a very large flock of American Robins and European Starlings feeding in the crab apple tree. Yesterday, Feb. 3, there were 4 dozen + robins and well over 100 starlings. With the flock was 1 Cedar Waxwing and 1 Bohemian Waxwing. Also, one of the robins was leusistic but it flew off before I could get a picture. There were birds everywhere!  Sue Paradisis, Tudor Crescent

Robins & Bohemian Waxwing in crab apple tree – Feb. 4, 2016 – Sue Paradisis

We have a flock of at least 50 American Robins showing up the last 3 days at our place on Chemong Lake, north of Fowlers Corners. Bob Hancock

We have a flock of at least 20 to 30 American Robins in our European Mountain-ash. Some waxwings, too. Rob Tonus, Farmcrest Avenue

I had 12 American Robins feeding on European Buckthorn berries in the tree behind my house on February 4. Drew Monkman, Maple Crescent, Peterborough

This morning, I had 25-30 American Robins feeding in my crab apple trees. Brad Gillen, Montcalm Drive, Peterborough

As of February 4, there are quite a few American Robins at 879 Parkhill Road west in Peterborough. Do you have any idea of what to feed them?   Cliff Mccollow

Note:  The robins will do just fine without feeding them at all. There is abundant wild food around this year, especially wild grape, mountain-ash berries, winterberry holly, crabapple and European buckthorn.  However, you could try putting out some raisins that have been softened by soaking them in water. Personally, I’ve never tried feeding them. D.M.

Jan 192017
 

Between mid-December and early January, birders in over 2000 localities across North, Central and South America took a break from the holiday festivities to spend a day outside, identifying and counting birds. Dating all the way back to 1900, the Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest-running Citizen Science projects in the world. The information collected by thousands of volunteer participants forms one of the world’s largest sets of wildlife survey data. The data are used daily by conservation biologists and naturalists to assess the population trends and distribution of birds. The counts are organized at the local level, often by a birding club or naturalist organization.

The count area is always a circle, measuring 24 kilometres in diameter. The circle is then sub-divided into sectors, each of which is covered by a group of birders. This involves driving as many of the roads in the sector as possible and walking or skiing into off-road areas of different habitat types. The basic idea is to identify and count – as accurately as possible – every bird seen or heard.

Once again this year, two counts took place locally – one centred in Peterborough and the other in Petroglyphs Provincial Park. Martin Parker of the Peterborough Field Naturalists organized the Peterborough count, while Colin Jones compiled the Petroglyphs count.

Peterborough Count

The 65th Peterborough Christmas Bird Count was held December 18 under cold but sunny conditions. Forty-one members and friends of the Peterborough Field Naturalists spent all or part of the day in the field, while seven others kept track of birds visiting their feeders. One observer was also out before dawn listening for owls.

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

By the end of the day, participants found 13,860 individual birds, which is a new high. A total of 59 species was recorded. There were two new species for the count, a Horned Grebe and two Eastern Bluebirds. The grebe was found on the Otonabee River at Millennium Park, while the bluebirds turned up near the intersection of the Lang-Hastings Trans Canada Trail and County Road 35. The grebe and bluebirds bring the total number of species found on the count its 65-year history to 130.

The biggest story of this year’s count, however, was the huge number of American Robins. These birds clearly missed the memo that it was time to migrate! The 1,943 robins recorded more than doubled the previous high of 759 tallied in 2011. Observers described seeing flock after flock of robins flying across roads and fields to thickets full of wild grape – a favourite winter food and the main reason why so many robins took a pass on flying any further south. If the birds can get enough to eat, cold is not a problem. It will be interesting to see if there is sufficient food to keep the robins remain here until spring.

Record highs were also tallied for Bald Eagles (5), Eastern Screech Owls (4),   American Crows (953), White-breasted Nuthatches (120), and Dark-eyed Juncos (543). Previous highs were tied for Sharp-shinned Hawks (5) and Red-bellied Woodpeckers (8).

Three rarely seen species also turned up, namely a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Snow Goose and a Brown Thrasher. This was only the second time the latter two species have ever been found on the count. Thrashers are usually in Louisiana at this time of year!

American Robin in mountain-ash March 2014 – Jeff Keller

As is the case every year, there were also some notable low numbers. For instance, observers only found only 71 Canada Geese. This was because cold weather just before the count had reduced the amount of open water. As has been the pattern in recent years, the number of Great Horned Owls (1) and Ruffed Grouse (2) was also very low. To put this into context, 82 grouse were recorded in 1979. It is well known, however, that grouse numbers fluctuate a great deal from year to year and even decade to decade. The factors responsible for these periodic fluctuations remain poorly understood. As for Great Horned Owls, the Canadian population has declined by over 70% since the 1960s.

The overall data for the Peterborough count is as follows: Snow Goose 1, Canada Goose 71,  American Black Duck 5, Mallard 1006, Long-tailed Duck 1, Bufflehead 1, Common Goldeneye 95, Hooded Merganser 2, Common Merganser 1, Ruffed Grouse 2, Wild Turkey 88, Horned Grebe 1, Sharp-shinned Hawk  5, Cooper’s Hawk 1, Northern Goshawk 2, Bald Eagle 5, Red-tailed Hawk 25, Rough-legged Hawk 2, Ring-billed Gull 71, Herring Gull 131, Lesser Black-backed Gull 1, Great Black-backed Gull 1, Rock Pigeon 1006, Mourning Dove 515, Eastern Screech-Owl 4, Great Horned Owl 1, Belted Kingfisher 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker 8, Downy Woodpecker 64, Hairy Woodpecker 40, Northern Flicker 5, Pileated Woodpecker 7, Merlin 2, Peregrine 1, Northern Shrike 3, Blue Jay 261, American Crow 953, Common Raven 29, Black-capped Chickadee 1722, Red-breasted Nuthatch 15, White-breasted Nuthatch 120, Brown Creeper 6, Eastern Bluebird 2, American Robin 1943, Brown Thrasher 1, European Starling 2674, Bohemian Waxwing 4, Cedar Waxwing 220, Snow Bunting 1010, American Tree Sparrow 344, Dark-eyed Junco 543, White-throated Sparrow 2,  Northern Cardinal 104, Brown-headed Cowbird 1,  House Finch 44, Purple Finch 1, American Goldfinch 533, and House Sparrow 147.

Petroglyph Count

The 31st Petroglyph Christmas Bird Count took place on December 27, in less than favourable weather conditions. The day was dull and overcast with strong winds and intermittent periods of light snow and freezing drizzle. The strong winds made listening difficult for the 24 participants. A successful Christmas bird count depends not only on seeing the birds but also on hearing them. Calm days are therefore best. Only 28 species were found, which is six lower than the 10-year average. The number of individual birds (1937) was also below average.

Although no new species were recorded, there were some notable sightings. A record 318 Bohemian Waxwings was more than four times the previous high of 76. A Cooper’s Hawk was recorded for only the fourth time on the count, and a Rough-legged Hawk turned up for only the sixth time. The 11 American Robins counted was only two shy of the previous high.

Bohemian Waxwing (Karl Egressy)

As for low counts, only six Ruffed Grouse were recorded. This is well below the 10-year average of 22 and the count high of 77. Blue Jay numbers were down, too, with only 74 putting in an appearance. The 10-year average is 271, and count high is 653. A poor acorn crop probably explains the Blue Jay’s relative scarcity. Most jays simply chose to migrate south this year in search of more abundant food. Numbers of Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Golden-crowned Kinglets were also much lower than average.

A worrisome miss was the Gray Jay. A pair was visiting a feeder just before the count but was not present on count day. An average of five birds was recorded every year up until 2009. Since then, however, they have only been tallied once on the day of the count. Gray Jays are one of many species that are expected to decrease in number as the climate warms, especially at the southern edge of their range such as here in the Kawarthas.

No Barred Owls were found this year, either. This very vocal species had been recorded every year since 1995 except for 2012 and this year. With the exception of reasonably good numbers of American Goldfinch (326) and Evening Grosbeaks (44), no other finches were found.

The overall data for the Petroglyph count is as follows: Ruffed Grouse 6, Wild Turkey 43,  Bald Eagle 5, Cooper’s Hawk 1, Red-tailed Hawk 1, Rough-legged Hawk 1, Rock Pigeon 34, Mourning Dove 5, Downy Woodpecker 23, Hairy Woodpecker 25, Pileated Woodpecker 4, Northern Shrike 1, Blue Jay 74, American Crow 10, Common Raven 65, Black-capped Chickadee 676, Red-breasted Nuthatch 32, White-breasted Nuthatch 92, Brown Creeper 24, Golden-crowned Kinglet 4, American Robin 11, European Starling 45, Bohemian Waxwing 318, American Tree Sparrow 22, Dark-eyed Junco 19,  Snow Bunting 26,  American Goldfinch 326, and Evening Grosbeak 44.  A Gray Jay was also seen during the count period but not on the day of the count.

Ruffed Grouse – Parry Sound – via Rob Moos

Kids Count

In order to help young people develop an interest in birding, the third annual Junior Christmas Bird Count (CBC 4Kids) also took place on the same day as the Peterborough count. Organized by Lara Griffin, the Peterborough Field Naturalist Juniors scoured the grounds and nearby trails of the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre on Pioneer Road. The birds they found were added to the Peterborough count data. The junior event incorporates many of the same features as the adult version. However, it is far less rigorous and designed more like a game.

Great Backyard Bird Count

If you are interested in contributing to Citizen Science and maybe introducing your children or grandchildren to birding, consider taking part in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). This year, it is taking place February 17-20. The GBBC engages bird watchers of all levels of expertise to create a real-time snapshot of the whereabouts and relative abundance of birds in mid-winter. Anyone can participate. Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world! Go to gbbc.birdcount.org for details.

 

 

Dec 262016
 

I just noticed an American Robin in my backyard! That is pretty strange. Also, yesterday, on a walk we saw what a friend identified as a Barred Owl. And also some couple apparently captured a Common Loon that was struggling with the ice on a nearby lake and released it on the river in Lakefield, where it is still is. That may have been a juvenile that wasn’t strong enough to leave. Strange times!

Mary-Anne Johnston, Lakefield

NOTE: I had six robins eating buckthorn berries in my yard in Peterborough this morning. I also watched a chickadee going in and out of a bald-faced hornet nest in a tree top. I imagine the chickadee was feeding on the dead wasp larvae/pupae in the nest. DM

Bald-faced Hornet nest  Edmison Dr. - Ian MacDougall

Bald-faced Hornet nest Edmison Dr. – Ian MacDougall

 

Common Loon - Lakefield - Dec. 19, 2016 - Sue Paradisis

Common Loon – Lakefield – Dec. 19, 2016 – Sue Paradisis

Barrred Owl - Alex McLeod

Barrred Owl – Alex McLeod

Winter robin (Liane Edwards)

Winter robin (Liane Edwards)

Dec 162016
 

The Northern Flicker was back on December 6 trying to find space in the crab-apple tree with the 2 dozen American Robins that were there. On December 5, the Cooper’s Hawk returned, flushing out a dozen Mourning Doves from the spruce.  Early Monday morning I was entertained by a young squirrel that I guess was experiencing a decent amount of snow for the first time. I watched it come down the truck of a tree, jump into the snow and instantly jump back up on to the trunk of the tree. It jumped into the snow and back on the tree repeatedly and was also running around the tree and pouncing on the snow. It was acting just like a puppy or kitten. Very amusing!

Sue Paradisis, Tudor Crescent

Northern Flicker and American Robin -Sue-Paradisis

Northern Flicker and American Robin -Sue Paradisis

Cooper's Hawk on bird it had captured (Karl Egressy)

Cooper’s Hawk on bird it had captured (Karl Egressy)

Dec 092016
 

On December 8, I observed a flock of approximately 100 Bohemian Waxwings feeding on berries in a tree at the corner of Ravenwood Drive and Parkhill Road. Along the Trans-Canada Trail near Lily Lake (between Jackson’s Park and Ackison Road) I also had approximately 50 American Robins.

King Baker

Bohemian Waxwing  - Cow Island - Jan. 24, 2015 - via Sylvia Cashmore

Bohemian Waxwing – Cow Island – Jan. 24, 2015 – via Sylvia Cashmore

Bohemian Waxwing (Karl Egressy)

Bohemian Waxwing (Karl Egressy)

American Robin in mountain-ash March 2014 - Jeff Keller

American Robin in mountain-ash March 2014 – Jeff Keller

 

Jan 022016
 

This morning was very busy in my yard with my regular leucistic robin, 3 blue jays, a pair of cardinals, doves, chickadees, a white breasted nuthatch and goldfinches all feeding at the same time. I thought all of them had left when the Cooper’s hawk flew into the top of the ash tree at the back of my yard. It sat there for quite some time before I noticed the female cardinal was still in the crab apple tree. She was very aware that the hawk was there and stayed perfectly still in spite of the squirrels going into the tree to feed just a couple of feet away from her. This went on for over 1/2 an hour with neither bird  moving. I kept hoping the pigeons would arrive so she might get away. Finally I intervened. I know the hawk needs to eat but not the only cardinal that comes to my yard! I went out and walked out to the back and took a picture of the hawk before it flew off. Seconds later the cardinal was gone in a flash.

Cooper's Hawk on bird it had captured (Karl Egressy)

Cooper’s Hawk on prey  (Karl Egressy)

The leucistic robin (showing patches of white due to abnormal pigmentation) I mentioned has been here for months. It spends most of the day in the shelter of the big spruce beside the crab apple tree. Every so often it comes out of the spruce, eats a few crab apples or comes to the deck for water and then goes back into the spruce. Two days ago, a flock of at least 8 robins flew into the crab apple and started to feed. The leucistic bird came out and vigorously defended its food source. Within minutes the other robins left and it went back to the spruce. Shortly after the Cooper’s hawk came by and chased off 4 pigeons.

I also have a squirrel with a white tail end and a leucistic mourning dove with a white tail.

Sue Paradisis, Tudor Crescent, Peterborough

Leucistic American Robin (Alan Dextrase - April 12, 2013)

Leucistic American Robin (Alan Dextrase – April 12, 2013)