Jun 202018
 

Purple Finches (since early May)

This year, for the first time, we have Purple Finches coming to our feeder. They arrived in early May. I first noted a male, who showed a cinnamon, chestnut-reddish coloured head and body which morphed into a rose/raspberry by the end of May. The females gradually turned from sparrow-like to a very light rose. I think that there are two males and maybe four in total usually show in pairs or singles. One pair comes from the rail-trail behind 500 McDonnel St. Actually, the whole of the rail trail between Park and Bonnacord is interesting with Black Locust trees, a fairly large isolated wooded creek side area and a large communal garden site.  Art Harron, McDonnel Street

Note: Purple Finches are quite rare in Peterborough in the summer. D.M.

male Purple Finch – Wikimedia

House Finch (for comparison) – Karl Egressy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Predation of robin nest (June 15)

We live on Firwood in Peterborough and had an American Robin nest in a low evergreen in front of our living room window. We were watching as the eggs were laid, hatched and the babies were fed. We watched with pride and pleasure as the parents fed their chicks and feathers had developed, and from a distance I took photos of the progress of the family. This morning, we were shocked, disappointed and devastated to see the nest empty and one baby (body about 3 inches long – perhaps dropped) on the cement walkway of our neighbour (about 15 feet from the nest). It did not seem to have any bite marks or signs of a cat or other animal attacking it but looked as if the fall had killed it. Would this be another bird stealing it from the nest?? What may have happened to the siblings? What may have happened to the parents? Is there somewhere I can find more information? Audrey Moore

Note: Nests of all kinds can be vulnerable to attacks from predators, such as Blue Jays, American Crows, Common Grackles, and many other species of birds and mammals, including cats. In Peterborough, crows seem to be the number one culprit. I have never had a robin nest on my property that has not been predated. Always sad. D.M. 

American Robin fledglings on nest – Murray Lincoln

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squirrel control (June 11 and 27)

We have a Red Fox that visits our yard, even climbing up onto the deck railing. We have witnessed the fox chasing squirrels all around our deck, over chairs, a table and a bench. The fox has jumped from the ground (approx. 6 feet) to the deck railing. It has often walked off with breakfast in its mouth. We have also seen it chase squirrels along the fence, which is about 8 feet high. I have some of it on video as it chased the squirrel under the deck. All this to the tune of a murder of crows voicing their displeasure – in fact, the fox’s arrival is arrival in our yard is announced by the crows.

Don Finigan, Peterborough

Note: On June 27, Don watched the fox catch a squirrel. Don writes: “I have witnessed 5 pursuits so far, in 2 of these the fox was the winner and took home breakfast. The other 3 involved 2 squirrels and 1 ground squirrel. In these 3, it was a straight race. Speed told the story. The other 2 took place on our deck with 2 levels, 6 planters, 2 tables, 1 bench, 4 chairs, 1 BBQ and 2 interior safety railings. All these obstructions for the squirrels to dodge slowed them down and gave the fox its chance to catch them. So when I come back I don’t want to be a squirrel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strange colour morphs in Gray Squirrels (June)

I thought these pictures of multicolored brown Eastern Gray Squirrels would be of interest to naturalists. They were taken weeks apart. Peter Ouimet, Bianco Crescent, Peterborough

Brown colour morph E. Gray Squirrel – June 2018 – PTBO – Peter Ouimet

A different brown colour morph E. Gray Squirrel – June 2018 – PTBO – Peter Ouimet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cecropia moth emerges and mates! (May 31) 

I thought you’d like to see this beautiful silk moth that emerged this evening, May 29, after months of being cocooned in our purple sand cherry. We watched it as a caterpillar until one day it just simply disappeared! Then, later in August or September we noticed a clump of leaves stuck together and concluded it might be that it had wrapped itself up for the winter. Sure enough! It was moving its very large wings so perhaps it will be gone by morning. Wendy Marrs

Cecropia- Wendy Marrs

Follow-up: My husband woke me the next day (May 30) with “there are twins!” We soon realized that somehow a male had found our female. They stayed attached all day and last evening were both gone without a trace. After a whole fall, winter and spring, we had grown quite attached to our little guest but that just how it goes in nature:)

Mating Cecropia moths – Wendy Marrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note from Tim Dyson: 

“Don’t fret Wendy, assuming your Cecropia story is over. After separation of the male and female moths, the female will very often lay a few to several eggs right on the same shrub or tree that she had dined upon the year before as a larva. Look for evidence of the next generation on your sand cherry in the autumn. You might just find another cocoon or two!”

 

Goldfinches playing in the wind? (May 6)

On Friday evening, at the height of a wind storm, but after the rain had lessened somewhat, about a dozen American Goldfinches, mostly male, converged on our birdfeeder stand and faced into the wind, rather than keep to  shelter.  Then, one by one, they jumped face first into the gale-force west wind, and were swept immediately back to the other end of the yard.  They did this repeatedly, as though it was a game.  I have never seen such strong and noisy wind, but the birds seemed to enjoy the challenge – wind-surfing!  Callie Stacey, Lakefield

White American Robin (April 11)

I live in Campbellford and over the past few weeks I have observed a white robin in my backyard, just north of the Canadian Tire parking lot.  It is white with a couple of grey to black patches or strips on its back, and it has a slight orange on the bottom of its breast.  The eyes are black (not pink).  Otherwise it looks like the white robins shown on the internet.  (Google white robin)  It appears to be a mature robin and has always been seen by me alone.  An exception was last night when it was snowing out and it appeared on the lawn, then a rabbit came out and the two picked and ate together as the snow began to cover the lawn.  By eight o’clock they had both disappeared. I have never seen one before. Paul Smith 

Note: This is clearly a leucistic bird, meaning it is lacking in normal pigmentation. D.M.

Leucistic American Robin – Campbellford – via James Burrett – May 2018

 

Purple

 

 

 

May 212018
 

 

Great Horned Owl:  I took this owlet picture yesterday, May 17, at a nest 1 km west of Springbrook, Ontario. Don Munro

Great Horned Owlet – May 17, 2018 – Springbrook, ON – Don Munro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) (1)
– Reported May 17, 2018 11:45 by Ben Taylor
– Peterborough–Mervin Line, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Small bluish gray bird with white eye ring singing softly in a tree quite near Mervin line. As seen by previously.”

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Karl Egressy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera) (1)
– Reported May 17, 2018 09:39 by Mike V.A. Burrell
– Otonabee Gravel Pit Conservation Area, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Singing normal song, visually confirmed. At the small clearing immediately east of the lower gate.”

Blue-winged Warbler – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sora (Porzana carolina) (3)
– Reported May 13, 2018 08:27 by Matthew Garvin
– Peterborough–Fairbairn Street wetland, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “Responded immediately to So-RAh playback with rattle calls”

Sora (rail) – Wikimeda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leucistic American Robin:  This robin was in the backyard at 71 Pellissier St. S. in Campbellford.
Paul Smith

leucistic American Robin – Campbellford – via James Burrett – May 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Bittern: This bittern was caught on a trail cam video at Gannon’s Narrows Conservation
area May 12, 2018 @ 2:30pm.  Kingsley Hubbs

AMBI – May 12, 2018 – Kingsley Hubbs – Gannons Narrrows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-bellied Woodpecker:  We have had these Red-bellied Woodpeckers coming back to nest for about five years. They are here all through the winter at the feeder. I think that they nest in the maple in front of the house. We are located at 1520 Blezard Line. Nancy Salonius

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Nancy Salonius

 











Orchard Oriole: This Orchard Oriole has been eating oranges at my feeder on Ford 
Crescent in Cavan since May 9.  Ken Rumble

1st summer male Orchard Oriole – May 11, 2018 – Ken Rumble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown Thrasher:  We spotted this Brown Thrasher in our Peterborough yard this lovely May 5 morning. Helen and Larry Keller

Brown Thrasher – Peterborough – May 5, 2018 – Larry Keller


		
Jan 092018
 

N.B. “Home” and “the yard” is between Warsaw and Lakefield.

On December 12th, a Golden-crowned Kinglet flitted about with a few juncos and chickadees in the apple trees in the yard.

Three White-winged Crossbills and a Brown Creeper were the avian highlights in the yard on December 20th.

After having read reports during recent years about Red-bellied Woodpeckers moving into the area, I recalled that the last ones I likely had seen were way back in 1984 at Rondeau PP on Lake Erie. What a gorgeous bird, and I really wanted to see one. On the morning of December 21st, I had just e-mailed Drew Monkman, thanking him for telling me of a few reliable Red-bellied Woodpeckers in the county, and for providing me with contacts, should I decide to follow up on any of them. Being four days before Christmas, however, I mentioned to Drew that perhaps I would wait until after the holidays, not wanting to interrupt anyone’s other plans at this, the most hectic time of year. I suggested to him that “I might just hold off, and see if one comes here to my feeder and pays me a visit instead”.

Well, (I later checked the time of my e-mail), less than an hour later, there was a lovely male Red-bellied Woodpecker enjoying the suet just outside my window! How does it get any better than that? Talk about a dose of old time Christmas magic!! The bird was there for a total of four minutes, and then off he went with a glob of suet in his bill. Of course, I waited, but I never saw him again that day. On the morning of the 24th he returned. Again, he was very brief, and left the yard carrying a pinch of suet and headed off in the same direction he had gone three days before. I had not seen him since… until today (January 8th) while writing up this little report. He came just before 2:30pm, and over a period of about fifteen minutes, went back and forth between the suet and an elm tree a short distance away. Finally, I was able to take some photos of his back! Too bad for the heavy overcast, (but I’ll try not to complain!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also on the 21st of December, a Northern Shrike flew through low between the feeder and the house. Nothing significant really, as I normally enjoy many sightings of the species each year, but I think this was the first I had seen this season. Typically, I notice the first one or two by mid-October.

Same day, at dusk, a large immature Northern Goshawk perched atop one of the many spruces east of the yard. She sat long enough for a few lousy photos to be taken and she then headed north into the Red Pines. A few hours later, one of the property Barred Owls called from the hardwoods. Just single “Boo, boo, boo” calls, for nearly a minute. December 21st 2017… not a bad day of “yard birding” at all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shortly after seeing the Red-bellied Woodpecker on the 24th, we headed into Peterborough just before noon. While waiting for a red light on Charlotte St. at Aylmer, I looked up at the top of the large building on the s-w corner. I began counting all of the antennas on the roof, and noticed one at the east end had a preening adult Peregrine perched on top. We made three left turns so we could come back around and have a look at the back of the bird. I had been in town many times over the past few months, and now, had finally seen Peterborough’s infamous falcon.

On Christmas morning, I watched the feeder from bed. New there that morning was an American Tree Sparrow, (finally), a House Sparrow, (quite a rarity here now), and a leucistic Dark-eyed Junco with uneven whitish areas of feathers on its face, throat, and sides of its head. The sparrows have only returned once or twice, but the junco is here now almost daily.

On December 27th I heard a Lapland Longspur uttering its calls as it flew overhead. I pished at it and it came to land briefly and poke around in the snow near the bases of some dead goldenrod stalks by the cedar rail fence for a very short while.

 

 

 

Period eagle sightings:

– December 13th a 1st winter Bald at about 1:30pm and an adult Bald at 1:55pm flying by over the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– December 16th a 1st winter Bald in flight over the house.

– December 25th (reported by Ed Heuvel over his house n-w of Norwood) one adult Bald Eagle.

– January 6th (after a dry spell of three weeks for me) finally an adult Bald Eagle soared over my house near Warsaw.

N.B. If any birders are out and about in Lakefield, please check the river north of the bridge for a female Barrow’s Goldeneye. I watched a few goldeneye there on January 4th, and one looked suspiciously like a Barrow’s. They were actively feeding, however, and I was getting only two-second looks at best in between dives. Then my ride came and I had to go. I’ve not been back since. It might be worth a search, and I’d love verification as I was not completely sure of what I saw.

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

Mar 162016
 

I’ve had a “white-capped chickadee” visiting my feeders on Langton Street for the last three years.  Its tail and wings are those of a normal chickadee but everything else is pure white.  I was amazed when I first saw this bird, so looked it up on Google and found it’s not all that rare. Interesting though that it’s been coming for 3 years (that I know of).

Ken Guthrie

Note: Leucism refers to abnormal pigmentation.

A leucistic Black-capped Chickadee in Bridgenorth - Jeff Keller

A leucistic Black-capped Chickadee in Bridgenorth – 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)

Dec 022015
 

On November 21, 2015, at 7:15 am at 11 Bank Street South in Millbrook, an all-white woodpecker was enjoying the hanging peanuts. The bird was totally grey/white and NOT albino as had black eyes. It was the same size as a Hairy Woodpecker and its flight was swooping like a woodpecker. The bird is still coming daily to the feeder. I am attaching a couple of very poor pictures .. taken through my screen on a my cell phone.

Jill Stocker

Note from DM: I’m quite sure that this is a leucistic Hairy Woodpecker, which means “there is a partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the feathers  but not the eyes. Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin.” – Wikipedia 

leucistic HAWO - Jill Stocker - Nov. 2015 - Millbrook

leucistic HAWO – Jill Stocker – Nov. 2015 – Millbrook

leucistic HAWO 2 - Jill Stocker - Nov. 2015 - Millbrook

leucistic HAWO 2 – Jill Stocker – Nov. 2015 – Millbrook

Oct 282015
 

I photographed this spectacular American Robin on October 3rd. It has been gracing our yard since last spring. It built a nest on the downspout of our garage, and there were three, possibly four babies in the nest. Earlier in the summer, the robin still displayed some darker feathers. As you can see, however, it is now almost completely white.

Judy Perron, Nassau Road, Douro-Dummer Township

(Note: This bird is leucistic, which means it is lacking the colour pigment known as melanin. Some melanin is present, however, in the eye and wing feathers. Albino birds, on the other hand, show no colour at all – not even in the eye – hence the red appearance from the blood vessels. D.M.)

leucistic American Robin - Judy Perron Oct. 2015

leucistic American Robin – Judy Perron Oct. 2015

May 052015
 

I was  the Peterborough Crown Game Preserve the other day and my friend took these images of this doe.  Can it be a partly albino or is there another explanation?

Terry Carpenter

Note: I believe that the doe is leucistic, which means that it is lacking normal skin pigmentation. “Leucism is a general term for the phenotype resulting from defects in pigment cell differentiation and/or migration from the neural crest to skin, hair, or feathers during development. This results in either the entire surface (if all pigment cells fail to develop) or patches of body surface (if only a subset are defective) having a lack of cells capable of making pigment.” from Wikipedia – D.M.

Leucistic White-tailed Deer - Peterborough Crown Game Preserve - May 2015 via Terry Carpenter

Leucistic White-tailed Deer – Peterborough Crown Game Preserve – May 2015 via Terry Carpenter

Oct 182014
 

This unusual American Goldfinch with white in the tail feathers turned up in our yard this past weekend.

Leisa Baker, Peterborough

Note: This is a leucistic bird, meaning that it is lacking pigment in the tail feathers. Leucism seems to turn up quite regularly in goldfinches. This condition is caused by a genetic mutation that prevents pigments such as melanin  from being present on a bird’s feathers.  Leucism can include scattered white patches (where there shouldn’t be any), a paler overall plumage or even a totally white plumage with almost no colour visible. D.M.

Leucistic AMGO - Oct. 2014 - Leisa Baker

Leucistic AMGO – Oct. 2014 – Leisa Baker

Jul 102014
 
This bird is coming to our window feeder with the other finches, but his wings are white. I can’t find a goldfinch with white wings in any of my books. Any idea what it is?  We are on Redmond Rd., which is just past Assumption, off Keene Road.
Tracey Murfin.

This is a leucistic (lacking in normal feather pigmentation) American Goldfinch. It is very similar to a bird that was coming to a feeder in Cavan in December 2012 – possibly even the same bird. Leucism turns up in a lot of species, including robins, grackles, chickadees and hawks. D.M.

Leucistic American Goldfinch - Tracey Murfin - Assumption - July 2014

Leucistic American Goldfinch – Tracey Murfin – Assumption – July 2014

Leucistic AMGO by Dave Stabler - Cavan - Dec. 2012

Leucistic AMGO by Dave Stabler – Cavan – Dec. 2012

Apr 242014
 
Leucistic Northern Cardinal - Murray Palmer

Leucistic Northern Cardinal – Murray Palmer

Though this gorgeous lady has been coming to my feeder for a year or more, she`s very shy and apparently, like some females, doesn`t like to have her picture taken! Her mate may sit and eat, but usually she`s in and out like a flash. 

Murray Palmer, Wildlark Crescent, Peterborough

 

Dec 162013
 
leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 1 (Paul Costello)

leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 1 (Paul Costello)

These are pictures of an animal that got caught in a mousetrap that I had set in our porch.  I have seen many mole-like animals, but never before one with this colouring.  Is it an anomaly or a different species or subspecies?

Paul J. Costello, County Rd. 4, Douro-Dummer

leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 2 (Paul Costello)

leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 2 (Paul Costello)

NOTE from Drew Monkman: I forwarded these pictures to Don Sutherland, a zoologist at the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Here is his response. “This is a Short-tailed Shrew, Blarina brevicauda (though interestingly, the local subspecies is talpoides, meaning ‘mole-like’ [viz. Talpidae, the mole family]). As for the white, the animal is partially leucistic. This form of leucism is referred to as patterned leucism or piebald. It’s not common; I’ve never seen anything like it in Short-tailed Shrew or any other small mammal, come to think of it, though I’ve seen it in Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds and American Crows.”