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
– 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

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
– 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
– 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
– 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

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.”