At our cottage on Crowe Lake, we’ve been watching our annual convention of Trumpeter Swans. After I took this video there was quite the flurry of activity. We are so fortunate to be able to enjoy this part of nature. Maxine Prentice, Peterborough

Update from Maxine: The swans return each winter and stay as long as there is open water, of course. We were at the lake a week ago (early February), after a very cold spell, and there were none around that we could see. The area in front of our cottage was frozen over. There was a considerable number down the river….up to 68!

On January 3, there were three Trumpeter Swans on the Otonabee River near the Silver Bean Cafe. One is numbered 99X. Ken Brown

Trumpeter Swans – Ken Brown

On January 7, we had a Cooper’s Hawk show up in our backyard. Mike and Sonja Barker, Algonquin Blvd

Adult Cooper’s Hawk (Mike Barker)

Bbbuuurrr….. while enjoying the heat from the roaring wood stove this morning (January 11), we were graced with a visit to our feeder by a Northern Shrike . It’s a first for our lot list and I guess that this extreme temperature drove it to seek a junco or tree sparrow for breakfast. On January 31, a shrike visited our feeder for the 4th time this winter. This time he was successful in his hunting. After hearing a mild thump against the window , l looked out and watched the shrike peck at and eventually carry away a junco that he’d driven into the window. So instead of having exotic birds come to the feeder, we have interesting glimpses of nature in the raw! Michael Gillespie, Keene

Northern Shrike at feeder (Susan Sayer)

On January 3, I saw three Trumpeter Swans on the Otonabee River upstream of the train footbridge by the Silver Bean Cafe. Hilary Dickson

Trumpeter swans on the Otonabee River in Peterborough (Ken Brown)

On January 1, I was very excited to see my first wild Snowy Owl(s) at Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto. Lighting was poor but the action was remarkable. Andrew Laing, Toronto

On January 1, we found two Barred Owls on Technology Drive in south-east Peterborough. Mike and Sonja Barker, Algonquin Blvd

On January 1, I saw two Snowy Owls in town at about 11:00 am. The first was on a lamp at Chemong & Broadway in the north end and the second was in the Highland Park Cemetery off of Bensfort Road. Carl Welbourn

Here is a summary of Common Loon observations recorded during 2021 on Jack Lake, Havelock-Belmont-Methuen Township, Ontario.  This represents a contribution to the Canada Lakes Loon Survey coordinated by Bird Studies Canada. We hope to participate in this volunteer program again in 2022. Steve Kerr

The light was pretty bad but here are some Eastern Bluebird shots from Byer’s Rd east of Hwy 28 on January 12. Two pairs were spotted. Carl Welbourn

Here are couple of Snowy Owl photos taken in Highland Park Cemetery on the morning of January 4. Carl Welbourn

We have been seeing a few Northern Shrikes lately. Here’s one we found on Scriven Road. Not a great pic, but we were excited to see it! Trudy Gibson

Since the Christmas Bird Count, I’ve had a few extra species visit my backyard feeder.

Jan 17, 2022: 1 Common Redpoll

Jan 18, 2022: 4 male + 4 female Purple Finches. The same day my neighbour down the road captured video of a male Red-bellied Woodpecker at her feeder.

Jan 19, 2022 1 male White-throated Sparrow

Lucy Brown, 5th Line of Selwyn

Update: As of mid-February, the number of Purple Finches has doubled to 14. The Red-bellied Woodpecker showed up twice at the peanut feeder. No more redpolls, however.

White-throated Sparrow (Drew Monkman

Today, January 28, I nearly drove the Chev into our garbage shed. Why? There were three pairs of overwintering American Robins in the lilac bush beside the shed, and two pairs of European Starlings! Thats something I was not expecting on such a brutally cold but sunny day. Gord Young, Peterborough

Note: There are very high numbers of robins overwintering in the Kawarthas this year, mostly because of the abundance of a favourite winter food – Wild Grape. DM

American Robins feeding on Wild Grape – Helen Keller

On January 29, I was about three feet away from this napping Eastern Screech-owl. It was snuggled up in an old barn near Keene. The bird seed was put there by the farmer who is not a birder. Michael Gillespie, Keene

Comments from owl expert, Tim Dyson:

Screech-owls often wind up in buildings in winter. Quite often, it happens during times of serious cold and with plenty of snow cover on the landscape. I would guess also that these owls are spending lots of time (winter especially) hunting inside barns, abandoned houses with missing windows, and other buildings where people are absent or nearly so, after night falls. And so, if you are a little owl finding lots of
food in such places, and the winter weather is inhospitable at certain times, then why wouldn’t you roost in such places during the day, too?

I guess the bird seed won’t harm the owl, because hungry or not, it won’t eat the seeds. But what could work
to the owl’s advantage, is if it perches a short distance away, and mice come for the seeds.

Eastern Screech-owl in barn near Keene (Michael Gillespie)

We’ve had a Beaver storing Red-osier Dogwood branches under our old dock as it wasn’t frozen there. It isn’t taking thick lengths so it must be a young one, but it’s a good size. It stayed for about for a week, clearing the dogwood around the dock and chewing branches at the back of our leaf mould. It seems to have gone now but it’s probably still around up or down river. However, there was a bonus. We have several good photos from the trail camera when it came up onto the dock. I’ve attached a favourite from January 16.

Beaver on the Indian River (Stephenie Armstrong)

My husband Ralph took this picture of a Red-bellied Woodpecker through the kitchen window. We have two of them, along with other woodpeckers, coming to our feeders. Small joys during tough times. Mathilde Colley, 5th Line of Selwyn

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Ralph Colley)

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.