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2014 Halton Hills Christmas Bird Count

by W. D. McIlveen - In contrast to the weather experienced for the 2013 Christmas Bird Count in the aftermath of the ice storm that year, the weather for the 24th annual Christmas Bird Count on December 27, 2014 was quite delightful. Although there was a very brief light shower around noon, the lack of snow made for excellent survey conditions. The temperatures that got to approximately 10C in the afternoon were probably the second highest in the 24 years that … Continue Reading ››

Bird Feeders at Georgetown Hospital

By Don Scallen - I’ve spent a lot of time recently at the Georgetown Hospital, visiting my mother who suffered a broken pelvis on December 1st. Looking out the windows of the various rooms she’s occupied, it occurred to me that a strategically placed bird feeder or two could be a pleasant diversion for bed-bound patients. birdfeeder-donThe hospital management heartily endorsed my proposal to install the feeders. I purchased two feeders along with … Continue Reading ››

Beech trees

By Don Scallen - The smooth gray bark of beech trees evokes elephant skin, making beech strikingly unique among the large trees of the forest. This smooth bark sometimes offers signs of mammals that have passed by: claw marks left by climbing bears, or declarations of love etched by romantic humans. beechbarkBeechnuts nourish wildlife. This bounty, properly referred to as “mast,” once fed legions of passenger pigeons. Where beech trees and black bears … Continue Reading ››

New Year’s Resolutions for Naturalists

By Fiona Reid and Don Scallen -

January Food for Feathered Friends!

  • Consider adding peanuts or suet for extra fat at this time of year
  • A heated bird bath can be very important in midwinter

February Turn down the Heat! Prowl for an Owl!

  • Save money and reduce consumption of non-renewable energy supplies by turning down heat at night or when out
  • Owls nest really early so now is a good time to go out at dusk and listen for them, or imitate them and see if you … Continue Reading ››

Trumpeter Swans at LaSalle Park

by Sandy Gillians -
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Members of the Halton/North Peel Naturalist Club
We had a great turnout for the birding/Trumpeter Swan outing on Saturday November 29th. A total of 14 hardy members and guests of the Halton/North Peel Naturalist Club managed to find each other at LaSalle Park in Burlington in spite of confusion over "which" parking lot we had agreed to meet at. Oops! Fortuitously, the carpoolers noticed a group … Continue Reading ››

Be a Citizen Scientist at Home! Track Winter Birds for Project FeederWatch

If you feed birds in your yard each winter, you can support bird research and conservation. Join Project FeederWatch and share information about which birds visit your feeders between November and April to help scientists at Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology track changes in bird numbers and movements. This year's season runs from Saturday, November 8, 2014 to Friday, April 3, 2015. Participating is easy. Just count the numbers and kinds … Continue Reading ››

(PAST) PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Dear Members new and old (or not so old!), I’m not sure I am still qualified to write this letter as I am now officially Past President. We are very happy to welcome newly elected secretary Emily Dobson to our board and thrilled to have had interest from new members in joining our executive (see below)! Many thanks to Anne Fraser for her work as past Secretary, and to Jeff Normandeau for his past work on the newsletter. Executive 2014/15 President: Vacant Past President: … Continue Reading ››

Going Viral – The Real Way

by W.D. McIlveen - All readers must surely have heard of the ongoing outbreak of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever that is occurring in several countries in West Africa. The disease is indeed a nasty one that starts with a fever, muscle pain, and headache followed by vomiting, diarrhea, and impaired kidney and liver function. Internal and external bleeding may also occur. The mortality rate of the current outbreak stands at about 70%. As of 14 October 2014, 9,216 suspected cases and … Continue Reading ››

Of Birds, Cats and the Urban Landscape

by Don Scallen - There are ten species of birds that commonly nest in suburban Georgetown: Mourning Dove, Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, Chipping Sparrow, Common Grackle and Brown-headed Cowbird - a nest parasite. One other, less common nesting species is the Chimney Swift, relying on the specialized nesting habitat of uncapped chimneys. I have observed another three species nesting one time in suburban Georgetown: American Crow, Tree Swallow and Baltimore Oriole. Blue Jays and … Continue Reading ››