Category Archives: birding

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 ››

Trumpeter Swans at LaSalle Park

by Sandy Gillians -
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 ››

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 ››

Great Egrets

By Don Scallen Great egrets evoke notions of southern swamps - of alligators, bald cypress trees and Spanish moss. And yet, they are now common inhabitants of Ontario wetlands. At this time of year, post- nesting egrets are assembling at foraging sites, prior to their southward migration. Sandy Gillians and I counted about 50 egrets along the Beaver River near Kimberly recently. Other late summer roosts include Luther Marsh and Cootes Paradise. Great egrets are a balm to disillusioned naturalists all too … Continue Reading ››

Real Estate Bird Boom

HNPNC members took the final meeting of the 2013-2014 season outdoors on Tuesday evening (June 10th) with a walk through Scotsdale Farm. While we were there we checked several of the nest boxes that we installed on May 19th. To our delight we found that 50% of the nest boxes were occupied even though we put them up a bit late for the nesting season. Most of the occupants were Tree Swallows but one box appeared to have been claimed first … Continue Reading ››

HNPNC installs bird boxes at Scotsdale Farm

Left to right: Jeff Cassidy, Emily Dobson, Bill McIlveen, Ramona Dobson, Ian Jarvie, Fiona Reid, Sandy Gillians, Kim Dobson.
Several members of the Halton/North Peel Naturalist Club met this morning to install bird boxes around the hay meadows and old fields of Scotsdale Farm in Halton Hills.  The fields are home to Eastern Bluebirds, several species of swallows, and threatened grassland birds such as Bobolink and Eastern … Continue Reading ››

The Adaptation and Decline of Chimney Swifts

by Emily Dobson
The chimney swift is a pretty remarkable species of bird when you consider its rapid adaptation over the last century. Historically, these birds inhabited old growth forests, using cavity trees or snags (standing dead trees) with large hollows for roosting and nesting. However, the European settlement and logging practises occurring into the 1900s saw the destruction of forests across North America, and with it, the loss of vital habitat for many animals including chimney swifts. Continue Reading ››

Citizen scientists needed for Halton SwiftWatch Program

Chimney swifts are beginning to arrive in Ontario for the breeding season after a long journey back from the Amazon basin. These iconic birds have declined by an alarming 30% in the past 14 years, and the Halton/North Peel Naturalist Club is seeking dedicated volunteers to join us in the Bird Studies Canada SwiftWatch Program. Our goals for the 2014 season are to continue monitoring known roosts, to find new roosts, and to raise awareness about … Continue Reading ››