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Autumn tour! Let’s go and see the birds together

By HaiYing Liu,
Epoch Times,
September 21 2017

Ruby Throated Hummingbird (Credit: Noah Cole, courtesy of Ontario Nature)

People are aware that spring is the season to see the birds , not knowing that the fall, when the birds migrate, is also a good season to see the birds, especially in Toronto and the surrounding rivers and lakes, a (mustering) gathering area for the birds. The Great Epoch asked Ontario Nature’s Dr. Bell (Anne Bell, Director of Conservation and Education) to advise the reader about where to see the birds.

Birds fly south, and for birds flying over the Great Lakes, areas near the shorelines become important stopover sites. “Flying over Lake Ontario can be dangerous, the birds may be very tired and may need a place to rest.” Dr.Bell said that the birds rest and accumulate enough energy to continue to migrate, and when flying over the lake may also choose islands and quiet areas to rest in. “Very many beautiful birds pass through here, we are very lucky.”

Dr. Bell said that many of the birds in Ontario are concentrated along the Great Lakes region, mostly in natural areas. The more famous places in the Toronto area are High Park, the Toronto Islands and Tommy Thompson Park.

Tommy Thompson Park
At Tommy Thompson Park, identified as an important place for the world’s birds, you will see a large number of waterfowl and shorebirds during the migration. The park records 316 species of birds, including eagles and other large birds of prey. There are also more than 50 kinds of birds breeding in this park, including mute swans, night-herons, beautiful big egrets (settled in recent years), beautiful ring-billed gulls, and more than 10,000 pairs of double-crested cormorants.

High Park
Every year thousands of birds of prey, migrating through Toronto as they head south, pass over High Park.
Here one can see the blue heron, night-herons and huge egrets. In recent years, red-tailed hawks have become High Park residents in trees in the lush area of the park, because the park has a large number of squirrels and chipmunks to provide them with enough food.During the fall migration,you will see the red-tailed hawks fly over High Park.

High Park has a special hawk watch (High Park Hawk Watch), to count the number of birds, and bird lovers provide bird information. In the center of the park, there is a place called Hawk Hill. At an elevation of 35 metres above Lake Ontario, surrounded by green surroundings, it is one of the great places to watch the birds of prey.

Toronto’s Center Island
Toronto is a vast expanse of a beautiful environment, at this island you can find more than 200 kinds of birds. Birds breeding on the island include up to 60 species. The best areas are Hanlan’s Point, Snake Island, Gibraltar Point and Ward’s Island. You can expect to find colorful, singing voices of warblers, wrens, and other songbirds and well as swallows and shorebirds.

Rouge Park
Near the Toronto Zoo, there is one of the largest wetlands of the GTA. We can see kingfisher, goldfinches,herons, cardinals and many waterfowl that like wetlands.

Humber Arboretum
Located on the Humber College North Campus in Highway 27, the 101-hectare park has 1700 different flora and fauna and has a 6 km walk.

A little secret to help find hawks is to wait for the northwest wind. Dr. Bell said the best time to see the hawks flying over High Park is when there is a northwest wind. The wind will bring more hawks above High Park towards the lake. , “at the right time, with the right wind, you will see thousands of hawks flying through the sky, very spectacular.”

High Park has a volunteer hawk observation program, and can help predict the occurrences of the hawks in advance.

Regarding recordings of bird sounds to help Dr. Bell said that many birds are quite curious to hear similar bird recordings that will attract birds to come near, and once she played an owl recording and from three different directions, three owls responded, “quite interesting” she said.

Can those who want to see a variety of birds frequently play bird songs? No, Dr. Bell said that recordings should not be used frequently, especially when birds migrate, because birds already flying are very tired, and hearing the same kind of birds, then moving to see, makes them even more tired and vulnerable. In Spring listen to the birds, in fall watch carefully

Dr. Bell said that in the spring, when the birds are singing frequently, you can find them more easily, and in autumn, most of the time they do not call, so you need to carefully observe.

Blackburnian warbler. (Credit: Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren CC_BY 2.0 Provided by Ontario Nature)
Many forest birds, have bright colors, but also change the color with the seasons. In spring and autumn along almost all the lakes and forests you can see them. In the spring, they call loud and clear, in the autumn they rarely are sounding, so you need to carefully observe.

Eastern Bluebird (Credit: Frank Mathers, Provided by Ontario Nature)
These can be seen in High Park, and also are Rouge Park regulars. In the fall they fly over the Great Lakes to the south.

Bald Eagle (Credit: Missy Mandel, Provided by Ontario Nature)
Bald Eagles are one of North America’s unique large birds of prey, but also the United States’ national bird. The feathers are dark brown; at 4 to 6 years old, the head of the bald eagle, and neck and tail feathers gradually become white. Body length 71-96 cm, wingspan 168-244 cm, weight 3-6.3 kg.

One of the best places to watch is High Park, the best when the wind blows in a northwest direction, then bald eagles may fly overhead and can be seen. Some eagles begin flying in September, some wait until the end of October.

Great Blue Heron. (Credit: Matthew Paulson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Provided by Ontario Nature)
Great blue heron length 76-100cm, wingspan 150cm. Most of the body feathers are gray blue feathers, chest and back with filamentous feathers. Dr. Bell said that Toronto has many places where you can see them, “almost everywhere,” They can be seen at Tommy Thompson Park.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird. (Credit: Noah Cole, Provided by Ontario Nature)
Ruby-throated hummingbirds usually have a length of 7 to 9 cm (2.8 to 3.5 inches) and a weight range of 2 to 6 grams. This beautiful bird can be seen in the backyard where many people put feeders to attract hummingbirds. The hummingbird’s volume is very small, every day they need to to eat more than their own weight of food to have the strength to fly.

Red-tailed Hawk. (Credit: Wesley Aston, Provided by Ontario Nature)
The red-tailed hawk is the most common hawk in North America. Weight 690-2000 grams, body length 45-65 cm, wing width 110-145 cm. Their adaptability to the environment is very strong, as long as there is an open field of view, they can find food, and the red-tailed hawk can survive. During the fall, people will see them flying south over the parks.

Ontario Nature, founded in 1931 is a conservation organization that protects wild species and wild spaces. Dedicated to natural environmental protection and public education, it represents over 150 environmental protection groups in the province and has more than 30,000 members and supporters.