Birding & Birdwatching
IN THE REGION
The Festival of Birds at Point Pelee
May 1 to 22, 2017
Each May, the Friends of Point Pelee and Point Pelee National Park host the Festival of Birds, with bird hikes, guest speakers, presentations and workshops. Learn the finer points of bird identification, check out the local flora, discover local hotspots and learn about efforts to restore habitat for birds in Essex County. If you are new to birding, start with Birding 101, where you will find out the basics of bird identification, key tools and secrets to successful birding at Point Pelee. Other programs include Warbler ID, Birdsong Basics, Hawk ID and a Wildflower Walk. Many of these popular programs are free and require no advance registration.
Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island
The 2016 Festival of Birds Regional Discovery Guide is a must-have as you explore our region, covering must-see, must-do activities and special offers from a variety of local businesses. Of course, we’ve tonnes of birds to see after the festival too, so a great resource year-round.
Copies are available at the Point Pelee Visitor Centre, Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island’s Main Office, or view the 2017 Festival of Birds Regional Discovery Guide online.
Parks Canada: Point Pelee National Park Self-guided Trails
Explore the park trails and find rarities and mysteries as well as what Point Pelee is known for: a migration mecca! Offering eight different trails to satisfy all ages and abilities, ranging from 15 minutes to two hours.
Canadian Geographic’s National Bird Project
The goal is to help designate an official bird for Canada by 2017, the country’s sesquicentennial. And we want your help finding a species that can represent this nation of forest, prairie grassland, Arctic and sub-Arctic, maritime and wetland, agricultural and urban and many other habitats, so vote for your favourite species or contribute your own short essay today!
A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.
Explore Pelee and its local tour guides will show you all the secret magical spots of the island and give historical accounts of life in Canada’s most southern community. Options include Birding Tours, Bike Tours and Heritage Tours for groups and individuals.
Holiday Beach Migration Observatory
The Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (HBMO) is a volunteer, non-profit membership organization formed in 1986 to promote the study and protection of migrating birds. The primary activity of HBMO is the scientific study of fall raptor migrations through counting and banding of hawks at Holiday Beach Conservation Area (HBCA) in Essex County of Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Holiday Beach is located on the north shore of Lake Erie, near the Detroit River. Observers attempt to record exact numbers of all migrant bird species that fly over the site during daylight hours from late August to early December. The information collected by these volunteer observers is analyzed locally and in cooperation with the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA). Additional activities include education programs, workshops, and the counting of fall migrant non-raptors and banding of passerines.
Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary
The Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary offers adults and children alike a truly memorable experience to connect with nature. You will be able to get up close and personal to hand feed geese and ducks with the supplied free barley. Spend the afternoon exploring and learning about the local wildlife and natural habitats on over 400 acres of natural landscape and see peacocks, exotic pheasants, wild turkeys and tundra swans. Includes the Jack Miner Museum, where admission is also free. Jack Miner became the founder of the migratory waterfowl refuge system by creating his Sanctuary in 1904. Five years later he pioneered the tagging of migrating waterfowl. The recovery data was instrumental in the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1916 between the U.S. & Canada as there were no government banding programs at this time.
Ojibway Nature Centre: Birding Guide to Point Pelee, Windsor and Essex County
Located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Ojibway Prairie Complex is a collection of five closely situated natural areas within a 10 minute drive from downtown. The Department of Parks & Recreation’s Ojibway Nature Centre administers three of these areas. Ojibway Park, Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park and Black Oak Heritage Park, for a total of approximately 127 hectares (315 acres). The Ojibway Nature Centre offers informative and interesting displays on the ecology of the Ojibway Prairie Complex. A live exhibit area with Eastern Foxsnake and Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is always a crowd favourite. A wall of windows provides a breathtaking view of the forest and the natural fireplace makes for a warm, cozy atmosphere. Brochures on the birds, mammals, herps, butterflies, trees and wildflowers of Ojibway as well as trail guides, maps and other informative handouts are available. Sale items include a wide selection of wild bird seed, feeders, field guides, posters, wildflower seed and children’s items. The centre also offers Day Camps for children, birding tours and seasonal festivals. It is open 10 a.m to 5 p.m. daily, and admission is free.
Ontario Field Ornithologists
Formed in 1982, Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO) is dedicated to the study of bird life in Ontario. ONTBIRDS is OFO’s electronic mailing listserv that notifies birders of interesting Ontario bird sightings (there are currently about 2,000 subscribers). OFO also publishes Ontario Birds and OFO News three times a year, organizes field trips to some of the best birding spots in Ontario, and maintains and publishes the official Ontario Bird Checklist and Review List of species. Each fall, OFO holds an Annual Convention: activities include guest speakers, field trips, birding displays and a social gathering.
An extensive site of birding links and useful information, including checklists, organizations, groups, and sites, as well as The Virtual Birder Michigan Rare Bird Alerts for both the Detroit RBA (southeast Michigan and southwest Ontario including Point Pelee) and the Michigan Statewide, and events such as the Michigan Christmas Bird Count and North American Migration Count.
The Biggest Week In American Birding (Ohio)
A weeklong annual festival held each May in Ohio. Activities include Guided Bird Walks & Bus Tours, Guided Lake Erie Islands Trips, Bird Identification Workshops, Songbird Banding Demonstrations, American Woodcock Walks, Digiscoping Workshops and Birding by Ear Workshops.
INTERNATIONAL & OTHER BIRDING SITES
American Birding Association
The ABA is a nonprofit organization that provides leadership to birders by increasing their knowledge, skills, and enjoyment of birding. They are the only organization in North America that specifically caters to recreational birders. They also contribute to bird and bird habitat conservation through their varied programs. They also encourage young birders through scholarships and awards such as Young Birder of the Year, and publish Birding magazine. See also their Code of Ethics for birders.
American Ornithologists’ Union
Founded in 1883, the American Ornithologists’ Union is one of the oldest organizations in the world devoted to the scientific study of birds. Over its history, AOU and its members have created the scientific foundation for ornithology and bird conservation that we enjoy today. The AOU is the largest and most diverse ornithological society in the New World, with over 3000 members. The site includes checklists such as The Check-list of North American Birds, plus news, publications and more.
Birdwatching for beginners: don’t forget the binoculars, by Tom Cox, The Guardian, June 25, 2013
We did manage to follow a spotted woodpecker for a while, although, being a novice in these matters, I’m not really sure what you do once you have followed a spotted woodpecker. Cuddle it? Try to persuade it to come and live on your bookcase? A friend of my girlfriend recently rescued two magpies from a cat in his local park, who now live with him, periodically sit on his shoulder, and even use their own litter tray, but I sense this is not the norm and our relationships with wild birds are necessarily distant.
Fatbirder’s Top 1,000 Birding Websites
Fat Birder’s Top 1,000 Birding Website is what its name indicates, offering an extensive list of 1,000 birding websites. Here you will find birding and bird watching websites from all over the world, ranked by most popular.
Huron Fringe Birding Festival (Port Elgin, Bruce Peninsula)
The festival takes its name from the migration corridor along the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. This “Huron Fringe” along the Lake Huron coastline offers birders, naturalists and photographers unique opportunities to discover nature in the early spring. At the end of the migration period, birds are on nest, migrants are everywhere, insects abound and wildflowers are beginning to bloom. From the base at MacGregor Point Provincial Park visitors are uniquely placed to explore Lake Huron’s shoreline and the Bruce Peninsula to discover all that spring has to offer. Activities include guided hikes in and outside the park, workshops on bird identification and nature photography, and a banquet. Held annually on the first two weekends after the May 24 long weekend.
National Audubon Society
For more than a century, the mission of the U.S.-based National Audubon Society has been to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. The society combines science, education and policy expertise, with more than 500 local Chapters in the U.S., more than 2,500 Audubon-designated Important Bird Areas that identify, prioritize and protect vital bird habitat from coast to coast—in partnership with BirdLife International, their IBA conservation efforts support species and their habitats across the Western Hemisphere—and Audobon Centers and sanctuaries.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
The U.K.-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is Europe’s largest wildlife conservation charity—with more than a million members and nearly 20,000 volunteers. Alongside over 200 nature reserves in the U.K. (home to 80% of the U.K.’s rarest or most threatened bird species), they’re restoring rainforests in Africa and Asia, saving albatrosses in the southern oceans and planning to restore vast swathes of the U.K.’s countryside to its former glory. Their work is driven by a passionate belief that we all have a responsibility to protect birds and the environment. Bird populations reflect the health of the planet on which our future depends. The need for an effective bird conservation organization has never been greater. Climate change, agricultural intensification, expansion of urban areas and transport infrastructure, and over-exploitation of our seas all pose major threats to birds. The society’s extensive website includes a valuable Advice section that provides information on helping and attracting birds, designing wildlife-friendly gardens and farms, birdhouse maintenance and more.
Wikipedia: Birdwatching or Birding
Want to know the difference between birding, bird watching and twitching? Or learn that the term birdwatching was first used in 1901? Wikipedia’s members have compiled a great page that outlines the history of birdwatching, code of conduct, the economics of birdwatching, famous birdwatchers, as well as lists of related books and links.