Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from January-March 2002
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 Ray Kiff

 8:40 am monday april 1, 2002

EABB sighting was on Simcoe County Rd #11 (Rugby-Edgar Rd
not#23) Sorry


Eastern Bluebird

 Ray Kiff

 7:20 pm saturday march 30, 2002

      Bob Burton beat us to first sighting,Janet & I thought
this afternoon was the best set of conditions with plus 10
C,warm south day & sunshine.We spotted a male EABB on box 31 at
the corner of Simcoe county rd 23(Rugby-EdgarRd)@ 1450 march
30.So far no postings on the Simcos County Nature Bulletin.


my first bluebird of 2002

 bob burton

 10:32 pm friday march 29, 2002

While checking nestboxes on Roxborough rd.this afternoon I saw a
pair of robins finding earth worms on mr. Shiers lawn.A little
bird far down the hydro wires drew my attention.Time after time
it flew sometimes 30 pick up a morselfrom the hay field.It
was a bluebird surprisingly a female.On my return route to
Bracebridge,in back of the radio tower a female northern harrier
floated skimming the field it's white rump patch showing while
banking.A piliated woodpecker trailed behind it's mate,leaving
one hardwood bush for another.This time I believe spring has


woodcock - GBH

 gerald willmott

 9:48 am friday march 29, 2002

Beaumaris Is, Lake Muskoka.

Fresh dusting of snow made the tracking good, and even bird
tracks were highly visible.  I was able to track and flush my
first woodcock of the year (nearly stepped on him)!  Also 4
Great Blue Herons flew sKeeouWWing overhead.  Redwing black
birds are calling all the time, morning doves are cooing
incessantly and the resident beaver family has build up their
dam, which is a new project in Beaumaris.  Lets hope that they
donít infringe on the local golf course too much.   Ice is still
in, ground snow covered, but the little rivers of water are
flowing to the lake.  It wonít be long now!

Beaumaris is located 10 min west of Bracebridge on highway 118E

Regards, Gerald Willmott


 2 great blue herons

 janice house

 7:00 am friday march 29, 2002

6:50 a.m.good friday flying north over doe lake rd


 Great Gray Owl - Algonquin Park

 Ron Tozer

 4:50 pm monday march 25, 2002

Originally posted on ONTBIRDS Mar. 25:

This message is being posted on behalf of Kevin Clute, who
observed a GREAT GRAY OWL on the Opeongo Road in Algonquin Park
at about 10 a.m. today. Kevin was conducting Gray Jay research
at the time, and when he "pished" to attract a pair of jays, the
Great Gray appeared out of the adjacent black spruce bog area
and flew over him. It landed nearby, and was viewed for several
minutes before moving farther into the spruce woods. It is
probably still in the area.

The owl location is at the top (north) end of the Opeongo Road,
and would require walking about 2 kilometres beyond the locked
gate on that road to access. The owl was in the open spruce bog
area just south of where the Opeongo Road first reaches Sproule
Bay of Lake Opeongo. The Opeongo Road is located at km 46.3 on
Highway 60. (The West Gate of Algonquin Park is at km 0 on
Highway 60.)

A few COMMON REDPOLLS and PINE GROSBEAKS are still being
observed along Highway 60 in Algonquin, but there have been no
recent reports of other winter finch species.

There is still deep snow in the Park, and overnight temperatures
have been unseasonably cold.

Algonquin Provincial Park is located east of Huntsville on
Highway 60. Huntsville can be reached from Toronto by following
Highways 400 and 11 northward, for about three hours. All
facilities in Algonquin Park (gate buildings, campground,
Visitor Centre) are closed during the current civil service
strike. However, Highway 60 is a through highway and is open.

Ron Tozer

This report originated on ONTBIRDS and is provided here courtesy
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Red-bellied WP still in Gravenhurst

 Al Sinclair

 6:06 pm sunday march 24, 2002

The Red-bellied Woodpecker has survived the winter in the north
end of Gravenhurst. Frank LeVay saw it today March 24 at 4:50 pm
in the woodlot opposite # 415 Wellington Street. Wellington St
is 1 block east of Muskoka Beach Rd. north of Jones Rd.


re: Live Eagle WebCam

 Barbara Taylor

 12:14 pm saturday march 30, 2002

They have set up a second eagle cam.  The new website address is:


Live Eagle WebCam

 Barbara Taylor

 9:22 pm thursday march 21, 2002

Best viewed with a highspeed internet connection.  The colour
camera is focused on an eagle nest in Washington State.  It's
still daylight there, so you can take a peek now if you want.  
I've just watched for the past five minutes, and seen an eagle
fly in and feed the one on the nest and also the eagle on the
nest seemed to be adjusting the position of an egg.




 8:56 pm thursday march 21, 2002

Woodcock observed sitting in ditch at side of road at the corner
of Meadow Heights and Moreland Court - 6:00 p.m. March 21.


snow bunting


 10:19 pm wednesday march 20, 2002

We watched a single snow bunting, probably a male, on the flats
on Rocksborough Road this afternoon about 5 p.m.
We don't usually see them this late in the season.


 first bluebird?

 Bob Burton

 10:07 pm wednesday march 20, 2002

In conversation with John Delang on monday Mar.18, he told me of
seeing two bluebirds and two robins from Southwood Drive N.W. of
Kilworthy on Sat. Mar. 16.My first sighting of B.B.s in 2001 in
Muskoka was Mar.26.


spotted bald eagles

 Kevin Kinsman

 7:37 pm wednesday march 20, 2002

Was boating to work this am 7:30 spotted young bald eagles in a
large oak, high up at George road landing. Many geese are along
the river edge, but as the lake is high the weed beds are not
exposed usually this time of year there should be hundreds of



 Brenda Clark

 5:18 pm wednesday march 20, 2002

We were walking after dark last night and heard many killdeers
calling just south of Gravenhurst.


Sparrow Lake Birds

 Bob Bowles

 2:51 pm wednesday march 20, 2002

Birds observed on the bare rocks of Long Island in Sparrow Lake
today, the first day of spring, were 100 Ring-billed Gulls, 20
Herring Gulls and 6 American Crows.  The Ring-billed Gulls were
in full chorus and have returned to our area early this year.  
In fact, I observed this species in Orillia all winter so many
did not even leave the area as they have in other winters.  Long
Island is completely surrounded by ice with no open water
anywhere nearby.  Flocks of Hooded Mergansers on the Severn
River and large flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common
Grackles along the river.  The field where the bluebird boxes
are located east of Sparrow Lake was full of American Robins but
no Eastern Bluebirds were observed.


Red-shouldered Hawk, Robin, Ducks

 Eleanor Kee Wellman

 10:22 am wednesday march 20, 2002

On Tuesday, March 12 Jack Jennings heard his first red-
shouldered hawks over his place on Hwy 118 East of Hwy 169.  He
saw his first robin on March 13 on the boulevard at Hw 118 &
160. This morning at 9:30 am I saw 5 male hooded mergansers and
1 female in the back of Sunset Bay Marsh off Medora Lake Rd.  
Also seen were, 1 pr. wood ducks, 4 black ducks, 1 common
goldeneye, 1 pr. mallards and 2 otters.


Robin singing

 Barbara Taylor

 8:12 am wednesday march 20, 2002

First day of spring and how fitting...saw my first robin of the
season singing from the top of a tall poplar tree along Glendale
Rd., Bracebridge.


Pintail, Black ducks..Beaumont Dr.

 Al Sinclair

 10:12 pm tuesday march 19, 2002

Tuesday March 19 pm, 1 Pintail male was with 5 Blacks and 3
Mallards in a big puddle in a field beside Beaumont Farm Rd just
west of the intersection with Beaumont Dr. near Bracebridge.


re: Broad-winged or Red-shouldered?

 Dan Burton

 8:21 pm sunday march 24, 2002

This might not help, but I saw a very upset Red Shouldered Hawk
leave the Fire College property and head south. It had been around
there earlier in the week, but not calling much.


re: Broad-winged or Red-shouldered?

 Brenda Clark

 5:17 pm wednesday march 20, 2002

I am a cautious birder, and I was reasonably sure the hawk was a
broad-winged, but I would not bet my life on it.  It had nothing
to say.  I judged not only on the tail bands (although I confess
I did not know you needed to count stripes) but its small size.  
We have had the red-shouldered hawk around Gravenhurst, so I have
seen them before.  After your message I consulted my four bird
books and the dark head and light under-wing of the broad-wing
seems more in line with my memory of what I saw.  Maybe this one
did not read the books!


Broad-winged or Red-shouldered?

 Al Sinclair

 2:05 pm tuesday march 19, 2002

Broad-winged or Red-shouldered?
A hawk with black and white tail bands seen in Muskoka mid-March
is most likely a Red-shouldered Hawk. Broad-winged Hawks return
later, about mid-April. A pair of Red-shouldered Hawks have been
nesting in the area of this sighting for several years (I live
nearby). These 2 species when seen circling over-head are very
similar despite what some bird books show. On a Broad-winged you
can see 2 black bands clearly, on a Red-shouldered you can see 3.
The best clue to their identity is their calls which are very
different. Red-shouldered are usually very vocal when circling
over their nest site at this time of year. What do you think
Brenda, could it have been a Red-shouldered?


Broad-winged hawk, brown creeper

 Brenda Clark

 9:51 pm sunday march 17, 2002

On Saturday, March 16, we went up to Matthiasville in search of
the swan.  We did not find it, but there was a Broad-winged
hawk circling overhead.
Also, I forgot to enter that on Saturday, March 2, we were
skiing at the Management Centre near Bracebridge and saw a
Brown Creeper.  We may have seen two more, or maybe kinglets,
high up in a cedar, on the same ski outing, but I could not see
these ones well, and had no binos while skiing.  There was also
a pileated woodpecker in the same area.


 Morrison Lake - 4 Ruffed Grouse

 Barbara Taylor

 9:15 pm sunday march 17, 2002

Got great looks at four Ruffed Grouse just before noon today.  
The birds were sunning themselves on a rise of land on the south
side of Southwood Rd. (hwy.13), between the S. and N. Morrison
Lake Rds., closer to the N. Rd.

I've never been lucky enough to see more than one Ruffed Grouse
at a time...but four!  They were only a few feet apart, and just
resting in the sunshine.  Perhaps the male had attracted three
females earlier with his drumming, but no action while we were

To reach the area from Bracebridge, take Hwy. 11 south and exit
at the Harvey's (Beiers Rd.) and turn right on Southwood Rd.  
Watch for many frost heaves.


 re: Identified - raven?

 Kevin Kinsman

 8:17 am sunday march 17, 2002

Most definately was a bald eagle, as therewere many birds along
the ice in the same area of which one was a raven also. Many small
birds were trying to get at the fish the eagle was eating, in
agression one lifted its wings and chased the birds away. I
observed the eagles through my binoculars and was looking at the
pic on the internet at the same time.


re: Identified - raven?

 Barbara Taylor

 1:31 pm saturday march 16, 2002

Well Kevin, since Al Sinclair did post that there were bald
eagles seen recently not too far from the mouth of the Muskoka
River, perhaps you have spotted some immature eagles.  Hope so.

But are you sure the birds weren't ravens? Did you see any white
mottling on them?  I just took a look at the WBBA images of young
bald eagles and the pictures do look a lot like a raven,
especially if viewed from a distance.

For the past few years, there have been a nesting pair of ravens
on Browning Island just across the lake from Pride's Marina,
which I believe is not too far from where you are on Eileen Gowan
Is. So maybe those are the birds you saw.  



 Kevin Kinsman

 12:23 pm saturday march 16, 2002

Went to Wbba species images, and found a match of birds are
deffinetly bald eagles young, the lack of the yellow ring
confused me. But are deffinately young bald eagles.


? Large birds

 Kevin Kinsman

 12:16 pm saturday march 16, 2002

Looking out from the island I have half ice half open water. At
the waters edge approx3/4 a mile to large birds one feeding the
other observing. Size approx by eye to 3/4 mile standing 1 1/2
foot high. With binoculars they appear to be falcons, could this
be true.


 Robin, Merlin sightings in Muskoka

 Al Sinclair

 12:13 pm saturday march 16, 2002

Dan Burton had a Robin Mar 15, 11:45am in his yard in
For the last couple of years there's been a pair of Merlins
nesting just west of the MNR office at High Fall's Rd.  Warren
Dunlop reported one of them was back March 15 and flew over
their picket line calling. (OPSEU strike is giving Warren some
extra birding time)


C. Geese, Mallard, Merganser

 Barbara Taylor

 12:55 pm tuesday march 12, 2002

This morning we couldn't find the eagles near Santa's Village
but from Kirby's Beach did see a very large bird way out on the
ice near Eleanor Island.  No scope so couldn't id the bird.  
Several gulls flying around Eleanor Island.

Since the Muskoka River is completely free of ice now, went to
look for birds at George Rd. boat launch area (along Golden
Beach Rd., not far from Santa's Village).  There were ten
Canada Geese, a pair of Mallards, and two female Common
Mergansers swimming past the docks.


Ravens collecting nest material

 Al Sinclair

 6:38 pm monday march 11, 2002

On March 7, at our house near Uffington two Common Ravens were
seen collecting large balls of recently discarded dog hair. The
Peterson Field guide to Nests says the nest is "thickly lined
with animal hair, mosses, and bark shreds". They must be
building a nest somewhere near us, "probable" breeding evidence
for the Breeding Bird Atlas.


 Bald Eagles(4) Beaumont Dr Bracebridge

 Al Sinclair

 6:35 pm monday march 11, 2002

Late yesterday, March 10, I received a call that Stu Mitchell
had 4 Bald eagles (3 adults 1 immature) sitting in the trees in
front of his house at 1484 Beaumont Dr., Bracebridge. This is
the yellow house, with airplane parked beside it, across the
river from Santa's Village. The blizzard was still roaring so I
waited until today to have a look. At first, didn't see anything
so I went down to Kirby's beach to check the lake, still frozen.
On the way back just west of Mitchells I saw an immature Bald
Eagle (2nd year) flying low over the hill to the north. It
soared in tight circles in an updraft and gained altitude until
it was just a speck, then sailed off east out of sight. No sign
of the adults seen yesterday. Mitchells said there were 30 deer
wintering north of Santa's Village, I suspect one of them died
in the woods and is being scavenged by the eagles.


RedWinged Blackbird and Cardinal

 Sylvia Brown

 4:08 pm monday march 11, 2002

Our first  red winged black bird has just arrived at our
feeders.   a male cardinal has been coming to our feeders  since
Dec.23, 200l and it has been singing now for 2 weeks.


Muskoka River birds


 3:32 pm monday march 11, 2002

Sat. March 9 1:00 p.m.
We went out to Trethewey Falls to see if the Tundra Swan was
still around and yes, there it was above the dam swimming around
with a pair of Canada Geese.  Alas some uncaring moron hiked up
the bank of the river with his black lab and spooked the birds
further up river.  We did however go back about two hours later
and the swan was cruising contently with the geese; no dog or
moron in sight thankfully.
We also drove up the Mathiasville Road (upstream) and were
rewarded with the sightings of about 8 common mergansers (one
female, 7 males; lucky her) and a pair of pied billed grebes.
Even though it doesn't count on the Bird Board, we were pleased
to catch a quick glimpse of an otter.


Northern Harrier, Shrike, Snowbuntings

 Eleanor Kee Wellman

 8:20 pm saturday march 9, 2002

This afternoon I saw a male Northern Harrier circling over the
intersection of Falkenberg Rd. and Butter & Egg Rd.  Further on
in the field that is being excavated for peat a Shrike species
(presumably Northern) was on a wire and in the same field were
about 60 snow buntings.


re: Seen any sick Redpolls?


 3:22 pm friday april 5, 2002

Hi, I live on the south shore of Lake Simcoe in Willow Beach,
which in just south of Jackson's Point or Sutton.  I have had
hundreds of Redpolls hanging around this winter and spring and
have found approx. 7 dead Redpolls throughout the last few
months.  I have not seen any sick or dead ones in 2 weeks(thank


re: Seen any sick Redpolls?

 Robin E. Taylor

 10:47 am wednesday march 6, 2002

We are located on the West shore of L. Simcoe, just South of
Orillia. We found a sick redpoll in our yard last week. (around
Feb. 27) We took it inside and it died some hours later.
We have redpolls and tree sparrows visiting our feeders all the
time. Haven't noticed many goldfinches this winter.

Robin Taylor


 re: Are the finches migrating

 Barbara Taylor

 5:26 pm thursday march 7, 2002

They have probably just moved on to another feeding area...quite
normal behaviour.  Or you might have had a hawk hanging around
which prompted the finches to find a safer spot.

What kind of finches did you have at your feeder?

The sudden abundance of squirrels may mean that you have a female
squirrel that's ready to mate and so all the males for miles
around stop by for a visit...

We had six male squirrels following a female around the yard for
two days last week but they soon disappeared.


Are the finches migrating

 Kevin Kinsman

 6:36 am wednesday march 6, 2002

We usually have 50 to 60 finches at are feeder but they have been
missing for 3 days. Is this due to a seasonal migration or just
the crazy weather we are having. The squirrels seem to be more
abundant at the feeder could this also be a factor.


 Barred owl


 12:44 pm monday march 4, 2002

Sat. Mar. 2
We had a barred owl sitting up in a tree in front of our
workshop for about 2 hours, starting at 4:00 p.m.
It seemed to be nonchalant about my presence, it even dozed off
I think, but then it became quite interested in the activities
of the red squirrels, of which we have plenty.
I didn't actually see it catch a squirrel but here's hoping it
Also, we have 3 mourning doves hanging around and they are even
calling their "mournful" tune.


Eagle Species

 Eleanor Kee Wellman

 10:09 am sunday march 3, 2002

At 10 am this morning I saw an unidentified eagle flying up Lake
Joseph from the Port Sanfield area to the Appian Way area.  It
was being harassed by a crow.  At about Appian Way it flew off
to the Sound.  There are ice fishers at the boat launch at
Appian Way and there might be fish guts on the ice.


Common Raven-Nest Site

 sylvia purdon

 8:47 pm saturday march 2, 2002

Ted Smith of Brydon's Bay Rd. reports the Raven pair have
completed their nest building on the traditional location on the
high cliff overlooking Brydon's Bay.  This sighting was reported
on Monday February 25, the nest having been completed on the
The occasional large stick lies on the ice where the Ravens have
accidentally lost their grip.  


 trumpeter swans

 sylvia purdon

 8:43 pm saturday march 2, 2002

Bill Kinghorn from the Severn River has reported two sighting
of  2 pair of Trumpeter Swans on Monday February 25 at 0730hr
and Wednesday February 27 at 0700hr.  A single trumpeter was
observed swimming in the newly opened water, but the 2 pair were
observed flying upstream.


Archived Bird Board reports


 1:53 pm saturday march 2, 2002

The Muskoka Bird Board shows all reports posted over the past
sixty days.  If you want to review older posts, go to the
Archives at

Archived reports are updated on a regular basis and you can find
all reports back to October, 2000.  (Earlier reports were not

You can search the archives for specific birds by using
the "Edit-Find on this page" tool in your browser's menu bar.


Black-backed Woodpecker(s)

 Eleanor Kee Wellman

 5:54 pm friday march 1, 2002

After posting a message at the end of January about finding
black-backed woodpeckers along Healey Road, Mactier, I received
3 messages from people who went looking.  All three people found
at least one bird.  I went looking twice this week.  The first
time brought no results but yesterday, after a snowfall I found
1 male at km 14.2

Take Muskoka Rd 11/Mactier Rd. past Mactier to Healey Road.  
Turn left onto Healey Lake Road and set you trip meter.  At
about 9 km you will start to see numerous  hemlock trees that
have been worked on by woodpeckers.

If you are able to go looking after a snowfall you will find out
which trees have been worked on most recently.  Yesterday I
found 3 locations and at km 14.2 I found the bird.  It then
began to snow and I drove to the Y at 18.7 km and turned
around.  The snow had covered any evidence and the bird had
disappeared.  I will keep trying over the next couple of weeks


Tundra Swan location update, migrants

 Al Sinclair

 2:30 pm friday march 1, 2002

The Tundra Swan was still on the Muskoka River yesterday Feb 28.
It was on the river above the bridge at Trethewey Falls, quite a
distance upstream, binos needed for a good look. Also on the
river between Hanna Chute and Trethewey at Kirst Rd were 4
Common Mergansers, 3 male, 1 female. Think these are likely some
of the first spring migrants. Also Crows were calling this week
near Uffington, they must be heading north.


Seen any sick Redpolls?

 Al Sinclair

 2:22 pm friday march 1, 2002

Just wondering if anyone in Muskoka is seeing sick and dying
Redpolls at their feeders. It has been a serious problem in
southern Ontario this winter. So far I have heard of only one
feeder in Muskoka near Glen Orchard that has had sick birds this
winter. Please reply to this message with your location if you
are having a problem so we can see how widespread it is. This
website gives some information on bird diseases.
The message pasted below from the Ontbirds list answers most
questions about salmonellosis.

Dear Ontbirders,

I believe this is important information.

Sick and dying redpolls probably have Salmonellosis. Dr. Doug
Campbell at the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre at
the University of Guelph recently confirmed salmonella bacteria
this winter in redpolls from Ontario.

Below is information from Dr. Campbell courtesy of a friend.

Dr. Campbell answered a few questions related to the human/pet
health side of the issue.

1. Q Can cats or dogs get sick from eating birds that are dying
or have died from Salmonellosis?

A Yes. Try to keep your pets away from them.

2. Q What do I do if I find a dead bird?

A You may wish to send the specimen in for anaysis. If not, use
the plastic bag "stoop and scoop" method, seal it, and send it
to the landfill site.

3. Q Can this disease be spread to people?

A Yes.

4. Q How can I protect myself?

A Use good hygiene and common sense. Wear rubber gloves when
loading feeders, cleaning feeders, cleaning up underneath
feeders or handling dead birds, and wash up afterwards.

5. Q Can I help prevent the spread of this disease to other

A Yes. You can remove the feed and disinfect your bird feeder,
especially tray feeders or underneath silo feeders, by using a
10% chlorine bleach solution. Once per week is recommended.

Some other general information related to the disease itself is
included here:

Salmonellosis is a primarily a disease of the digestive tract in
these birds.

Birds contaminate feed by deficating.

The fact that these birds congregate in large numbers at feeders
contributes to the spread of the disease.

There can be chronic carriers of the disease that are not
obviously sick yet can spread it to other birds.

It is probably a naturally occurring disease in the population.

Different salmonella strains tend to be quite species specific.

Ron Pittaway
Minden, Ontario


New Simcoe County bulletin board!

 Barbara Taylor

 11:23 am friday march 1, 2002

There is now a Simcoe County Nature Bulletin Board which
operates just like the Muskoka Bird Board.  Bob Bowles is the
administrator of the Simcoe board and he can be contacted via
the "administrator" link near the top of the new Simcoe County
board at:


Varied Thrush fave Chow!!

 Ted Gardner

 4:29 pm thursday february 28, 2002

We found the Thrush coming to our platform feeder enjoyed a
mixture of general mixed feed as well as sunflower hearts (sans
also happy to anounce that our Verna The Varied Thrush was
spotted again at our feeders after yet another 2 week absense.
(feb 26 & 27th)
is it possible that we are sharing the same female thrush!?
we are in the Meadow hieghts area??


re: Varied Thrush..not in Muskoka

 Al Sinclair

 6:06 pm thursday february 28, 2002

Just in case you were wondering, the hungry Varied Thrush was not
in Muskoka. I emailed Terri privately and she replied with her
location as folloews.   "I live in the mountains of Montana.  We
are at an elevation of 4,000 feet so we get much more snow than
they do in the valley." Anyhow she will be trying some mixed seed
and night crawlers she found at a bait shop. Promised to let us
know what happened. Aren't those search engines fantastic!


Food for Varied Thrush


 10:53 am thursday february 28, 2002

We had a Varied Thrush fly into our area and we don't know what
to feed him.  It has been snowing so his attempts to peck at the
ground are futile.  Any help as to what I can put out for this
lovely bird would be appreciated.


re: Cardinal singing

 Barbara Taylor

 10:35 am monday march 4, 2002

Male cardinal singing again this morning at same location.


Cardinal singing

 Barbara Taylor

 10:01 am thursday february 28, 2002

Early this morning there was a cardinal singing near Glendale
Rd. at Kevin Cres., Bracebridge.  A pair successfully nested in
this general area last summer.


mourning doves - in song


 6:45 pm tuesday february 26, 2002

Forgot to mention this last night while filing the woodpecker
Sunday's balmy weather brought out the romantic in the mourning
doves that have been hanging around our feeders most of this
winter. They kicked into song around noon and were engaged in a
lot of courtship posturing as well.
Today's fluctuations in temperature seem to have forced them to
lay a little lower.


black-backed? Pine Street Bracebridge


 7:22 pm monday february 25, 2002

About 4:45 this afternoon, what seems to have been a black-
backed woodpecker landed in the poplars in the parking lot
beside the District of Muskoka building.
Didn't get a good look at it, but it called a few times, which
made it clear this was not a hairy woodpecker. I checked the
call with the Stokes CD; the black-backed is the closest I could
come to the call.
It flew into the woods at the top of the cliff behind the
district, if anyone's interested in trying to confirm it.


Black-backed at MacTier

 Doug Smith

 1:27 pm monday february 25, 2002

saw one male Black-backed woodpecker along the Healey Lake Rd,
west of Mactier on Saturday, feb 23/02, at approx. 11am, (my
apologies for not posting this sooner). This is the same
location which Eleanor Wellman mentioned at the end of January.

There were many hemlocks with lots of signs of peeled bark. Some
trees had large piles of bark at their base from all of the work
done by the woodpeckers, so there should be more woodpeckers

To get there go to MacTier then north to the Healey Lake Rd. and
travel down this exactly 12 km, then start looking for the
stripped hemlocks. I saw this male at exactly 12 km. along the


Swan Update.. It's a Tundra Swan

 Al Sinclair

 12:03 pm monday february 25, 2002

Recently I posted some photos of an immature Swan that is
wintering on the Muskoka River between Hanna Chute and Trethewey
Falls east of Hwy 11 near Bracebridge.
Web address
Initially it was thought to be an introduced Trumpeter Swan but
it had no bands or tags which meant it was either raised in the
wild or it was not a Trumpeter. After a few people had closer
looks at the bird, the consensus was that it is a Tundra Swan.
This is an unusual and unprecedented winter bird record for the
Muskoka region. Tundra Swans are occasionally seen in the region
during the spring and fall migration.

It has been feeding on aquatic plants in shallow areas of the
river since early January. When the river became mostly frozen
in early February it has stayed in open water around the two
dams, most recently at Trethewey Falls. A local resident tried
to feed it corn but it ignored the offer. It has been flying up
and down the river and appears healthy so far. It was observed
at close range by Nick Bartok who works at Wye Marsh and is
familiar with immature Trumpeter Swans. He says it is smaller
and its call notes are higher pitched than an equal aged
Trumpeter. Looking at the timing of the molt to white adult
plumage from gray immature plumage would confirm it as a Tundra
Swan as most of the body is now white. Trumpeter Swans
apparently retain gray on the body into April or later. Tundra
Swans complete the body molt by March but some gray remains on
the head and neck. Bill and head shape apparently can be
misleading in identifying immature Tundra and Trumpeter Swans.
The legs of this swan are black, the legs of Trumpeter Swan
immatures are olive-buff.


4th yr bald eagle

 Ken Morrison

 2:31 pm thursday february 21, 2002

Feb. 18 flying over Muskoka River in Huntsville area


Barred Owl

 Barbara Taylor

 5:52 pm monday february 18, 2002

This afternoon we spotted a Barred Owl along the TransCanada
Trail about half way between Henry Rd. and the Bracebridge
Sewage Lagoons. Also saw a Ruffed Grouse where the snowmobile
trail turns onto Henry Rd.


 Swan has moved

 Al Sinclair

 9:17 pm sunday february 17, 2002

The Trumpeter swan attempting to winter in Muskoka is now on a
small patch of open water below Trethewey Falls about 3 km
upstream from Muskoka Falls.


Bald Eagle

 Brenda Clark

 3:30 pm tuesday february 12, 2002

On Monday (yesterday) I watched an adult bald eagle soaring
behind the Muskoka Store.  Maybe it drifted down from Muskoka
Sands, enjoying the sunny weather!


bald eagle and cardinals

 Dave Hawke

 3:45 pm sunday february 10, 2002

An adult bald eagle was observed at Muskoka Sands Resort (just
north of Gravenhurst) on February 6. It was circling over the
new golf course. A pair of cardinals have been seen regularily
at one of the feeders on the resort.


Golden-crowned Kinglets

 Barbara Taylor

 4:35 pm saturday february 9, 2002

This morning there were a few Golden-crowned Kinglets near NE
corner of Daleman Dr. and Rockwell Ave., Bracebridge.  There
were lots of "noisy" chickadees and w-b nuthatches as well, so I
almost missed seeing and hearing the kinglets.


 Cardinal...Santa's Village Rd Area

 Al Sinclair

 8:50 pm thursday february 7, 2002

Bill and Janet Dickinson report they have had a female Cardinal
at their feeder all winter on Fairlight Glen. I believe this is
somewhere off Santa's Village Rd.



 Barbara Taylor

 1:47 pm thursday february 7, 2002

This morning a male Northern Cardinal visited our bird feeder in
Bracebridge.  We haven't seen any cardinals since last summer
when a male "dropped off" an immature male cardinal at our
feeder.  The young one stayed around for about a week and then
we never saw him or his poppa again.  Wonder if today's bird is
one of these two returning to their old neighbourhood...


Swan at Muskoka Falls..update

 Al Sinclair

 10:21 pm wednesday february 6, 2002

Yesterday Feb 5, I went looking for the immature Trumpeter Swan
wintering on the river at Muskoka Falls. It was swimming and
dipping along the shore above the Hanna Chute dam. Because of
the recent cold weather this is the only open water left on that
stretch of the river. I called Harry Lumsden, the head of the re-
introduction project, and he recommended not intervening at this
point. He said that if the swan was healthy it would leave if
the open water disappeared. Feeding it would keep it there for
the rest of the winter. If it is suffering from lead poisoning
from eating lead shot it will not likely leave and may need to
be rescued. Local residents are keeping a eye on it. Warmer
weather this week may open up the river again so it can get to
better feeding areas.


re: Great grey owl

 Al Sinclair

 11:29 am tuesday february 5, 2002

First Great Gray reported this year in Muskoka, but there has
been many Barred around. Also Great Gray are usually seen beside
open fields. Are sure it was not a Barred Owl? Did you check the
eye color? Great Gray-yellow, Barred-brown.


re: Great grey owl

 Barbara Taylor

 11:19 am tuesday february 5, 2002

Quite the find Kevin!  We have never seen a Great Gray Owl on
Browning Island (next door to your island, Eileen Gowen, on Lake
Muskoka) but have seen Barred Owls quite often in an area of
hemlock, oak, and beech forest.


Great grey owl

 Kevin Kinsman

 7:39 am tuesday february 5, 2002

Was in the center of the island and spotted the owl in an area of
a hemlock beech mix forest.


Algonquin Park Birds

 Ron Tozer

 4:26 pm monday february 4, 2002

We have been having a very quiet winter for finches in Algonquin
Park, with Pine Grosbeak and Common Redpoll being the only
reliable species. Crossbills are extremely scarce, if not
absent. Only 12 White-wingeds and 1 Red were seen on the
Christmas Count (62 people out all day!). There are virtually no

As usual, the Opeongo Road (which you have to walk beyond the
closed gate) might produce Spruce Grouse, Gray Jay and Boreal
Chickadee, with some chance for Black-backed Woodpecker.
Sprucebog trail may produce these birds, as well. Four Spruce
Grouse were seen there recently.

Black-backed Woodpecker was reported at the Western Uplands
Backpacking Trail entrance this past weekend.

Feeders at the East Gate and the Visitor Centre are worth
checking for Pine Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls. One or two
HOARY REDPOLLS have been seen in the Common Redpoll flocks at
these feeders recently. Gray Jays may also be seen around these

Algonquin Park is located east of Huntsville on Highway 60.
Huntsville is three hours north of Toronto via Highways 400 and
11. Locations in the park can be found using the park tabloid
map, which you can pick up at the gates when you buy your day
use permit.


Ron Tozer
Former Algonquin Park Naturalist

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Swan at Muskoka Falls..seen today

 Al Sinclair

 10:31 pm friday february 1, 2002

The swan is still being seen on the Muskoka River between Hanna
Chute and Trethewey Falls. Today I saw it where Hwy 118E comes
close to the river about 2.5 km from Hwy 11. And later it was
feeding in a weed bed behind the green houses at Hwy 118E and
Kirst Rd. It is an immature swan, pink bill dark at the base and
tip, its neck and head still mostly gray. Immature swans are
difficult to identify but my guess is that it is a Trumpeter
Swan, part of the wild population being introduced to Ontario,
originally released at the Wye Marsh. It is still too gray to be
either a Mute or Tundra in January. It appears healthy and has
been flying up and down the river. Staff at the Wye Marsh
apparently advised a local resident that she could feed the bird
corn but I don't think anyone is feeding it yet. If anyone gets
close to it they should try to get a photo, it was very shy
today. It has no bands or tags. It was first seen Jan 1.


 New Ontario Bird Book

 Ken Walton

 11:00 am wednesday january 30, 2002

An Annotated Bibliography of Ontario Ornithology Vol. 1 by K.
Walton is out with 4000 reprints listed on Ontario Birds and
information on it, can be found by writing to

L. Sayers,
190 Grosvenor Ave. North,
Hamilton, Ontario,
Canada L8L 7S9


Northern Shrike

 Bruce Mackenzie

 10:25 pm tuesday january 29, 2002

A northern shrike was seen at the intersection of Falkenberg
Rd.and Beatrice Townline Rd. at 12:30 p.m. The area open
agriculture beside a large treed swamp area.Area is about 8 km.
north east of Bracebridge.


re: new bird - Mourning Dove

 Barbara Taylor

 2:50 pm tuesday january 29, 2002

Hi Kevin,
Wouldn't expect to see any other doves (other than rock dove, aka
pigeon) around here, but I suppose there is a remote possibility
that someone released an exotic pair to the wild.

There does seem to be a lot of colour variation amongst the seven
Mourning Dove regulars at our bird feeder.  This morning there
was one that was much darker brown than most, and one showing
almost a rusty colour in the right light.  Photographs of even
the same bird can appear quite different depending on the camera,
the lighting and how good the photographer is too.  

Found four good photos of Mourning Doves for you (the urls will
probably wrap to second line):


new bird

 Kevin Kinsman

 8:01 am tuesday january 29, 2002

Went to the image library, the pair looked like the mourning doves
but the coulouring was all wrong. Could this be due to geographic
location or just another type of dove. Thank you for the links
Barbara will be very usefull in the future. Kevin      


re: ? new bird to feeder

 Barbara Taylor

 9:24 pm monday january 28, 2002

Sorry Kevin, the last link doesn't seem to work even with cut and
paste.  Try clicking on Top 25 Feeder Birds in menu at left side
of the Project Feeder Watch website:


re: ? new bird to feeder

 Barbara Taylor

 8:55 pm monday january 28, 2002

Were these birds on your feeder or on the ground under your
feeder?  Any noticeable spots, stripes or colour pattern?  If you
could give a better description of the birds (including the
difference in colour on the male and the female, if any) and the
habitat where you saw them, someone here on the Bird Board might
be able to give you an ID.

My first thought was Mourning Doves, but they look more beigy
brown to me, not really rusty. Ruffed Grouse are considerably
larger than "dove size" and Hermit Thrush are considerably
smaller. Thought of a Sharp-shinned Hawk but usually wouldn't see
them in a pair...guess I've run out of guesses until I get more
info.  : )

Here are four pretty good websites (if the url scrolls to a
second line, you will have to cut and paste the pieces):

Also, a list of top 25 "feeder birds" in Ontario:


? new bird to feeder

 Kevin Kinsman

 5:20 pm monday january 28, 2002

Hi first year feeding birds, on Eileen gowan island, seeing many
different wildfowl visiting, hawks, lots of finches, chickadeas,
and nuthatches. BUT TODAY very large bird dove size with rust and
brown colouring in a m/f pair very obvious. REASON for messege,
need a good indexed site with pictures to verify waterfowl and
birds in this area Muskoka.
Thanks Kevin


Common Merganser

 Barbara Taylor

 12:32 pm saturday january 26, 2002

This morning there was a lone male Common Merganser swimming
past the public boat launch area at the end of George Rd., off
Golden Beach Rd., Bracebridge.  The Muskoka River is now
completely free of ice (has only been patchy ice in a few places
all winter) and Lake Muskoka is still wide open as well. Some
ice in Alport Lake, but looks very weak.


Whitewing Crossbill

 Albert Eatock

 8:37 am friday january 25, 2002

Flock at feeder, 211 Bonnell, down from Highfalls,
intermittantly for the last two weeks.


 Boreal Chickadee

 Albert Eatock

 8:33 am friday january 25, 2002

At birdfeeder, 211 Bonnell Rd, just off Highfalls, for past two


re: Black-backed Woodpecker(s)

 Bruce Brydon

 8:12 am sunday january 27, 2002

Yesterday, Sat. Jan. 26, I saw 1 Black-backed Wodpecker on Healy
Lake Rd.  It was about 12 km from the Muskoka Rd. 11 junction.  
There was a Hairy Woodpecker there too.  Further in, at 18.3 km
from the junction I located another Hairy.


Black-backed Woodpecker(s)

 Eleanor Kee Wellman

 9:43 pm thursday january 24, 2002

This afternoon I drove out Muskoka Rd 11 (Mactier Road) and then
onto Healy Lake Rd.  This road was widened last year and many
hemlocks are dying.  I counted more than 60 hemlocks showing
evidence of recent woodpecker activity. By this I mean bark
chips on top of the snow (last snow Sunday).  I saw only one
male Black-backed but that could have been due to the fact that
it was going on 5 pm.  There could be quite a few along with
some Three -toed as well.  

Take Muskoka Rd. 11 (Mactier Road) through Mactier 6.1 km to
Healy Lake Road.  Drive 12 km on Healy Lake Road and you will
begin to see the affected hemlocks on both sides of the road.


Bald Eagle

 Brian Pfrimmer

 5:45 pm thursday january 24, 2002

Sighted a mature Bald Eagle working the open water in front of
the government dock in Parry Sound harbour, in the town of Parry
Sound. The bird has been in the area for approix. two weeks.


re: Black ----&---- white raven

 Bruce Mackenzie

 10:29 pm tuesday january 29, 2002

Nice to see the bird is back. Laurie, my wife and I saw it several
times last winter. Did your bird have a white band at the base of
the tail like a marsh hawk?


Black --&-- white raven

 Eleanor Kee Wellman

 10:12 pm wednesday january 23, 2002

Last Wednesday I saw a Raven with white on both wings and white
feathers above a 1 inch Black band to the upper tail coverts.  
It was with at least 30 others at the Eveleigh Road, Port
Carling, Transfer Station.


Algonquin Park

 Mike Boyd

 9:00 pm wednesday january 23, 2002

Dear Fellow Birders

I was up at Algonquin last weekend and was hoping to see lots of
winter birds, but they were quite few and far between. On a
private trail north of Mew Lake there was 1 Pine Grosbeak, Downy
and Hairy Woodpeckers. Then at Spruce Bog trail there were only
2 Ravens and a flock of about a dozen C. Redpolls at the Visitor
Centre. Not many birds but the scenery was certainly well worth

Mike Boyd


Swan on south branch Muskoka River

 Al Sinclair

 7:23 pm wednesday january 23, 2002

A swan has been seen for a couple of weeks by residents living
along the south branch of the Muskoka River at Muskoka Falls. It
has been above the Hanna Chute dam at the end of McBride Lane
and along the river upstream to Muskoka Falls Public school. So
far no one has identified what species it is although it
probably is a Trumpeter Swan(but could be a Mute or Tundra).  If
anyone sees it please post the date and location so we can go
out and check its identity. It was not there today(Jan 23/02).


raven with spots

 Dave Hawke

 7:29 pm monday january 21, 2002

A raven has been regulary observed in the Sands Golf Course area
(Muskoka Beach Road, Gravenhurst)that has white spots on each
wing and each side of its tail. Quite a sight!



 Dave Hawke

 7:27 pm monday january 21, 2002

A single robin has been observed on Jan. 15 and 18 within the
Parkland area of Muskoka Sands Resort. Is it early... or late?


 bald eagle , turkey

 Bruce Mackenzie

 6:25 pm saturday january 19, 2002

Jan 17, 2002

Mortimers Pt. Rd. 11:30 a.m. 2.5 km east of Hwy. 118
Immature Bald Eagle flying east over Lake Muskoka. Appeared to
be first year bird. A great deal of white on underwing.
There is a benefit to open water in winter.

2:30 p.m. 3.5 km. west of Hwy 169 Mortimer's Point Rd.
3 turkeys. Easily tracked in snow. Found evidence of feeding on
Sensitive Fern fruiting bodies.


Barred owl

 Gayle Carlyle

 4:43 pm tuesday january 15, 2002

Sunday, Jan. 13, 3:00 pm
Saw a barred owl in a tree alongside the Rocksborough Rd. about
1/2 km in from Fraserburg Rd.
We watched it for a few seconds and then it flew off into a
grove of pines.  We didn't find it again, but the blue jays did.
They kicked up quite a fuss.


Photos of Bracebridge Varied Thrush

 Al Sinclair

 10:09 pm wednesday january 9, 2002

Digiscope photos taken by Harold Stiver of the Bracebridge
Varied Thrush have been posted at this address. Also info on


Great Horned Owl

 Brenda Clark, Graven

 8:26 pm tuesday january 8, 2002

Just at dusk tonight I realized there was one more squirrel's
nest in our back yard than there had been this morning.  This
turned out to be, instead, a Great Horned Owl assessing our bird
feeder and red squirrel.


Carolina Wren in Bracebridge

 Al Sinclair

 4:27 pm tuesday january 8, 2002

Linda Boon reports that a Carolina Wren has been seen
occasionally at their peanut feeder in Bracebridge. It was first
seen in early December then again between Christmas and New
Years. All sightings were between 8 and 10 am. Linda is not sure
if the wren visits the feeder every day because she leaves for
work early. The address is 367 Wellington St. N., the feeder is
behind the house, birders welcome, the big dog is friendly. From
the Tim Hortons corner go north across Monk Dr and take the
first street on the right, 370 is just before the 3 way stop.


Shrike and barred owl

 Gerald Willmott

 2:15 pm sunday january 6, 2002

Yesterday I spotted a Northern Shrike in Bardsville (Falkenburg
& Beatrice Townline intersection) and today a Barred Owl on 118
just west of Milford Bay on a hydro line.


Red-tailed Hawk at Arrowhead Provincial

 Burke Korol

 1:26 pm friday january 4, 2002

4 January 2002

Today at 1:10 pm an adult Red-tailed Hawk was seen circling and
hovering over the Central Zone Office in Arrowhead Provincial
Park.  The park is about 8 km north of Huntsville on the east
side of Hwy. 11.


Not seen today (Jan 3)

 Al Sinclair

 5:17 pm thursday january 3, 2002

There were no thrush sighting reports today, Jan 3. We were there
this afternoon but the bird did not show. Ted reports that they
did not see it either.


re: Bracebridge Varied Thrush

 Cindy Cartwright

 8:52 pm wednesday january 2, 2002

My last new bird of 2001 was a Boreal Chickadee in North Bay on
the 31st.  My first new bird of 2002 was the Varied Thrush at
Bracebridge today.  I stopped on my way home from South River and
saw the bird at 11:25 this morning for about 5 minutes.  When it
left, it flew behind the storage shed and down the hill toward
the houses on the lower portion of Meadow Heights Dr.  I drove
down to look for it and found a well stocked and active feeder
behind 82 Meadow Heights Dr.  I suggest people try looking in
that area if they can't find the Thrush at #120.  There were also
many redpolls, blue jays, mourning doves, pine grosbeaks and
evening grosbeaks at the feeders at both locations.

from the north:  take Taylor road from hwy 11 into Bracebridge.  
Turn right onto Manitoba.  Turn left onto Meadow Heights and
follow it around to #120 on the left across from Brian St.

Cindy Cartwright
Saugeen Shores

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re: Bracebridge Varied Thrush

 Thomas Crooks

 10:02 am wednesday january 2, 2002

January 1, 2002: The Hamilton birders Burke Korol mentioned where
Cheryl Edgecombe, Gerard McNaughton, Dave Don and me. We did get
a brief but thorough look at the female VARIED THRUSH just after
1pm after a wait of 1.5 hrs. +. Also seen at the feeders where

Thomas A. Crooks

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Bracebridge Varied Thrush Update

 Burke Korol

 4:52 pm tuesday january 1, 2002

1 Jan 2002

Today I saw the female Varied Thrush at Ted Gardner's feeder in
Bracebridge at 120 Meadow Heights Dr.

I arrived just after 2 p.m. and the bird appeared from 3:00 to
3:05 p.m. but it spent most of its time fairly well hidden in
the spruce trees near the back of the yard and beneath the shed
on a tiny patch of snow-free ground.  Apparently this was the
first time the bird was seen today, despite a patient morning
vigil by some birders from Hamilton.

Directions: Bracebridge is a 2 hr drive north of Toronto. From
the south, take the first Bracebridge exit off Hwy 11, follow
Muskoka Rd 118 west into Bracebridge. At Tim Hortons turn right
on Monck Rd. At the next traffic light turn left on Muskoka Rd
4/Manitoba street. Go north to a few kms to Meadow Heights Dr on
the left. Follow Meadow Heights Dr to #120 which is on the loop
at the end where it intersects Brian Rd.

From the north exit Hwy 11 at Taylor Rd, follow Taylor Rd to
Manitoba St. Turn right and continue to Meadow Heights.


Happy New Year!

 Barbara Taylor

 1:19 pm tuesday january 1, 2002

Happy New Year and thanks to everyone for all your reports!

The first report on Jan. 1, 2001 was a Northern Hawk Owl and the
last report on Dec. 31, 2001 was a Varied Thrush, with lots of
great sightings in between.  Archived reports can be found at:

To all those new to the Bird Board, a warm welcome.  Please
review the "guidelines" link near the top of the webpage before
posting to the Board.  There are some technical notes that might
be of assistance to you.

Thanks again and good birding,
Barbara Taylor