Muskoka Bird Board - Archived Reports from January - March 2003
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Rusty Blackbird
Posted on March 31, 2003 at 09:22:11 PM by Brenda Clark

We were watching all the grackles and redwinged blackbirds devouring our seeds around our feeder when I noticed one grackle with a chewed-off tail. Then, on taking a better look, I realized it was a fully formed tail. As best I could tell from the books, this was a rusty blackbird.



Bald Eagle
Posted on March 31, 2003 at 08:16:31 PM by Brian Pfrimmer

There was a mature Bald Eagle sighted on Little Fox Lake near the dam at Hoodstown at 10:30 this morning.



Sparrows and Hawks
Posted on March 31, 2003 at 01:28:00 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning at the Bracebridge Ponds (aka sewage lagoons) there was a pair of Song Sparrows, one in full song. Also a pair of Tree Sparrows. Two unidentified ducks circled over the still frozen ponds for some time, but then gave up and went elsewhere to find open water.

Yesterday there were three Red-tailed Hawks along Falkenburg Rd. near Beatrice Town Line. Also a small flock of robins in a field on Hewlitt Rd. across from the trout farm.



Re(1): Meadow larks & bluebird
Posted on April 1, 2003 at 01:36:03 PM by Gayle Carlyle

Well, you beat me to the punch this year. And I have been up and down our road at least once a day looking for new birds. Mar. 31 was an awful day weatherwise and I gave up looking quickly; that was around 1:30.
Anyway, congrats.



Meadow larks & bluebird
Posted on March 31, 2003 at 10:05:39 AM by bob burton

Sunday afternoon Dave Wright & I cleaned and checked boxes on Cedar Lane &Fraserburg rd.We saw a male Bluebird at a box on Roxburough rd., 3 Meadow Larks & 2 Killdeers. We saw a male Harrier same location.



Sparrow Lake
Posted on March 30, 2003 at 02:19:08 PM by sylvia purdon

Sparrow Lake and Severn River:
Nothing too remarkable, but nice to see all the same.

Raft of
50++ Hooded Mergansers m&f plus individuals in other locations

Bufflehead m&f
Common Golden Eye- display
Black Duck - 6 - m&f - Flooded field
Mallard - pairs -everywhere
Lesser Scaup - pairs
Turkey Vulture
Bluebird -pair
Canada Goose - pairs

Common Grackle/Robin/Starling

Pileated Woodpecker- great number of display holes in white pine near Wianko House road off Dist. 13.



Bluebird Pair
Posted on March 30, 2003 at 02:06:14 PM by sylvia purdon

Sunday March 30 at the bluebird box trail on District Road 13 near Sparrow Lake Rt. D one pair at a bluebird box..



Re(1): sparrow U.N.
Posted on March 31, 2003 at 10:08:58 AM by Garth N Baker

I think the bird by your description and reference to Sibley's is either a 1st. Winter White-throated or a Savanah Sparrow.
The 1st. Winter White-throated is striped on the chest with the dark pin in the center of its Chest.It is also more brown around the Neck and Breast where the adult is a clearer gray.
The Savanah Sparrow is approx. an inch shorter than the White-throated,with finer streaking on the Chest over a white Breast. It also has the dark Pin in the center of its Chest.Although it lacks the white Eye Stripes it has a yellow lores in the front of its Eye.



sparrow U.N.
Posted on March 30, 2003 at 11:53:50 AM by Challis-Carlyle

This weekend under the crab-apple we have had American tree sparrows, a single fox sparrow and something that refuses to resolve itself between a song sparrow and a white-throated sparrow. White throat, yellow tint at the front of the white eyebrows, but has heavy streaking on the chest, and appears to have the stick-pin on the chest as well. Dull striping on the back. Any suggestions as to which this is?
PS -- Our phoebe has been back since Thursday.



first bluebird?
Posted on March 30, 2003 at 09:27:44 AM by Bob Burton

I received a call from Mrs. Helde on Fraserburg rd. on seeing a male bluebird early sat. morning (mar.29),sitting on the fence beside their nestboxes.It was huddled in the rain.Later to her joy she saw it on one box,wacking a large light coloured caterpiller on the box roof in preparation to eating.



Re(1): just to clarify...
Posted on March 29, 2003 at 05:08:25 PM by Barbara Taylor

There is only one Muskoka Bird Board. But right now you can get to the Bird Board using either the old url or the new url.

I don't have an exact date for when the old url no longer works. The hosting service says some time in April. If anyone tries the old url after that date, they will not be taken to the Bird Board, but they should see a message that gives the new url.



Important Notice - Bird Board website address is changing
Posted on March 29, 2003 at 10:14:44 AM by Barbara Taylor

I have just been informed by the hosting service for the Bird Board that they will be changing the website address for technical reasons. Please update your browser's bookmarks and favourites lists with the new url

Sorry for any inconvenience, but this is beyond my control. The old url will continue to work for some time but eventually you will just see a page redirecting you to the new url.




Sparrow Lake
Posted on March 29, 2003 at 07:43:08 AM by sylvia purdon

Wednesday March 26: Red shouldered hawk calling Sparrow Lake.

Great Blue Heron in breeding plumage.

A large flock of Canada Geese, Sunday March 23 at the mouth of the Severn River at Sparrow Lake.



Wood ducks
Posted on March 27, 2003 at 06:07:52 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

This morning about 9:30 there were 3 male and 2 female wood ducks in the farthest open water from Medora Lake Rd.



Canada Geese
Posted on March 27, 2003 at 04:40:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

Today there were three pairs of Canada Goose at separate locations along the Muskoka River. (seen from Beaumont Dr., Bracebridge)

The river is now open all the way from Bracebridge Bay out to Lake Muskoka, but the mouth of the river still has ice. There is some open water at the George Rd. boat launch, but we didn't see any waterfowl there.



Re(1): Moths and Butterfly
Posted on March 27, 2003 at 07:55:34 PM by Al Sinclair

Some of the moths are likely in the genus Orthosia, Quakers. They are attracted to sugar and fly in the early spring. I posted some photos at



Moths and Butterfly
Posted on March 27, 2003 at 11:31:59 AM by Ron Stager

Moths in the maple sap (multiple species) since Sunday. Even though I have a moth guide; they are difficult to identify.

Erik saw an orange butterfly this morning coming out of the pines. My guess is that it was a Comptom Tortoiseshell since I usually seem them around here earlier than the commas.



Posted on March 27, 2003 at 08:58:30 AM by Challis-Carlyle

In Bracebridge Bay, this morning at about 8:30 a.m. (down by the little beach by the Wharf Road), six common mergansers, five of them males, all diving, presumably for minnows.



March 26
Posted on March 26, 2003 at 08:55:13 PM by mary willmott

In Bracebridge ,several dark eyed juncos and american tree sparrows and at home ,Beaumaris, several red wings blackbirds also a robin under the feeder pulled out a huge worm , tonight at dusk we heard a woodcocks nasal call and heard the wings twittering sound.



Re(1): Turkey vultures
Posted on March 28, 2003 at 03:42:14 PM by Barbara Taylor

This afternoon we finally saw our first Turkey Vulture for this spring! It was headed north gliding with the wind at Rockwell Ave. and Brian Rd., Bracebridge.



Turkey vultures
Posted on March 26, 2003 at 03:43:33 PM by Carlyle-Challis

Tues., Mar. 25 at about 5:40 I saw a flock of 4 or 5 TV's circling over some houses along Taylor Rd. near Muskoka Vitalizing.



Turkey Vulture
Posted on March 26, 2003 at 02:32:42 PM by Brenda Clark

We saw one turkey vulture moving north over Sedore Rd. south of Gravenhurst.



owls, killdeer
Posted on March 26, 2003 at 10:53:02 AM by challis-carlyle

The barred owls have set up camp on Rocksborough Road again this year. We've heard calling from four different locations on the road since the weekend. Last night two were having a debate about territory, one behind our house and the other behind the first farmhouse off Fraserburg Rd.
Today a pair of killdeers is cavorting in the field beside the old Muskoka Office (the 'big pencil), behind Canadian Tire gas bar.



Chipping Sparrow
Posted on March 25, 2003 at 06:29:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

Earlier today a single Chipping Sparrow at our birdfeeder in Bracebridge.

Also still three Purple Finch continue to visit the feeder every day. The rest of the 20 or so birds in the flock seem to have moved on. Amazing that they stayed around as long as they did...since early February.



Re(1): Phoebe
Posted on March 26, 2003 at 08:42:47 AM by Joan Coleman

Brenda - I haven't seen my first Robin yet!!



Posted on March 25, 2003 at 04:51:55 PM by Brenda Clark

One lone phoebe was flitting around at the corner of Beaver Ridge Road and Sedore Road on Sunday, March 23.



Red-shouldered hawk displaying at Uffington
Posted on March 25, 2003 at 01:28:53 PM by Al Sinclair

A Red-shouldered Hawk was flying in circles and calling as well as doing some steep dives today March 25 near Uffington. It was first heard at about 11:30 am and lasted about an hour.



Re(1): Purple Martin migration tracking website
Posted on March 25, 2003 at 09:05:57 AM by Al Johnston

Thanks for the heads-up, Al.It would be
great if the Breeding Birds Survey could
turn up some PM colonies in addition to the
two at Glen Orchard and Sugar Bush Bay
On Lake Muskoka. Al Johnston,



Re(1): migration tracking - also a hummingbird site
Posted on March 24, 2003 at 04:07:28 PM by Barbara Taylor



Purple Martin migration tracking website
Posted on March 24, 2003 at 02:09:57 PM by Al Sinclair

This website has a map showing the 2003 Purple Martin migration. They are now being seen in Ohio.



Re(1): Great Blue Heron
Posted on March 25, 2003 at 10:30:29 AM by Per Jensen

Observed 2 Great Blue Herons flying over Brackenrig Centre Rd., RR#1, Port Carling -Tuesday March 25 at 0830 a.m.



Great Blue Heron
Posted on March 24, 2003 at 10:23:31 AM by Goodyear

Great Blue Heron observed flying over Highlands Golf Course - Sunday March 23.



killdeer, snow buntings
Posted on March 23, 2003 at 05:26:44 PM by Challis-Carlyle

Saturday, about 4 p.m. behind the Independent Grocer-Canadian Tire complex in Bracebridge, a killdeer flew overhead giving its flight call.
We had a flock of about 14 snow buntings at the end of Rocksborough Road yesterday around 2 p.m. - first we've seen in neighbourhood, ironically 2 days after the arrival of spring.
We had our first robins here on March 19.



Red wings and geese
Posted on March 22, 2003 at 04:56:25 PM by Brenda Clark

The long-awaited spring birds are back south of Gravenhurst: yesterday it was red-winged blackbirds, and today robins and grackles and a lonely evening grosbeak (I know it's not a spring bird, but it's our first one here this year.) On Pine Lake, there were Canada Geese flying around.



Our 1st Robin, Brown Creeper singing
Posted on March 22, 2003 at 10:37:13 AM by Al Sinclair

We had our first Robin here on Hwy 118E near Uffington this morning March 22. The first last year was March 20. We also had a Brown Creeper singing today a sure sign of spring. Last year the first was March 26.



Re(1): American Kestrel..also back at Muskoka Highlands Golf Course
Posted on March 22, 2003 at 10:32:38 AM by Al Sinclair

Wilf Yusek had an email yesterday from Muskoka Highlands Golf Course reporting that the Kestrel that nested in their equipement shed last year is back. Muskoka Highlands is on South Monk Drive west of Bracebridge



American Kestrel
Posted on March 22, 2003 at 09:50:30 AM by Janice House

The resident Doe Lake Road male kestrel is back.



Robins & Waxwings
Posted on March 21, 2003 at 05:55:31 PM by Ted Gardner

This morning about 9 am in front of 180 Brian Rd in Bracebridge a pair of Robins and a pair of Cedar Waxwings shared the remaining mountain ash berries left from this past fall!! they really enjoyed them! possibley because they have fermented all winter!



White-winged Crossbill...breeding confirmed
Posted on March 18, 2003 at 08:59:34 PM by Al Sinclair

A White-winged Crossbill nestling was admitted to Wing and a Prayer on March 17. It survived a Blue Jay nest raid in the Port Sydney area but was badly injured. It is fully feathered but not flying, probably 16 to 20 days old said Janice. We assumed they were nesting because males have been heard in full song in a few places around Muskoka but this is the first confirmed nesting record for this species in Muskoka for the current breeding bird atlas.



The first Red-shouldered Hawks reach Muskoka
Posted on March 18, 2003 at 08:57:20 PM by Al Sinclair

Jan McDonnell reports that she received a call from someone on Walkers Point who saw Red-shouldered Hawks flying and calling on Sunday March 16. This is right on schedule, we always expect the first migrants of this species in Muskoka around mid-March.



kestrel, flicker (maybe)
Posted on March 17, 2003 at 06:13:51 PM by Challis-Carlyle

Today, about 5:40 p.m., at the Fraserburg Road overpass on Highway 11, a kestrel was perched on the hydro wires.
Yesterday afternoon we heard what we believe was a northern flicker in the woods behind our place on Rocksborough Road. The call was more sustained than a pileated and higher-pitched -- but because it was at a distance, we're not 100 per cent sure.
And the kildeer we thought we heard Saturday turned out to be a starling playing us for fools.



Posted on March 17, 2003 at 05:03:24 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

The six juncos that have been around since November seem to have moved on as I haven't seen them for several day. The chipmunks are busy cleaning up the finch seed that I distributed every day all winter and is now reappearing from under the many layers of snow!



Saw-whet Owl
Posted on March 16, 2003 at 06:26:51 PM by Ron Stager

A Northern Saw-whet Owl was calling about 5:30 south of Merkley Road about 2 km east of Barkway. Also a Ruffed Grouse drumming, Red-winged Blackbirds singing and crows making their racket.

It's been a long winter; the beaver back of our place made a tunnel out of the ice and has been dragging branches from the woods back down the hole.



Red Wing Blackbirds
Posted on March 16, 2003 at 12:04:50 AM by Janice House

2 red wing black birds in our yard this morning, 1 lone female evening grosbeak, 3 purple finches,and several american tree sparrows are still at my niger seed.



juncos, crossbills, waxwing
Posted on March 16, 2003 at 11:41:29 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a single Cedar Waxwing near south end of Meadow Heights Dr. loop plus several Dark-eyed Juncos. A pair of White-winged Crossbills were eating grit along Glendale Rd. near Daleman Dr. And large number of crows everywhere...
(in Bracebridge)



Re(1): Chipmunk
Posted on March 17, 2003 at 03:48:17 PM by Ted Gardner

Our 1st "bush tiger" (nick name!) apeared during the cold snap 2 weeks ago. 32 below, but he seems to have survived as we have seen him since.
Good thing for seed fallen from feeders.



Posted on March 16, 2003 at 08:50:44 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there was a chipmunk running along our deck where the snow has melted back from the house. First one we've seen since winter set in.



Evening Grosbeaks
Posted on March 15, 2003 at 08:37:43 AM by Janice House

Four evening grosbeaks at my feeders this morning.



Evening Grosbeaks
Posted on March 14, 2003 at 11:56:19 PM by Mark McAnally

Group of eight Evening Grosbeaks in trees in my yard this morning. Did not come to feeders and moved on.



Re 5 favourites: Robin, Bluebird, Mockingbird, Hummingbird, Chickadee
Posted on April 3, 2003 at 07:46:21 PM by Janice House




Re 5 favourites: Robin, Bluebird, Mockingbird, Hummingbird, Chickadee
Posted on March 24, 2003 at 10:52:34 PM by bob burton

Red Breasted Nuthatch, Bluebird, Common Loon, Hermit Thrush,Flicker.



Re 5 favourites: Robin, Bluebird, Mockingbird, Hummingbird, Chickadee
Posted on March 17, 2003 at 04:03:32 PM by Ted Gardner




Re 5 favourites: Cardinal, Chickadee, Robin, Cedar Waxwing, Evening Grosbeak
Posted on March 15, 2003 at 06:49:27 PM by Darlene

(no message)



Re 5 favourites: Raven, Veery, Nuthatch, Harrier, Great Blue Heron
Posted on March 15, 2003 at 03:24:49 PM by Ron Stager

plus chicken and penguin



Re 5 favourites: Brown Pelican, Winter Wren, Peregrine Falcon, Great Blue Heron, Black-capped Chickadee
Posted on March 15, 2003 at 03:08:53 PM by Barbara Taylor

Only 5 favourites? That's a tough one...



5 favourites: Robin, Bluebird, Mockingbird, Hummingbird, Chickadee
Posted on March 14, 2003 at 10:22:35 PM by Paul Smith

I'm doing an informal survey just for fun to see what everyones favorite birds are. Please reply with your five favorite birds listed in the subject line. This is science !!!

Cheers !!



goldeneye, beaver
Posted on March 9, 2003 at 06:15:46 PM by Challis-Carlyle

Saturday, about 3:30 p.m. in the open water at the foot of Matthiasville dam, we watched a single male goldeneye swimming about.
A short while later, while walking on Carlsmount Road (just off Matthiasville Road) we spotted three beaver out for a chilly forage on the banks of the Muskoka River, about 300 m upstream of the dam.
On our return to the car, the goldeneye had disappeared.



sewage lagoons
Posted on March 9, 2003 at 04:24:04 PM by Bruce Mackenzie

I am a member of the Hamilton Naturalists' Club. We are working on a conversion of abandoned sewer lagoon in Grimsby into bird watching area.
Does any one have information about a similar project in the muskokas.
Bruce Mackenzie



Posted on March 8, 2003 at 03:01:18 PM by Barbara Taylor

Several Purple Finch and American Goldfinch this morning along Meadow Heights Dr. in Bracebridge. (most were behind #89 at the bend in the road)

There are still at least 20 Purple Finch and a few Goldfinch in vicinity of Kevin Cres. and Glendale Rd. Over the past few weeks the Purple Finch have devoured every lilac seed they could just chaff covering the snow under the lilac bushes. And we have to fill the bird feeder much more often now.



Re(1): Red-shouldered Hawk Survey
Posted on March 10, 2003 at 09:54:36 AM by john ness

i live on sparrow lake route d, and have seen a number of hawks...



Red-shouldered Hawk Survey
Posted on March 7, 2003 at 05:33:12 PM by Dan Burton

Bird Studies Canada is looking for someone interested in doing a Red-shouldered Hawk survey at the Sparrow Lake route. This route was done for many years by Al Sinclair and then I did it for about 8 years. (RS Hawks guaranteed). If you are interested please contact
"Susan Debreceni"



Re(1): Common Goldeneye
Posted on March 9, 2003 at 02:14:08 PM by m.lannan

Thats neat Mark. If you see anything else really neat let us know and maybe we will try to find it.



Common Goldeneye
Posted on March 3, 2003 at 10:04:08 PM by Mark McAnally

One male Common Goldeneye in Muskoka River just below the Locks in Huntsville. March 3/03.



Overrun with Red Squirrels
Posted on March 3, 2003 at 04:54:49 PM by Barbara Taylor

We hadn't seen any Red Squirrels all winter until a few weeks ago. Then one started coming to the bird feeder on a regular basis. Then two. And today there were four! Is it already mating season for red squirrels in Muskoka? Lots of fighting, scolding, and chasing round and round the pine trees.



purple finch, evening grosbeaks
Posted on March 3, 2003 at 01:52:50 PM by Carlyle-Challis

Fri. Feb. 28
Around 8 a.m. we were surprised to see several purple finches (male & female) around our feeders as well as a small flock, perhaps 4 or 5, evening grosbeaks. This is the first we've seen of either all winter.
The grosbeaks were gone after a few minutes and haven't returend but the finches seem to be hanging around. Can it be that spring may actually arrive soon?



Re(1): bobcat, etc...
Posted on March 3, 2003 at 01:56:33 PM by Carlyle-Challis

We thought perhaps we'd had a bobcat around here a few weeks ago judging by the tracks. I'm not 100% sure on my track i.d. but it did look different from the fisher tracks we get on a regular basis. Our dogs seemed keenly interested in the "bobcat" tracks too.



bobcat, etc...
Posted on March 3, 2003 at 12:36:21 PM by Leslee Tassie

Hi everyone...
A woman I met on Saturday, Sharon, who lives on the Narrows Road reported having a bobcat around their place about 2 weeks ago. It was around for about 3 days. Her husband saw it and she tracked it.
On Saturday I saw a racoon out and about and also a gray jay out in Fraserburg at the Jessen's, and my sister Lynn saw a robin on Saturday by Kirrie Glen golf course.



Red-necked Grebe near Novar
Posted on March 1, 2003 at 04:36:57 PM by Ron Tozer

Another Red-necked Grebe has crash landed in southern Ontario, this time on the snow-covered ice of Oudaze Lake, just east of Novar in north Muskoka District. On Thursday morning, 27 February, teenagers Jay and Ben Sturgeon noticed this bird "floundering" in the snow not far from the bird feeder at their home near the shore of the lake. The bird had been initially discovered by the family cat, which did not harm it. The Sturgeon boys traced the bird's trail in the snow back to where it had landed on the frozen lake, probably during the previous night.

The bird was placed in a pet carrier cage, fed sardines, and kept until this morning (1 March), when it was brought to Huntsville for release in the Muskoka River. I was notified of this event, and confirmed the identification prior to the bird's release in a large open area of the river below The Locks. The grebe preened, dived, and flapped its wings after release, appearing to be in good condition. The boys and the grebe were photographed at the release site by a reporter from The Huntsville Forester newspaper, who had been notified.

The average spring arrival date for Red-necked Grebe in nearby Algonquin Park is 27 April (19 years). However, some occasionally return to the lower Great Lakes in mid to late February, and are believed to be early migrants from wintering areas along the Atlantic coast (Ron Pittaway, pers. comm.; Bob Curry on Ontbirds). Such an early arrival appears to be underway this year, with the many recent sightings reported on Ontbirds. A few of these Red-necked Grebes head even farther north, with some becoming stranded when unable to find open water (as with this week's Pembroke and Muskoka birds).

Other grebe species are known to "crash land" like this as well. One "wreck"of Eared Grebes in southern Utah within an 11-day span during bad weather in January 1997 involved the downing of an estimated 35,000 birds (see Auk 116(1): 178-183).



Golden Eagle
Posted on February 27, 2003 at 07:01:24 PM by Barbara Taylor

This morning we saw a Golden Eagle soaring in the skies above McCrank/Kevin Cres. area in Bracebridge.



Bird photos
Posted on February 23, 2003 at 03:10:16 PM by Barbara Taylor

You may remember seeing some of Wilf Yusek's bird photos on the Bird Board, such as the Peregrine Falcon he spotted at the Bracebridge Ponds last fall. Wilf has recently gathered together a large collection of his photos which you can now view on his website Birding with Wilf. Many of the birds were photographed here in Muskoka such as a Wilson's Phalarope at the Bracebridge Ponds, a Sedge Wren at the Henry Rd. marsh, and an American Bittern at Rocksborough Rd. And for those wishing they could be in Florida right now, there are several photos of birds you might see there too. There's even a picture of my favourite, the Brown Pelican.



Henry Rd. - Barred Owl and finches
Posted on February 20, 2003 at 03:48:22 PM by Barbara Taylor

Early this afternoon along a section of the Bracebridge TransCanada Trail east of Henry Rd. there were several small flocks of Purple Finch. Heard a White-winged Crossbill, but never got a good look at the bird. Also spotted a Ruffed Grouse and then a Barred Owl sunning itself in a dead tree beside the trail. One Brown Creeper, two Ravens and many Red-breasted Nuthatch and Black-capped Chickadees too. And one Hairy Woodpecker and two Downy Woodpeckers near parking area at Henry Rd.



Re(2): Saw-whet Owls...the four year cycle
Posted on March 20, 2003 at 09:40:09 PM by Al Sinclair

I was just alerted by the board administrator that there was a reply to my Saw-whet Owl post. I am not an expert on Saw-whets but have quite a few years of birding experience in Muskoka.

I am sorry to report that the chances of finding a Saw-whet in Muskoka in late summer are very slim. They begin calling in Feb or March and and stop calling after mating. I have not heard one in this area after May. Also I believe they are uncommon here even in good years. I have only seen one active nest, and heard of a couple of others in 25 years of birding. Of course they are hard to find because they are nocturnal and don't respond well to taped calls. Barred Owls are our most common owl and they are relatively easy to find.

I have answered your questions as best I can below. If you like give me call when you arrive this summer to find out what birds have been seen recently.
All the Best

1. What format does the "Ontario nocturnal owl survery: 2002 final report" exist in (printed, electronic)? How can i get a cpy of it?

You can download it at this address.

2. Am i correct to understand that Saw-whets in the Muskoka area are year-round residents?

I believe most migrate out of Muskoka. A few are usually found here during the winter, perhaps migrants from further north but it is hard to say. Some reports are of birds found dead from starvation.

3. Are there populations of the saw-whets that migrate annually as opposed to irruptions?

The latest theory is that they are a nomadic species, rarely nesting in the same location, breeding only in areas where they find abundant food. In my experience in Muskoka they are not found in the same locations from year to year and their abundance varies greatly from year to year.

4. Am i correct to understand that most Saw-whets would have fledged their young by late July/early August?

I would say yes but for some local information I would suggest you email Ron Tozer who has many bird records from Algonquin Park. He probably could provide some dates for recently fledged sightings. His email is



Re(1): Saw-whet Owls...the four year cycle
Posted on March 19, 2003 at 06:21:01 PM by Eric Clough

Hello Muskoka Bird Board ---

I am interested in learning more about the abundance and distribution of Saw-whets (and other owl species) in the Muskoka area. I have several questions someone may be able to offer answers to:

1. What format does the "Ontario nocturnal owl survery: 2002 final report" exist in (printed, electronic)? How can i get a cpy of it?
2. Am i correct to understand that Saw-whets in the Muskoka area are year-round residents?
3. Are there populations of the saw-whets that migrate annually as opposed to irruptions?
4. Am i correct to understand that most Saw-whets would have fledged their young by late July/early August?

I know i am planning ahead a long way but I will be in the Bala area in late July and look forward to doing some fun owl observations. Any thoughts/suggestions would be welcome.

Its wet and windy (but warm) in Coos Bay Oregon,
Eric Clough



Saw-whet Owls...the four year cycle
Posted on February 19, 2003 at 08:35:01 PM by Al Sinclair

The message below was originally posted on the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas Listserv. It has been copied here with Ron's permission. If you hear a Saw-whet Owl calling this spring it would be interesting and helpful for the Breeding Bird Atlas if you would post a message on this bird board giving the location.

Posted on <>
Date:Fri, 14 Feb 2003 16:16:17 -0500

Hello central Ontario atlassers:
If the apparent four-year cycle of abundant calling during early spring by
Northern Saw-whet Owls continues in central Ontario, we can expect 2003 to
be a good year for detection of this species by atlassers. The Ontario
Nocturnal Owl Survey (Badzinski 2003) recorded large numbers of calling
saw-whets during early spring of 1995 and 1999 in central Ontario, with far
lower numbers in the other annual surveys conducted from 1995 to 2002.

The large numbers of calling saw-whets in early spring of 1995 and 1999 may
have indicated a healthy population with abundant food available, preparing
to breed. Subsequently, during those two years, the production of large
numbers of young was later detected in massive fall irruptive flights. A
note in the latest Auk (Whalen and Watts 2002), documents major irruptive
fall flights of saw-whet owls in 1995 and 1999 (during a study from 1994 to
2000 at a banding station on the Delmarva Peninsula in Virginia). Most of
these owls (82 percent) were young-of-the-year. Such fall irruptions are
presumed to occur due to insufficient food on the breeding range to support
the population.

Why abundant spring calling and major irruptive fall flights appear to
occur every four years is unknown at this time, to my knowledge. However,
Swengel and Swengel (1995) during ten years of auditory censuses in
Wisconsin also noted that the amount of calling by saw-whets "varied
dramatically and regularly in an apparent four-year cycle".

Spring 2003 is the fourth year after the last big spring (1999) for calling
saw-whets in central Ontario. Deer Mice (and perhaps other small mammals)
can be expected to increase in numbers this spring, following enhanced
winter survival due to last year's huge seed crop on Sugar Maple, and other
species. Prey availability might support early initiation of breeding
activity, and abundant calling, by saw-whet owls again.

Atlassers are encouraged to obtain instructions and CDs or tapes from their
RC, and undertake owling this spring in as many atlas squares as possible.
Early to mid-April is an ideal time, and owling prior to excessive noise
from Spring Peepers, Wood Frogs, and meltwater is desirable. Northern
Saw-whet Owls have a very distinctive whistled call, and are often heard
calling without any playback calls required from the observer (unlike Barred

If you are concerned about frequenting back roads at night, it is quite
feasible to listen for saw-whet owls from the warmth and safety of your
vehicle. Just shut it off, crank down the window, and listen for a few
minutes. By sampling numerous locations, you should be able to find this
little owl in spring 2003, IF the four-year cycle of abundant calling
continues in central Ontario.

Good luck with your Northern Saw-whet Owl atlassing this spring!

Literature Cited

Badzinski, D.S. 2003. Ontario nocturnal owl survery: 2002 final report.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Wildlife Assessment Unit.

Swengel, A.B. and S.R. Swengel.1995. Possible four-year cycle in amount of
calling by Northern Saw-whet Owls. Passenger Pigeon 57(3): 149-155.

Whalen, D.M. and B.D. Watts. 2002. Annual migration density and stopover
patterns of Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus). Auk 119: 1154-1161.

Ron Tozer
Regional Coordinator, Atlas Region 27 (Algonquin)
1017 Spring Lake Rd., R.R.#1
Dwight, Ont. P0A1H0



Pine Siskin...our first this winter
Posted on February 19, 2003 at 08:19:49 PM by Al Sinclair

We had one Pine Siskin at our niger feeders today with a flock of about 50 Goldfinches, our first Siskin this winter. We are east of Bracebridge on Hwy 118E 8km from Hwy 11.



Algonquin Park birds
Posted on February 19, 2003 at 05:17:42 PM by ron tozer

Cheryl Edgecombe reported the following sightings by a group of Hamilton birders on Sunday, February 16:

>Arrowhon Road (and the adjoining logging road which leads from it)
>Pine Siskin
>Pileated Woodpecker (calling)
>Black-backed Woodpecker - male within 20 feet
>Ruffed Grouse - 2 in tree overhanging road
>Downy Woodpecker
>Purple Finch
>White-winged Crossbill
>American Goldfinch
>Black-capped Chickadee
>Blue Jay
>Summer HQ Maintenance Building and Administration Feeder
>Evening Grosbeak
>Dark-eyed Junco
>Mew Lake Campground
>Gray Jay
>Visitor Centre
>Evening Grosbeak
>Hairy Woodpecker
>Gray Jay
>American Crow
>Opeongo Road
>Boreal Chickadee (2)
>Gray Jay
>Pileated Woodpecker



G. Jays and C-Bills
Posted on February 19, 2003 at 04:26:46 PM by Sandy Gage

Had a White-winged Crossbill drop in close to our feeders on Monday, Feb. 17, evidently to get at a cone knocked off a nearby tree. Great to get a good look at one without craning your neck.

A pair of Gray Jays continue to be regular visitors to our white suet here at the northern edge of the Huntsville boundry. Dan Strickland says they are retreating northward....will they be here next winter?



Re(1): Saw-whet Owl...Bracebridge
Posted on February 19, 2003 at 08:45:02 AM by Ron Stager

Our dog was carrying on a conversation with a Saw-whet Owl that was calling around 11:00 p.m. (Sunday, 16 Februrary). Our dog has been getting in the habit of barking around midnight for the last two weeks or so. In retrospect, maybe the owl has been calling then as well.



Saw-whet Owl...Bracebridge
Posted on February 17, 2003 at 04:45:21 PM by Al Sinclair

Bill and Janet Dickinson found a Saw-whet while skiing near Rainbow Pond west of Bracebridge. It was roosting in a Cedar Tree about eye level at 3:30 pm today Feb 17. Rainbow Pond on the cross country ski trail north of Nichol's Farm on Santa's Village Rd.



Re(1): Cardinal singing
Posted on February 21, 2003 at 10:20:04 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning in our back yard in Bracebridge there was a pair of cardinals singing a duet. The female had a shorter rendition of the male's song. The pair have been hanging around for six days now, after a very long absence. We used to see them quite frequently in December and early January but then they "disappeared".



Cardinal singing
Posted on February 15, 2003 at 11:14:16 PM by Dan Burton

In addition to Chickadees and Nuthatches singing Thursday was a male Cardinal; first I have heard singing a full song this year



Barred Owl
Posted on February 15, 2003 at 03:44:15 PM by Janice House

February 12th about 3 in the afternoon Moira had a barred owl sitting in a white birch near her bird feeder. Moira lives at the end of the Houston Rd. There is also a flock of snow buntings feeding at Diane Syvret's house on the Doe Lake Rd. Diane's yard is surrounded by the old Dinsmore property.



Finches and Lilacs
Posted on February 14, 2003 at 06:42:45 PM by Barbara Taylor

For the past few days, there has been a flock of at least twenty or so Purple Finch near the corner of Kevin Cres. and Glendale Rd. in Bracebridge. If you stand at the corner you can usually hear their songs and twittering quite clearly. They have visited our feeders on a regular basis, but we've also seen several in the lilac bushes eating the lilac seeds. Usually I prune off the old lilac flowers to encourage better blooms for next spring...but I'm glad I never got around to it this time. The finch really seem to like the seeds.



Tree Sparrows, Crossbills
Posted on February 12, 2003 at 08:49:23 PM by Brenda Clark

We have been deluged this winter with over twenty chickadees raining down on our feeder all day long, so I was pleased to see two tree sparrows yesterday made it in and fed for a while. I'm a little tardy in reporting that the white-winged crossbills were still hanging around the parking lot area of Bracebridge Resource Management Centre on Highway 11 last Saturday, and I heard our first evening grosbeaks in Port Sydney in the parking lot of the Bible Chapel on South Mary Lake Rd.



Northern Shrike
Posted on February 12, 2003 at 10:50:58 AM by mary willmott

I saw the Shrike perched atop the feeder, perhaps checking out another bird for a meal. That was late yesterday afternoon. The Wild Turkeys were feeding again this am at my neighbours feeder on Beaumaris road.



Re(1): wild turkeys
Posted on February 10, 2003 at 09:29:10 PM by Gerald

The Turkeys were back again this Monday morning at 8am, maybe they like the morning?

Forgive my misspelling of "turkeys"



wild turkeys
Posted on February 8, 2003 at 02:59:50 PM by Gerald Willmott

This morning, 7:30, there were two wild turkies at a feeder in Milford Bay.

Feeder directions:

118 West out of Bracebridge
turn at Beaumaris Rd. (15 min)
Proceed through the first 4-way stop.
Feeders on right hand side right away.

Note: the Turkies were not at our house.

Gerald Willmott
Beaumaris, On



Request for local information
Posted on February 7, 2003 at 07:48:52 PM by Bert Filemyr

Myself, and three other birders from the Philadelphia area, will be visiting the Algonquin, Huntsville, Bracebridge area next weekend. We are interested in learning of any current sightings of winter finches, owls, grosbeaks, or other specialties of your area. Also are there any feeder stations in the area that can be viewed by visitors? You can post a reply or e-mail me directly ( I thank you in advance for any local information you can provide us.



Re(2): blue jays eating paint
Posted on February 4, 2003 at 07:36:28 PM by Eleanor Kee Wellman

The blue jays around our place were eating paint flakes and I put out crushed egg shells. They ate them and stopped eating the paint.



Re(1): blue jays eating paint
Posted on February 4, 2003 at 04:36:29 PM by Barbara Taylor

This behaviour has been noted by others. Here's an excerpt from a Cornell Lab of Ornithology article.

"An investigation into paint ingredients found that limestone, a source of calcium, is often a key ingredient in paint. Scientists theorize that Blue Jays are eating paint chips for the calcium. Deborah Jasak and others found that offering eggshells, another good source of calcium, stopped the paint-chipping behavior."



crossbills, blue jays behaving strangely
Posted on February 4, 2003 at 11:06:59 AM by carlyle challis

Sunday, Feb. 2 around 2 p.m.
We saw and heard a flock of white winged crossbills about halfway down White Eagle Trail (what a name) which is near the end of the Purbrook Rd., which is part way down the Fraserburg Rd.

Also, the blue jays around our house are busy pecking and eating the paint off our house and garage.
Does anyone know why they are doing this? Can it harm them? Are they stupid or what?



Re(3): Where to buy beef fat ...I hit the jackpot!
Posted on February 9, 2003 at 07:43:40 AM by SYLVIA PURDON

The IGA at Gravenhurst: Jan. 29 @ $2.62 per kilogram, 1.310 kg. = $3.43



Re(2): Where to buy beef fat ...I hit the jackpot!
Posted on February 5, 2003 at 06:44:27 PM by Al Sinclair

I found the cooler at A&P Bracebridge full on Wednesday afternoon. Bought 5kg at $1.59/kg, about 8 bucks! Oh well the birds enjoy it. I think the clue is to look at mid-week, by the week-end it's all gone.



Re(2): Where to buy beef fat for bird feeding?
Posted on February 3, 2003 at 02:58:21 PM by Al Johnston

Try to get real beef suet (if they have
it) Al



Re(1): Where to buy beef fat for bird feeding?
Posted on February 2, 2003 at 02:00:37 PM by Barbara Taylor

We get ours at the A&P in Bracebridge. Sometimes it gets moved to a different meat cooler so hard to find, but they usually have some somewhere...may have to ask someone to get it from out back.



Where to buy beef fat for bird feeding?
Posted on February 2, 2003 at 01:50:16 PM by Al Sinclair

Does anyone know of a good source for beef fat for bird feeding in the Bracebridge area. When I hit the local supermarkets they are always sold out.



Red Tail Hawks
Posted on February 2, 2003 at 07:44:07 AM by Janice House

Saturday, February 1st between 3 and 4 p.m.. Moira and I went scouting at the Bracebridge Dump, (sounds so rude)and we saw the two hawks, lots of ravens and a huge flock of starlings.



Where are the birds...maps from Project Feeder Watch
Posted on February 1, 2003 at 02:52:04 PM by Al Sinclair

If you would like to see where all the birds are this winter go to this website where you can display maps of reports to Project Feeder Watch.  It is interesting that Evening Grosbeaks are almost all in western North America.



Saw-whet at Wood Lake
Posted on February 1, 2003 at 12:28:29 AM by Al Sinclair

A Saw-whet Owl was seen sitting outside a window at Art Merrick's on Wood Lake on the evening of Jan 26. Wood Lake is east of Bracebridge about 20 km just north of Hwy 118E. This location is 15 km south-east of the sighting on Hwy 117 Jan 15.



Robins in Gravenhurst...recent reports
Posted on February 1, 2003 at 12:18:54 AM by Al Sinclair

Jan 25 Wayne McGill, on Sarah St in Gravenhurst, reported seeing two robins eating berries on some Canadian holly which he had outside for Christmas decoration.
Jan 30 Kelly Clark reported 3 Robins eating Mountain Ash berries on Pinedale Rd at Bethune Dr in Gravenhurst. They were first seen there about 2 weeks ago.



Bohemian Waxwings
Posted on February 1, 2003 at 08:28:18 AM by bob burton

Yesterday, on returning from skiing and on the Wilson Falls rd., a flock of 11 Bohemian Waxwings georging on fruits of 2 small (nursery)Yew shrubs.When they lifted into the air my first thought was Snow Buntings but then they returned for a better look.



Brown Creeper
Posted on January 30, 2003 at 04:52:38 PM by Barbara Taylor

Saw a Brown Creeper nibbling on some suet today. Haven't seen one since mid-December and thought they had all moved further south.



Red-Breasted Nuthatch
Posted on January 28, 2003 at 05:28:30 PM by Barbara Taylor

A pair of Red-breasted Nuthatch have been checking out a birdhouse we put up last year. We didn't get it set up early enough for nesting last spring, but looks like there is hope this time around.

The "pair bonding" Blue Jays I mentioned in an earlier post now have another male trying to intercede. Lots more chasing through the trees today and loud squabbling.



White-winged Crossbills
Posted on January 28, 2003 at 02:58:20 PM by marlene lannan

2 White winged Crossbills seen in our feeder today Jan. 28 around 1 pm



Posted on January 27, 2003 at 03:35:57 PM by mary willmott

While at Arrowhead Park Sunday 26 I saw a pair of white winged crossbills. Heard the males mating call also the usual chickadees and nuthatches were about.



Posted on January 27, 2003 at 03:00:44 PM by Marlene Lannan

Jan.26 near kearney;hawk-most likely goshawk.



First Robin
Posted on January 26, 2003 at 07:53:19 PM by Dan Burton

The first Muskoka Robin of 2003 was on Lorne Street in Gravenhurst today; possibly the same individual here one month ago on Dec 26th



Bald Eagle
Posted on January 24, 2003 at 05:57:18 PM by Jon Grandfield

Today, at 2:00 pm, there was an adult Bald Eagle at the Kirrie Glen Golf Course on highway 118



Carolina Wren near Parry Sound...Photo
Posted on January 21, 2003 at 06:17:26 PM by Al Sinclair


Stan Fairchild sent this report of a Carolina Wren near Pary Sound. I talked to Susan Mortson today and received permission to post this photo. If you would like to see this bird please email me for more info.

The bird has been visiting the feeder of Doug and Susan Mortson since early December. It is eating peanut butter(from the Health food store) stuffed in a log. They took this photo about Jan.18. The bird comes sporadically throughout the day and then returns around 4:30 to 5:30 for a final feeding. The location is on Hwy 124 just past Bell Lake Rd. The feeder is in their back yard. The only good view is from in their house.



Re(1): Finch flock
Posted on January 21, 2003 at 04:22:12 PM by Barbara Taylor

Either a new flock has come along or the original large flock has broken into smaller groups...twelve Purple Finch today at our feeder, including 3 "rosy" males.



Finch flock on the move
Posted on January 18, 2003 at 11:29:53 AM by Barbara Taylor

At 11:15 a.m. there were about thirty Purple Finches (8 were colourful males) in our back yard in Bracebridge. They have just moved on, flying west towards Rockwell Ave. in the Meadow Heights area.

Two American Goldfinch seemed to be tagging along.



Saw-whet Owl east of included
Posted on January 17, 2003 at 09:10:45 PM by Al Sinclair


Ike Kelneck saw and photographed this Saw-whet Owl at his house on Hwy 117. He sent the following info:
We are exactly 10 km east of #11. The photo was taken about 7:45pm Jan 15 while he sat 10 feet from our living room sliding door - not afraid when I turned on the deck ligh or took flash fotos. What scared him away was our turning on the driveway light 20 yards further away behind him well before other people arrived.



Re(3): Purple Finch
Posted on January 18, 2003 at 05:37:38 PM by Ron Stager

Thanks for the research! I enjoyed following the link. The bird I saw had quite extensive buffiness on the sides and breast. Thanks again.



Re(2): Purple Finch
Posted on January 16, 2003 at 09:00:49 PM by Barbara Taylor

I've never seen any Purple Finch as you described, but I did find some info on the internet that would suggest the buffy colour is not that uncommon. But no mention of this in any of our field guides. Perhaps someone more familiar with finch plumages will add their comments, but it doesn't seem to be an indicator of age of the bird.

Here's a photo of an interesting coloured bird which the photographer identifies as a female Purple Finch.

Here's an excerpt about plumages taken from the Purple Finch chapter in Life Histories of Familiar North American Birds.

Charles L. Whittle (1928) and Helen G. Whittle (1928) have noted such abnormal coloring in banded purple finches. The former writes: "Buffiness and bright yellow olive are common on the upper parts of many birds of this race, the latter usually appearing of greatest intensity on the rump of old females, and the former usually regularly placed on the sides of or including the breast of both young and old birds, especially noticeable on old birds in fresh postnuptial plumage, when they can hardly be distinguished from juvenile birds. Such buffy color is also not infrequently irregularly placed on the breast, one example being a well-marked band nearly one-half inch wide crossing it diagonally."



Re(1): Purple Finch
Posted on January 15, 2003 at 03:06:08 PM by Ron Stager

There was a female Purple Finch in our woods at noon. It was hanging out with a small group of goldfinches. The Purple Finch had a buffy-yellowish tinge between the streaks near the wing. I have not noticed this colouring before. Is this a first-year female?

Also in the woods: White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees and a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers.



Purple Finch
Posted on January 14, 2003 at 11:17:48 AM by Barbara Taylor

Three female Purple Finch were at our feeder this morning. We haven't seen many finches around this winter so they were a nice surprise.



Pileated Woodpecker
Posted on January 12, 2003 at 09:17:31 PM by Ted Smith

Hi folks:

I observed an interesting squable yesterday (Saturday, Jan. 11th) between a pileated woodpecker and a red-squirrel. As I was sitting watching the blue-jays at my feeder a pileated woodpecker landed on a tree approximately 40' away and started hammering away. After about 10 minutes, up the tree ran a red-squirrel and chased the woodpecker away briefly. As the squirrel checked out the newly dug hole in his tree the woodpecker dive bombed the rodent in an attempt to scare him away. I didn't work, but eventually he left on his own. Not a minute later and the woodpecker returned to the tree and resumed its smacking . Three minutes later the squirrel came running up the tree and again, the woodpecker left. The bird landed in a tree a few meters away and watched as the squirrel investigated the hole. Eventually the woodpecker left and I heard it smacking at another tree in the distance.
Thought you folks might find this entertaining. This happened off Hwy. 118 East near Uffington.

Take care,



Re(1): Northern Shrike
Posted on January 18, 2003 at 07:51:34 AM by Nancy Thompson

We had a Northern Shrike at 1115 Rosseau Lake Road on Jan. 15. It was perched on our clothesline for several minutes before flying off.



Northern Shrike
Posted on January 12, 2003 at 05:54:47 PM by Bob Healey

While searching the Bardsville area for owls, I saw a Northern Shrike perched on a tree behind #1825 on the Falkenburg Rd. The bird flew toward the feeder behind this home and disappeared from view.



Pine Grosbeaks
Posted on January 12, 2003 at 04:51:53 PM by Janice House

Moira and I were on the Wilson's Falls Walking trail today about l p.m. and watched 4 pine grosbeaks in the top of a hemlock tree. They didn't stay long before they flew back towards the falls.



Re(1): red-bellied woodpecker - Photo
Posted on January 12, 2003 at 01:17:14 PM by Barbara Taylor


Edie has just sent me this photo of the red-bellied woodpecker, taken this morning at their feeder.

Photo courtesy of Ted Krug.



Re(2): red-bellied woodpecker
Posted on January 12, 2003 at 12:12:21 AM by Edie Outram-Verite

We have just had a local bird photographer, Ted Krug, come visit, he took photos and confirmed that it is indeed a female red-bellied woodpecker.



Re(1): red-bellied woodpecker
Posted on January 12, 2003 at 11:42:41 AM by Al Sinclair

You should call Stan Fairchild or Jim Gardner. They are listed in the phone directory under McKellar. They likely will want to come and see it as this bird is rare in the region. It is not unexpected however, as there was one in South River and one in Gravenhurst last winter. You should try to get a photo or video to confirm the record. Even a distant photo with normal lense can usually confirm the ID.



red-bellied woodpecker
Posted on January 11, 2003 at 06:17:22 PM by Edie Outram-Verite

Over the past week or so we believe that we have seen a red-bellied woodpecker at our feeder in the Parry Sound area. It comes at different times fo the day but most oftem we have seen in it in the am. Perhaps that's because the feeder is outside our dinning room window and we see it at meal times. We have heard it call as well. Can anyone in the area help us to identify positivly.



ww crossbills
Posted on January 11, 2003 at 05:39:16 PM by Gerald Willmott

Hi, all. It was a gorgeous Saturday, heaps of snow and cold temperatures.

There were about 4-5 White-Winged Crossbills at the Bracebridge Resource Management ski trails.



Blue Jays think it's spring
Posted on January 11, 2003 at 03:01:33 PM by Barbara Taylor

For several days last week there were three Blue Jays chasing each other around the neighbourhood and being very vocal about it. Looked like the birds thought it was spring. There was a lot of bobbing up and down accompanied by loud tootle-tootle calls, etc. Well, the female bird seems to have finally decided on a winner. There is no longer any noisy chasing through the trees and she is being fed tasty suet morsels courtesy of her chosen mate.

Isn't it a little early in the year for this type of courtship behaviour?



White-winged Crossbills
Posted on January 11, 2003 at 02:30:15 PM by Barbara Taylor

Earlier today, there were some White-winged Crossbills near west end of Meadow Heights Dr., Bracebridge.



Re(1): Cedar Waxwings
Posted on January 12, 2003 at 09:40:36 AM by Barbara Taylor

This morning there were about twenty Cedar Waxwings in the Kevin Cres./Glendale Rd. area of Bracebridge. I don't know if this is the same flock we saw on Dec. 26 but almost every morning since then, the waxwings have been seen or heard nearby.



Cedar Waxwings
Posted on January 10, 2003 at 02:40:10 PM by Brenda Clark

There is a huge flock sitting atop a neighbour's tree here behind the Muskoka Store south of Gravenhurst. I hoped they were Bohemians...but they sure were not.

I also saw 6 white-winged crossbills at the Bracebridge Management Centre parking lot on Tuesday (the 7th).



Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird Count...complete report
Posted on January 7, 2003 at 06:07:28 PM by Al Sinclair

Click on this link for a detailed report on the 2002 Christmas Bird Count

Christmas Bird Count Report

There are links near the end of the report to the complete species list for 2002 and a table the last 10 years data.



Algonquin Park CBC
Posted on January 5, 2003 at 03:44:17 PM by Ron Tozer

*This report originated on ONTBIRDS (Jan. 5, 2003) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

The 29th annual Algonquin Provincial Park Christmas Bird Count was held on
Saturday, January 4, with good weather condtions. Sixty-one observers
recorded 33 species (average: 28), just one below our highest total species
(34 in 1979 and 1991). There were 8,419 individuals observed (average:

New Species For Count (bringing the cumulative total to 56 species):
-Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1

Record High Counts of Individuals (with previous high in brackets):
-Rock Dove: 14 (12) (resident in the MTO sand dome near the East Gate)
-Black-backed Woodpecker: 23 (19)
-Blue Jay: 561 (466)
-Black-capped Chickadee: 2,108 (2,047)
-Golden-crowned Kinglet: 243 (226)
-American Goldfinch: 932 (784)

-Northern Saw-whet Owl: 1 (being mobbed by chickadees in Costello Creek bog)
-Three-toed Woopecker: 2 (1 at Bat Lake {not found today}, and 1 in Costello
Creek bog)
-American Crow: 2 (1 at Visitor Centre, and I at Rock Lake Campground)
-American Robin: 1 (along Madawaska River on north side of Two Rivers
Airfield, apparently surviving on Winterberry Holly)
-White-throated Sparrow: 1 (at Wildlife Station feeder since December 3)

-Purple Finch: 959
-Red Crossbill: 12
-White-winged Crossbill: 2,060
-Pine Siskin: 47
-American Goldfinch: 932
-Evening Grosbeak: 96
There were no sightings of Pine Grosbeak or redpolls.

Count Week Species (to date):
-Bald Eagle

Algonquin Provincial Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400
and 11 to Huntsville, and then east on Highway 60. Get a tabloid at the gate
when you purchase your permit. The tabloid has a map for locating sites
mentioned above. Kilometre signs along Highway 60 in Algonquin Park go from
km 0 at the West Gate to km 56 at the East Gate.

Ron Tozer, Compiler
Dwight, Ont.



Bald Eagle
Posted on January 5, 2003 at 01:03:53 PM by Virginia Pray

This morning a Bald Eagle flew up river towards the locks in Port Carling.A crow was chasing it. My neighbor had spotted it last week but was unsure of what is was. Now we know there is one in the area.Also have American Tree Sparrows at our feeder as well as the usual winter feeders. 25 or so Common Golden Eye and a pair of Mallards on the river.



Re(1): another robin
Posted on January 5, 2003 at 02:50:48 PM by Barbara Taylor

I've seen robins eating small crabapples. If the crabapples are quite large you could try smashing some up and put a few pieces on a platform type feeder. I've seen robins come to a platform feeder for strawberries and raspberries...but at this time of year that's mighty expensive birdfood! Maybe you could just "borrow" some mountain ash berries from a neighbour's tree.



another robin
Posted on January 5, 2003 at 12:15:23 AM by Challis-Carlyle

Sunday, Jan. 5
Noon, I was putting some mixed seed out on the ground for our resident mourning doves (about 6 of them) when to my surprise, a robin appeared in our cedar hedge. I put out some raisins for it but have not seen it feeding.
We have a very large crabapple tree (what variety it is we do no know) laden with crabapples.
Will the robin eat these? Anyone have suggestions for other food to put out?



White-winged Crossbills...still seeing them east of Hwy 11
Posted on January 4, 2003 at 02:13:14 PM by Al Sinclair

We are still occasionally seeing White-winged Crossbills here east of Hwy 11 on Hwy 118E. Today a small flock went over and I heard one singing indicating they are in the mood to start nesting. Until now I have just heard call notes when they go over. If anyone wants to look for some I would try Peterson Rd between Germania Rd and Hawn Rd. Go out Hwy 118E to Germania Rd and go south to Peterson Rd then east to Hawn Rd and north back to 118. Stop and listen frequently.



Posted on January 1, 2003 at 09:32:53 PM by Challis-Carlyle

Today, about 1 p.m., on the Wyldwood Road (Bracebridge west end) just by Meredith Coates' place, we first heard then saw a robin.
It was doing the call we associate with alarms in summer -- maybe under the circumstances it was proclaiming "it's damned cold!"



2002 highlights
Posted on January 1, 2003 at 09:25:35 AM by Barbara Taylor

The 2002 year began with a rare sighting for Muskoka, a Varied Thrush. There were many more great bird sightings as the year unfolded. Some of the highlights were a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed and Black-backed Woodpeckers, Least Bitterns, Sedge Wrens, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, Carolina Wrens, Wild Turkeys, Golden-winged Warblers, Bald Eagles, Trumpeter and Tundra Swans, Surf Scoters, and Sandhill Cranes.

In September the Bird Board expanded its horizons to include reports of other nature sightings. There have been moths, otters, an ermine, and hognose snakes, just to mention a few. The complete set of postings for 2002 can be accessed via the Archived Reports index. Thanks for all your reports.

To all those new to the Bird Board, a warm welcome. Hope to read about some of your Muskoka area nature sightings soon.

Happy New Year,