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Birding in Toronto

Saturday I went to the Spring Bird Festival at Tommy Thompson Park.

I almost didn't make it on time: I couldn't catch a train earlier than 7:28 am, and I had trouble with the TTC day pass... and after hauling my bike on the train, on the subway, and on a streetcar...I had to pedal furiously to the park to make it. Just as my scheduled group was disappearing around a bend in the trail I arrived. Lucky me! I had to run and catch up, but I had a great walk. It's so nice to learn from an experienced naturalist.

Here are some of the booths, and a few shots (one above) from the banding station:

The birds shown are: male Baltimore Orioles, a Yellow Warbler, and a male Cedar Waxwing. The volunteers show how they handle the captures, from holding them for banding and for photography, to weighing, etc.

There were also birds from a Guelph rescue operation. Meet Einstein the Great Horned owl (a female imprinted by a farmer), Apollo the American Kestrel, Socrates the one-winged Turkey Vulture who prefers petite blonde women (he's nearly thirty years old?), and the very young and nervous Chinook, the female Peregrine Falcon from Alberta.

I had a great time, and spent several hours at the park. It was definitely worth bringing a bike as the park is quite large.

Here are the birds I saw:

Long-Tailed (Oldsquaw) Ducks
Mallard Ducks
Red-Winged Blackbirds
Common Terns
Caspian Tern
Ring-Billed Gulls
Song Sparrow
Chimney Swifts
White-Throated Sparrow
Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks
Yellow-Rumped ("Myrtle") Warbler
Yellow Warbler
American Goldfinch
Grey Catbird
Black-Throated Green Warbler
Baltimore Orioles
Eastern Kingbirds
Barn Swallows
Tree Swallows
Brown-Headed Cowbirds
Double-Breasted Cormorants
Great Blue Heron
European Starlings
House Sparrow
Mute Swans

And I believe I saw a female Merlin being harassed by some Red-Winged Blackbirds as I was leaving the park. 28 Species in one day. Not bad.

Here are two of the nesting areas: Terns, then Cormorants:

The Cormorants, in their sheer numbers, noise, and the way they destroy their nesting habitat, are kind of scary. They remind me of the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.

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