Courtship Behavior of the Orchard Oriole: A photo essay

Male Orchard Oriole--Featured Image.

On a hike through Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto near the end of May, I noticed a bird sitting in a tree. It was small in size and yellow in color: a female Orchard Oriole. She sat on an exposed perch with a long piece of grass in her mouth. Was she collecting nesting material? … Read more

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The Wonder of Owls

    I’ve been observing birds around Toronto for about fifteen years now (I started late), and over that time I’ve often had cause to wonder about owls. Mainly, I wonder what lies at the root of their effortless ability to fascinate me. I know of no other group of birds so capable of transfixing … Read more

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Summer Birds, 2

Black-crowned Night Heron

A few weeks ago, I spent an hour at the Black-crowned Night Heron colony on the Leslie Street Spit, watching the birds build their nests. The males were in their mating finery, which means bright plumage—cream-colored below, grey and slate-blue above—and two long, thin plumes that stick out of the head and arch over the … Read more

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Spring migration

Well, there went May in its hurried fashion: the height of spring migration and the busiest month in the garden allotment. Here are highlights from that first field of activity. Those from the garden will come later. I keep a list each year—part of a friendly rivalry with a fellow-birder—of the spring warblers I see. … Read more

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The Saw-Whet Owl

Saw-Whet Owl Leslie Spit Toronto

I was walking the Leslie Street Spit last December with binoculars in hand but no camera, when I found a Saw-whet Owl sitting in a spruce. The bird surprised me for two reasons. First, its size. All Saw-whets are tiny—on average, about eight inches tall—but this was the smallest, most fragile specimen I’d ever seen. … Read more

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