Thursday, April 27, 2017

GLASS AND BIRD COLLISIONS

With migration in full swing now, there is always concern for birds colliding with glass windows.  When birds approach glass, it is important to remember that the reflection they see is a reflection of their habitat and no danger is perceived.

If a bird hits your window, investigate immediately and follow the advice offered by  FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program) on their website .....


Our local wildlife rehabilitation facility is The Toronto Wildlife Centre - phone # 416 631 0662 - located in Downsview Park.  It is essential the you phone the hotline number before bringing any injured bird.
 


The City of Toronto now has bird-friendly design guidelines in place for glass in new developments.
 

USING BIRD CALL RECORDINGS - SOME THOUGHTS

Using electronic devices that project bird calls to bring birds in closer is a controversial subject in the birding and wildlife photography world.  Birding "authorities" generally advise extreme caution when considering this practice.  Though not illegal, there are occasions when "harassment of wildlife" charges could be laid.  A Google search quickly reveals the complexity of this issue.


A local birder and photographer sent FOSS a personal reflection on this matter .....

Simply stated, playing bird calls to lure a bird for the purposes of photography or for a check on a birding list is, in my opinion, wrong. Recordings that are used for true scientific purposes are one thing. Those used for stroking personal egos are another!

As an example: in spring, there is great competition in the "listing" world to check off warbler species. These little 1/2 ounce (or less) birds have already suffered a great deal of stress completing their long journey from the tropics. They must contend with habitat loss,
pesticides, predators, weather, night light, tall buildings and much more.  In a very short time window, after their arrival, they must find/protect a territory, attract a mate, protect that mate, build a nest, protect the nest, feed their young, etc.etc. On top of all that,  they have intrusions by birders/photographers playing recordings. The sound of the recording is interpreted as a rival in their territory and this forces them to expend even more energy in defending against an unseen threat!
Their energy reserves are already "paper thin". The energy wasted in defending against such threats could better be used to complete the nesting cycle and to insure a safe trip back south.
I personally believe that I am a guest in their world and should respect their boundaries. If I don't get a photo, so be it! 
Concerned Naturalist

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

WARBLER IDENTIFICATION

Here's a quick way to identify those colourful and musical wonders that are now starting to pass through Sam Smith Park on their way to the northern boreal forests to breed.  The Dogwood Thickets to the east of the Sports Field and the areas along North Creek on the west side, as well as the large and small bowls south of Cumberland House, are good places to start.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

TORONTO BIRD CELEBRATION - MAY 14 TO 28

... from May 14-28 to celebrate Toronto’s amazing birdlife!
Events will be happening all across the city, hosted by many of Toronto’s conservation organizations and community groups. Events and activities are open to all.

Check out this page for Toronto birding resources ...

From Toronto's free biodiversity booklet series (available online) ..

 

Monday, April 24, 2017

THIS YEAR'S CLEAN-UP - PARK IS NOW 'SPOTLESS"!


Volunteers turned out in droves yesterday to attend Alan Roy's annual Sam Smith Park spring cleaning.  Alan has been doing this now for 25 years.  Congratulations and many thanks, Alan.

There were 195 signed-in volunteers (plus many others who did not sign in), 109 bags of garbage collected and over 1100 pounds of garbage weighed.  

The "best find" award this year went to Jeremy Pearson whose back breaking labour enabled him to single handedly recover a three feet diameter, steel culvert cap.

The "furthest traveler" award went to Hanje Chen who came in from Fuzhou, China and runners-up were Jeff Good from Ajax and Vince D'Ellia and his son Ravi from Heart Lake.

The "most persistent award" went to Errol? who spent six hours wading with a pool skimmer to collect micro plastics in the marina - an incredible effort considering he endured biting ants for a good portion of that time!).

Thanks again to everyone.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

SATURDAY, APRIL 22ND - "BEES" WORKSHOP AT HUMBER COLLEGE WELCOME CENTRE

TO REGISTER, CLICK HERE.


SATURDAY, APRIL 29TH: MARIE CURTIS PARK SPRING CLEAN-UP


Please join us on Saturday, April 29th between 10 am - 12 pm for our annual spring cleanup blitz. Help us get rid of plastic bags, bottles, cans and other litter along the trail. Working together, we can make a huge impact! We will meet on the west side of the creek in the large parking lot next to Lake Ontario.  

Click here for more information.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

INTERESTED IN BIRDING? WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET STARTED?


It seems as though interest in birding is growing every year and, with the spring birding season now underway, lots of people would like to start on this fascinating and often lifelong hobby but are not sure exactly what equipment is needed.  

Basically speaking, all that is required is a usable pair of binoculars and a good field guide. 

The people at The Audubon Society have posted a guide to buying binoculars that provides a good overview of things to consider before purchasing as well as a shopping guide that covers options for every budget.

There are many field guides available that cover birds in our region.  Probably the best printed guides are the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America and The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North AmericaThey are easy to find at most books stores or from Amazon

Many birders are now using smartphone apps, one of the best and easiest to use being Ibirds Pro North America available for Android and IPhone. (Incidentally, both of the printed field guides referenced above are now available as apps).

A good mid-range pair of binoculars that is being talked about these days is the Athlon Midas 8 X 42There are a number of favourable online reviews that emphasize their excellent value for money.  A few FOSS members have recently purchased them and are pleased with their performance.  They are available from Amazon Canada and are definitely worth checking out.

Happy Birding! 

HELP NEEDED FOR SPRING BIRD FESTIVAL




We are once again looking for volunteers to help with our Spring Bird Festival at Colonel Samuel Smith Park on Sat., May 27.

Possible volunteer jobs include:
- 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.- putting out directional signs in the park; setting up tables/chairs for display areas; helping people bring their display materials into the festival area
- 2:00 - 2:45 p.m.- collecting directional signs; taking down tables/chairs and bringing them to vans

Many hands make light work!  Please consider volunteering- this year's festival will be bigger and better than ever!


Please contact Barbara Keaveney at  Barbara.keaveney@sympatico.ca if you are able to help.
Thanks!