Birding and more...Newsletter
2010 / Issue 8


In Southern Ontario, the Spring migration of warblers begins in the latter part of April and peaks around the second week of May - celebrated in these parts by the Prince Edward County Birding Festival.

Warblers are beautiful, charming, vocal little birds, that are a joy to see. They are also very active and elusive. When it comes to bird photography, there's nothing I love more than the challenge of trying to capture them!
So what is a "warbler"? Well, Wikipedia describes them as "...perching birds [that] are not particularly closely related, but share some characteristics, such as being fairly small, vocal and insectivorous."

encompasses a fairly large number of little birds including New World Warblers, Old World Warblers, Australian Warblers, etc.
For the purposes of this article (which deals with
warblers in Southern Ontario) I will stick to Family Parulidae, or New World Warblers. Around here, most of these are from the Genus Dendroica, which includes the three warblers pictured on this page. All in all (if you include the Ovenbird) there are about 32 different warblers that you could see at Prince Edward Point .

Personally I couldn't wait, so I went hunting for warblers yesterday at 'The Point'.
It was great - except I forgot to take spare batteries for my camera - which shortened my day to about 2 hours - but it was a great two hours.
You can read all about it in my latest blog
post entitled "Birding May Day".

Take it from me, there's nothing like going out into the woods and being surrounded by the sounds of warblers, and being filled with the anticipation of catching a glimpse of one of these beautiful little birds. So if you're living in the Belleville area, I recommend you get out to Prince Edward Point next weekend. If you're not in the Belleville area, there are lots of other great birding locations for spotting the Spring warblers, like Long Point, Point Pelee, Presqu'ile Provincial Park, to mention a few - in fact the warblers will be everywhere. So if you have a wildlife conservation area near you, do yourself a favour and go take a look for some of these great little birds as they pass through your region.
Here's a checklist of the warblers you could see

American Redstart

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Palm Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Pine Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Connecticut Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Kentucky Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Mourning Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Canada Warbler

Northern Parula

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler


Cerulean Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler



Great Egret
taken by Steve Shelasky

This beautiful backlit photo
was taken at Eagles Lake in Naples, Florida at sunrise during the winter of 2010. It wasn't until Steve uploaded the image to his computer that he noticed the shadow of the Egret's head on the near wing!


Female Tree Swallow
taken by Barry Kant

Captured through the livingroom window, this gorgeous swallow was perched on the frame of the deck cover, and looking directly at Barry as he took the shot. Barry concluded this particular swallow was a 'female' based on how much time it spent in its birdhouse nest.

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A bird's feathers weigh more than its skeleton!

What's New this week at

New posts added to the Birding and more blog:

A Bird Feeding Chart has been added to the website.

(Birds that have been renamed in recent years)

Old name                     New name
Rock Dove----------------Rock Pigeon
Oldsquaw----------------Long-tailed Duck
Northern Oriole----------Baltimore Oriole
Whistling Swan----------Tundra Swan

The beginning of May is also the beginning of the return of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds! Any day now they will start to reach our area and begin scouring the region for food sources. Hummingbirds expend a tremendous amount of energy in flight. It's not easy flapping your wings at 80 times per second! So they need lots of high energy food - usually nectar or sugar water. They will search for this food everywhere, so get your hummingbird bird feeders out of storage - clean them thoroughly, and fill them with a sugar-water solution of 4 parts boiled water to one part sugar. If you don't already have a feeder and you'd like to attract some of these amazing little visitors, here are some suggestions. Buy a feeder with perches. As I mentioned,  hummingbirds expend a lot of energy in flight, so give them a break when they visit your garden and provide a place for them to sit while they eat. Also, I recommend the bowl style feeder. It is easy to clean, has a built-in ant moat, and it won't drip like the gravity feed kind. This will help to keep the wasps from finding the feeder and targeting it as their own food supply. It can also take some time for the hummingbirds to find your feeder, so don't wait for it to be emptied before you replenish the sugar-water. You should clean and refill your feeder every four days, or so. Fresh food will keep the birds safe and keep them coming back.

May is just beginning but our garden is about a month ahead of last year (or at least two or three weeks) and I love walking around the yard searching for those favourite perennials I hope to see again. I much prefer perennials over annuals – for the most part, once they're planted they'll keep growing year after year with minimal maintenance.

We planted periwinkle throughout the garden that first Spring and I have to say I'm a little disappointed. It isn't spreading and covering the bare areas
like I had envisioned but maybe I left too much ground for the few plants to take care of. I also think our soil simply isn't good enough and maybe we need to be adding compost. Anyway, I'll plant a few more this year and see if they take. Meanwhile, the Hosta I planted last year at the base of the neighbour's hedge (12 bare root plants from those bargain multi-packs) are all coming up so I'm very pleased. The three Hostas that a friend of ours gave us from her garden the first year, planted next to the fence, are doing very well. We planted eight different varieties of daylilies across the back and all of the plants are looking quite luxuriant and healthy. This is their second summer so we're looking forward to some beautiful flowers if they get enough sun.

We also have a number of other perennials scattered throughout the garden. We have several yuccas
(one actually flowered last year!), violets, columbine, turtlehead, wild geranium, catmint, astilbe, bleeding heart, coral bells, purple coneflowers, black-eyed susans, bee balm, daisies, ferns, solomon's seal, meadow rue, spiderwort, lungwort, blazing star, rayflower, red hot poker, money plant, as well as a couple of virginia creeper vines and a honeysuckle vine climbing up chicken wire attached to the fence. The coneflowers and bee balm are of particular interest to the birds for their seed so we've made a point of planting those in several different locations. Many of our plants are more like wildflowers than “domesticated” and we love the natural look to our garden. Based on the number of birds that take advantage of the shrubs, plants and feeders we think they love it too!

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    Copyright © 2010 Garry Kirsch                                                          

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