It’s a bird, it’s a plane…no wait…it’s a MIGRATORY bird!
Happy Migratory Bird Day everyone!!
It’s finally starting to feel like spring! For many this means spring cleaning, getting bikes out from storage and yard work…but for me it means the migratory birds are back!! This year’s theme is all about “stopover sites”, which are the areas that migratory birds use year after year as a sort of “rest stop” on their long journeys. Stopover sites are rich in food like water plants, fish and invertebrates, and strategically located on a bird’s journey. I reached out to Chris Blomme, the resident bird expert at Laurentian University to answer some questions I had about which birds might we expect to see around Sudbury as they migrate to their summer homes.
Sudbury is home to 330 lakes and as such we definitely attract a lot of waterfowl while on their migration journey. Chris says that Kelly and Robinson Lake are “Meccas” for birds like Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Common and Hooded Merganser. Below is a picture of a Redhead that Chris took on the morning of May 9th:
In the early mornings you may be able to hear the calls and songs of the newcomers, which Chris says are usually taking part in some courtship displays. These birds may only be around for a day to several weeks depending on the weather and how long it takes for the birds to “re-fuel” for the rest of their journey. So depending on the day, there could be a whole new community of birds living among us.
Personally, I get really excited when the Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins come home to us from their wintering ground in the Southern United States, but birds like Ring-necked Ducks are coming from Mexico or the Caribbean and still traveling further north to the Northwest Territories! It’s just so unbelievable!
So what’s the point of Migratory bird day you ask….besides celebrating the amazing achievements of these birds? Conservation, of course!! The thing is that many of the wetlands and lakes these birds stopover at, are at risk. Pollution, habitat destruction and urbanization are all factors that can disrupt and stress migratory birds. It’s really important to never approach, scare or chase our bird visitors. We want to ensure their habitat is safe and welcoming so they stop year after year enriching our biodiversity and lives.
If you want to make your backyard a haven for smaller migratory birds like Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers and many different species of sparrows, who commonly pass through Sudbury. here is a neat fact sheet!
Ducks Unlimited Canada also has some awesome information about the waterfowl that commonly migrates back to Canada every spring and might be stopping over near you! Check out their website here!
If you’d like to learn more about Migratory Bird Day, check out their website by clicking here! Also in case you’d like to mark your calendar, this special day devoted to the long distance flyers of the bird world happens every second Saturday in May (in US and Canada).