Notes From Junior Naturalists Event On May 11th

Great to share Toronto’s Birding Festival at the Leslie St. Spit with all the Juniors’ families that were able to make it out!! We had perfect weather and a lovely birding walk. Wild Ontario brought in the American Kestril, Great Horned Owl, Rough-legged Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk, for us to view–and pet?! On our hike we observed Song sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Yellow warblers, a Palm Warbler, a Common Yellowthroat, American Goldfinches, Starlings, Crows, American Robins, a large flock of Bue Jays. At the Nature Center we observed Cliff(not Cave) swallows building their nests, and Barn Swallows, with their long forked tails, building on the other side of the paved road. On the water at the Unwin Viewing station, there was a tardy pair of Long-tailed ducks in breeding plumage that had not yet left for the Boreal forest! At the the very end of our hike, a Baltimore Oriole landed in a tree close to the displays. Wow!!

A couple of points: We were pondering why it is the American Goldfinches appeared to be doing territory displays, but delay nest-building till later in July. Apparently, they depend on the ripe seeds of thistles to feed their young. They also use/depend on the thistle down as insulation for their nests(Cornell Lab of Ornithology ‘Handbook of Bird Biology’). They can also over-winter here, which probably takes off the pressure!

The beautiful red catkins hanging everywhere against the blue sky are the male ‘flowers’ of Eastern Cottonwood trees. All of the catkins on one tree are male flowers and the green female flowers are on a different tree. I noticed often two trees close by each other–one with thin greenish catkins and one with the thick bright red catkins.

Keep on learning with the following:

The Toronto Field Naturalists wish to acknowledge this land through which we walk. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississauga of the Credit River. Today it is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be on this land.