Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2017 - Page 43

hardly know where to start, but I want to give a few highlights of birds that we could capture this year at the marsh.

We were able to band our very first indigo bunting, a bird that is more common in the south, and our very first Connecticut warbler, a bird that is more common in the west, as is the yellow headed blackbird that we banded. I was excited to hear today that a female violet green swallow has shown up at a birdhouse outside of the marina in Thunder Bay and is trying to breed with a male tree swallow. This is an exceptional sighting and it is yet another western bird that has been discovered in northern Ontario; strong westerly winds were kind to birders in the north. It is worth noting that the word about the violet green swallow caused birders across Ontario and beyond to flock to Thunder Bay hoping to see the bird.

My biggest tip for new birders is to try and share your experiences and to get a photo of what you see so it can be validated. You never know when something rare is going to find its way to your feeder or nearby perch. The ability to get a photo and document what you have seen is a rewarding aspect of bird watching. In this era of cameras on phones and wonderful, relatively inexpensive digital cameras, catching an image and passing it along is often a few clicks away. It is also getting easier to find and connect with birders across the north. If you do not know of any, please get in touch with me and I will happily help you with an identification of your photo or try and connect you to someone in your area. It does not have to be a rare bird. Chances are, if you do not know what it is then it is rare to you, and that is the only way you can learn. I envy people that are learning their birds as there are so many discoveries waiting down any trail or up any tree.

My number one tip is to share what you discover and enjoy what you are seeing. Who knows, it may be something incredibly rare and could cause a stir in the birding world. A friend always tells me that birds do not read the bird guides and you never know what the wind may blow into your yard.

That is all the room I have for this time. Hopefully this column will be welcomed by some. Your feedback will help shape this column, so let me know how I did and what you might like to learn, and please send your photo’s questions and ideas to birdboy@eastlink.ca . You can also check out www.thehilliardtonmarsh.com and hopefully I can meet you at the marsh someday.

Bird is the word.