Spring bird migration is one of the most exciting and unpredictable events of the year, especially at a migration hot-spot like Presqu’ile Provincial Park. This was meant to be Shrew’s first year of spring birding field trips at Presqu’ile, but due to COVID-19, we’ll unfortunately have to wait until 2021. On the bright side, the birds will pass through as usual, and even though you can’t visit provincial parks to see them, there is still a way to get swept up in the thrill of spring migration.
The Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO) have just launched a Birding at Home Challenge. Like so much else during this bizarre time, it has come together very quickly thanks to a small, dedicated team of innovators. The challenge is free to join and is open to anyone. All you have to do is keep track of the birds in your yard and report your findings via eBird checklists.
At the end of each week, OFO will randomly draw names from eBird checklists submitted over the preceding week; those selected will be awarded prizes. Grand prizes will also be awarded on World Migratory Bird Day (May 9th) as well as the last day of the challenge (May 31st). For more information and to register, visit http://ofo.ca/birdingathome/content/birding-at-home-overview.
How Shrew can help during the challenge
Birds could land just about anywhere during migration, especially in inclement weather, but they won’t stick around for very long unless there’s adequate food and cover. In particular, it has been shown that native species of plants typically attract significantly more insects — both in diversity and in sheer numbers — than non-native plants. As migrating birds are primarily seeking protein-rich insects for food, they are thus much more likely to stay in backyards or gardens dominated by native greenery.
Knowing which plants to choose and how best to arrange them can be tricky, but that’s where we can lend our expertise. One of our core services is assisting landowners with maximizing the ecological value of their properties. We can start by conducting an initial assessment, including a biological inventory of present species, before drafting a detailed list of recommendations.
Making your yard a safe, food-rich bird haven will not only provide you with more opportunities to view many different species; it can actually make a difference in the lives of both migrating birds and local breeding birds. Contact us for more details.