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Algonquin Park Birding Report

Hooded Mergansers in Algonquin Park

Algonquin Park Birding Reports provide visitors with species observed in recent days within Algonquin Park. Reports are compiled by Ron Tozer. We would greatly appreciate your Algonquin Park bird sightings. Please contact us with your recent sightings.

More About the Birds of Algonquin Park

Birds of Algonquin ParkBirds of Algonquin Park authored by retired Algonquin Park Naturalist Ron Tozer presents detailed accounts of all 278 birds known to have occurred in Algonquin Park. The book includes information on migration timing, nesting habits and behaviour of the 144 breeding species, winter occurrence, historical records and population trends. The influence of climate warming on the arrival and departure time of migrants, and the declining numbers of many species are discussed. This 480-page masterpiece filled with illustrations and images is available for purchase online or at any of The Friends of Algonquin Park stores.


May 31, 2018

Most species seen this week were summer residents, with only a few late migrants still being reported. Our weekly birding updates will start again in the fall. Thanks to everyone for your observations and support.

Spruce Grouse are harder to find now. Try Spruce Bog Boardwalk. Three Black-backed Woodpecker males and a female were noted along the rail bed section of Mizzy Lake Trail on May 26. Canada Jay is most reliably found along the northern part of Opeongo Road and along the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed, but they are inconspicuous now that the young are fledged. One or two Boreal Chickadees were found regularly this week at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed.

Yellow-bellied Flycatchers and Olive-sided Flycatchers were seen and heard along Spruce Bog Boardwalk, the Mizzy Lake Trail rail bed and the Black Spruce section of Opeongo Road.

A couple of Evening Grosbeaks were reported at the Visitor Centre. A few Red Crossbills and White-winged Crossbills are still being observed. Pine Siskins are regular in very low numbers.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


May 24, 2018

Very few arrivals to report from Algonquin Park this week as we near the end of May. Three new species of warblers for this spring in the Park were recorded: Canada Warbler (May 18), Wilson’s Warbler (May 22), and an Orange-crowned Warbler (May 20). Lincoln’s Sparrow arrived about a week later than average (May 20) and lastly, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was reported May 19.

Algonquin Park’s boreal species were also observed over the last week, including:

  • Spruce Grouse: A few were reported from the Spruce Bog Trail May 20-22. A female was seen on the Mizzy Lake Trail on May 23.
  • Black-backed Woodpecker: A pair was seen (May 20) by the Little Madawaska Portage off of Highway 60. A male was also seen at the Spruce Bog Trail on May 23.
  • Canada Jay: A pair was seen fairly consistently all week at the Spruce Bog Trail. An additional pair was reported on Opeongo Road, May 20. The Trailer Sanitary Station produced a pair as well a few days later on May 22.
  • Boreal Chickadee: Still very few reports, however a pair was reported at the Old Airfield on May 21.

Most winter finches were still recorded this week but the numbers continue to drop off:

  • Evening Grosbeak: Low numbers continue to be recorded from Opeongo Road and the Visitor Centre all week.
  • Purple Finch: Low numbers, but widespread reports from numerous locations all week.
  • Red Crossbill: A few still being consistently seen at the Visitor Centre daily and low numbers being recorded at various locations.
  • White-winged Crossbill: A pair was recorded on Opeongo Road (May 21).
  • Pine Siskin: Still the most widespread finch in the Park, although again smaller numbers then last week.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


May 17, 2018

A few more spring migrants trickled into Algonquin Park this week and enjoyed the continuing warm weather. New spring arrivals on May 11 included Cape May Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Rose- breasted Grosbeak, Veery and Gray Catbird. Two Solitary Sandpipers were recorded at the Old Railway Bike Trail on May 12. The first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the year was recorded on May 14. May 16 produced the first Chestnut-sided Warbler observation. May 16 had a nice variety of new arrivals with Olive-sided Flycatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, Scarlett Tanager and Bay-breasted Warbler all being recorded respectively. American Bittern (almost three weeks later than average) and a Virginia Rail (10 days later than average) were recorded this week as well.

Algonquin Park’s boreal species were also observed over the last week, including:

  • Spruce Grouse: a male was seen on the Spruce Bog Boardwalk near the trail register box on May 13. Also reports of Spruce Grouse on the Mizzy Lake Trail and the Opeongo Road.
  • Black-backed Woodpecker: a male and female were observed on Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail (May 12). A female was also spotted on the margins of the Airfield on May 11.
  • Gray Jay: a few reports from Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Mizzy Lake Trail, and the Trailer Sanitary Station throughout the week.
  • Boreal Chickadee: 3 individuals were observed on Mizzy Lake Trail on May 14.

Winter finches were widespread this week but numbers continue to be lower

  • Evening Grosbeak: Occasional birds continue to be seen (and heard) at the Visitor Centre. A pair was observed on Opeongo Road (May 10).
  • Purple Finch: a few spread out at various locations
  • Red Crossbill: small numbers continue to be seen along Highway 60, and the Visitor Centre continues to produce sightings.
  • White-winged Crossbill: A pair was reported from Opeongo Road (May 16), a few along Highway 60 as well.
  • Pine Siskin: Still the most common winter finch by far. Flocks were recorded along Highway 60, at Opeongo Road, the Visitor Centre and various other locations.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


May 10, 2018

Warm weather continued the past two weeks here in Algonquin Park and produced a few more spring migrants. The highlight of the past couple of weeks was the discovery of a Fish Crow (see below) observed at Mew Lake Campground on May 1 (and also observed May 2 and 3 at Mew Lake Campground and Lake of Two Rivers Campground). The record, if accepted by the Algonquin Park Rare Bird Committee, will be the first Fish Crow ever recorded in Algonquin Park.

Fish Crow in Algonquin Park

Image: Probable Fish Crow in Algonquin Park. If accepted this observation would be a first for Algonquin Park. Image and first observation by Lev Frid.

Other spring arrivals in Algonquin Park included Eastern Bluebird (April 28) and Ring-billed Gull (April 30) both arriving two weeks later than average. Wednesday, May 2 produced quite a few migrants with Brown Thrasher, White crowned Sparrow, Northern Waterthrush, Black-throated Green Warbler and Nashville Warbler being first observations for the year. Last Thursday (May 3), the first Killdeer was seen which was about a month later than average likely given the persisting snow cover in Algonquin Park. Blue headed Vireo arrived about a week and a half later than usual (May 7). A few more species of warbler arrived with Common Yellowthroat, Blackburnian Warbler, Northern Parula, Ovenbird, and Black-throated Blue Warbler all being being recorded on May 8 respectively. For details and recent images of how spring is progressing in Algonquin see Ice Out Conditions.

Algonquin Park’s boreal species were also observed over the last two weeks, including:

  • Spruce Grouse: try Spruce Bog Boardwalk near the trail register box (a male was last seen May 9).
  • Black-backed Woodpecker: Lake of Two Rivers Trail (April 28) Pair seen at Cache lake (April 29). Spruce Bog Boardwalk (May 6)
  • Gray Jay: seen regularly at the Trailer Sanitation Station, Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road and the Logging Museum Trail.
  • Boreal Chickadee: 1 report from Mew Lake at the old Airfield (May 2).

Winter finches continued to be widespread but numbers reported are getting lower:

  • Evening Grosbeak: very few continued to be seen at the Visitor Centre.
  • Purple Finch: a few at various locations.
  • Red Crossbill: small numbers along Highway 60; Opeongo Road, and the Visitor Centre continued to produce sightings.
  • White-winged Crossbill: a few along Highway 60 and Opeongo Road.
  • Pine Siskin: still the most common finch; flocks were regular at the Visitor Centre and along Highway 60.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


April 26, 2018

As cold persisted early in the week, the few arriving migrants were at least two weeks later than average including Fox Sparrow (April 18) and Wood Duck (April 20). The first warm, sunny day (April 21) produced only one new arrival (Northern Harrier) as migration remained on hold. But even warmer southern airflow on April 22 yielded Double-crested Cormorant, Broad-winged Hawk, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The major influx of new migrants on April 23 and 24 was remarkable for the number of species reported. Monday’s birds included: Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Eastern Phoebe, Tree Swallow, Hermit Thrush, American Pipit (photo; earliest ever by 3 days), Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, Pine Warbler, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. First of spring sightings on Tuesday included: Green-winged Teal, Wilson’s Snipe, Greater Yellowlegs, Common Loon, Osprey, Winter Wren, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, and Palm Warbler (photo; tied earliest date). Other arrivals were Horned Lark (April 25) and Pied-billed Grebe and Barn Swallow (today).

American Pipit at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre

Earliest ever observed American Pipit in Algonquin Park seen on April 23, 2018 at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre. Photo by Ryan Rea.

A male Spruce Grouse north of the trail register box on Spruce Bog Boardwalk was seen daily from April 20 to 23, and one was getting grit along northern Opeongo Road today. Canada (Gray) Jays were observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Trailer Sanitation, Opeongo Road, Logging Museum Trail and Leaf Lake Ski Trail. Black-backed Woodpeckers were on utility poles at km 53, near the Spruce Bog Boardwalk register box, and at Trailer Sanitation. Winter finches continue to decline in numbers along the highway, but still include both crossbills and Pine Siskins. The Visitor Centre viewing deck attracted 5 to 10 Evening Grosbeaks, and a few Purple Finches, Red Crossbills and White-winged Crossbills.

Numerous advisories have been issued for Algonquin Park given the spring melt, see these at Algonquin Park Advisories. There is a maximum of about 14 cm of snow on the ground and very limited open water on lakes and ponds as of today.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


April 19, 2018

This week’s freezing rain, ice pellets, snow and high winds were very disheartening for birders and everybody else, but this weather will make us that much more appreciative of spring when it does arrive…. in June! Due to the poor conditions there were fewer birders in the Park and only a few new migrants were reported, including: Common Merganser (April 12; seventeen days later than average); Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (April 13; two days later than average); and American Woodcock (April 18; sixteen days later than average). There is about 38 centimetres of snow on the ground and very little open water as of today.

A male Spruce Grouse was seen and photographed along Spruce Bog Boardwalk on April 12 and 13. Canada Jays (Gray Jays) were reported regularly at Spruce Bog Boardwalkk and on Opeongo Road (open to vehicles only to the winter gate). A Black-backed Woodpecker was observed near the Old Airfield on April 12. Boreal Chickadees went unreported again this week; the most recent sighting was on March 21. Winter finches were reported in much lower numbers. The Visitor Centre viewing deck is still a good location for seeing both crossbills and Evening Grosbeaks.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


April 12, 2018

Although a little milder this week, conditions were still more winter-like than spring-like. Ice remains thick and “to-the-shore” on lakes and there is an average of 25 cm of snow on the ground with more forecast for the coming weekend. However, some migrants pushed northward to reach Algonquin Park despite the continuing scarcity of bare ground, open water and warmth. Spring arrivals reported this week included: Song Sparrow (April 7); Pine Warbler (April 8; earliest ever by one day); Ring-necked Duck, Common Goldeneye and Tree Swallow (April 9); Brown-headed Cowbird (April 10); and Sandhill Crane and Belted Kingfisher (April 11).

Gray Jay in Algonquin Park
Gray Jays in Algonquin Park

A male Spruce Grouse was seen on the plowed roadway at the north end of Opeongo Road on April 10, but reports were lacking at Spruce Bog Boardwalk this week. Canada Jays (Gray Jays) continued to be observed at the Trailer Sanitation Station, Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road and the Logging Museum Trail. There were no reports of Black-backed Woodpecker or Boreal Chickadee.

Winter finches in lower numbers than earlier, including Purple Finch, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch, are still being seen along the Highway 60 Corridor. The first reported Common Redpolls since late February were two at the Visitor Centre and one along Opeongo Road on April 7. A few Evening Grosbeaks are coming for sunflower seed at the Visitor Centre, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and near the locked winter gate on Opeongo Road.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


April 5, 2018

For those who have not yet gotten around to coming to Algonquin Park to see the winter birds, there is good news! Most of the finch species are still here and you did not miss winter either. It was minus 23 degrees C in the predawn with 28 cm of snow on the ground (15 cm of it new this week) in the Park today. How lucky can you get?

American Robin in Algonquin Park

American Robin seeking any bare ground (along a plowed parking lot edge at the Visitor Centre) after an additional 15 centimetres of snow this week in Algonquin Park.

Earlier in the week a few new migrants arrived, including: American Black Duck (March 30), Rough-legged Hawk (March 31), Great Blue Heron (April 2) and Turkey Vulture (April 2). Bare ground and open water were in short supply by today, inhibiting other migrants.

Below are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week. The Visitor Centre parking lot feeder has been shut down but birds are still coming to the feeders off the viewing deck.

Winter finches continued to be widespread but numbers reported are getting lower:

  • Evening Grosbeak: about 15 to 25 came daily to the Visitor Centre.
  • Purple Finch: a few at various locations.
  • Red Crossbill: small numbers along Highway 60; Opeongo Road continued to produce sightings.
  • White-winged Crossbill: a few along Highway 60 and Opeongo Road.
  • Pine Siskin: still the most common finch; flocks were regular at the Visitor Centre and along Highway 60.
  • American Goldfinch: seen widely but in low numbers.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


March 29, 2018

Following seven days with sunshine but cold temperatures, Monday started clear and cold but the thermometer rose well above freezing during the day. After birders (including myself with the OFO Young Birders) had no luck finding Spruce Grouse during the cold and sometimes windy weekend, some observers were able to locate a total of at least eight individuals on Monday as males were inspired by the warmer conditions to actively display to females (grouse, that is).

Algonquin Park Male Spruce Grouse

Displaying Male Spruce Grouse in Algonquin Park. Photo by Jim Richards.

A few new migrants arrived this week, including Common Grackle (March 26), Northern Flicker (March 27; ties second earliest spring date), and Hooded Merganser (March 28). The unsafe driving conditions on Opeongo Road improved and it was re-opened to public vehicles (north to the winter gate) on Saturday. Two American Martens were observed regularly at the Visitor Centre this week.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

Winter finches continued to be numerous this week:

  • Evening Grosbeak: about 20 to 30 came daily to the Visitor Centre feeders.
  • Purple Finch: small numbers, including singing males, seen widely.
  • Red Crossbill: still good numbers, especially getting salt and grit along Highway 60. A male and female with a young bird were observed at the Visitor Centre on Saturday. Often seen getting grit below the Visitor Centre viewing deck.
  • White-winged Crossbill: lower numbers than Reds, but widespread; regularly seen well at the Visitor Centre.
  • Pine Siskin: the most common finch; a continuing green morph individual was photographed on Saturday at the Visitor Centre.
  • American Goldfinch: good numbers continue.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


March 22, 2018

Continuing night temperatures well below freezing, north winds, persisting extensive snow cover (averaging about 22 cm) and very limited areas of open water all combined to stifle migration this week. However, there were a few signs of spring, including an apparent migrant Red-tailed Hawk (March 21), calling Northern Saw-whet Owls at the West Gate and km 3 near dawn (March 19), the first singing Brown Creeper and Golden-crowned Kinglet (March 17), and a Red-breasted Nuthatch excavating a nest cavity (March 18).

Due to continuing unsafe driving conditions in areas of ice-buildup and erosion caused by flowing water on Opeongo Road, it remains closed to public vehicle traffic beyond the Costello Creek Picnic Ground until further notice. Visitors can park at the picnic area and walk the road.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

  • Spruce Grouse: a displaying male along Spruce Bog Boardwalk yesterday closely approached a photographer, perhaps finding the camera shutter noise similar to the grouse’s swishing tail sound.
  • Black-backed Woodpecker: single birds were observed at Mizzy Lake Trail parking lot, Spruce Bog Boardwalk and the Logging Museum Trail.
  • Canada Jay (Gray Jay): seen regularly at the Trailer Sanitation Station, Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road and the Logging Museum Trail.
  • Boreal Chickadee: in the first report since February 3, one was heard and photographed yesterday along the return route of the Bat Lake Trail just past the creek. One was observed at about the same place back on January 26. It is certainly worth checking that location in this time of extreme Boreal Chickadee scarcity in Algonquin. Calling should be more frequent now prior to winter flock break-up.

Female White-winged Crossbill in Algonquin Park. Photo by David Bree.

Female White-winged Crossbill licking salt in Algonquin Park on March 21, 2018. Photo by David Bree.

Red Crossbills, Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches are still numerous and widespread. Purple Finches and White-winged Crossbills are less commonly observed now, but similarly widespread. A singing male Pine Grosbeak along Bat Lake Trail yesterday was likely one of the last of this boreal species here this spring. Up to 30 Evening Grosbeaks continue to come daily to the Visitor Centre feeders.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


March 15, 2018

Temperatures well below freezing caused the few open water areas to be reduced by ice formation and new snow covered the limited patches of bare ground this week. New migrants were limited to Snow Bunting (March 8) and Mourning Dove (March 9). However, it was a good time to see otters on the ice bordering open water. An American Marten continued to come for black sunflower seeds below the feeders at the Visitor Centre as well.

Due to unsafe driving conditions in areas of ice-buildup and erosion caused by flowing water on Opeongo Road, it has been temporarily closed to public vehicle traffic beyond the Costello Creek Picnic Ground until further notice. Visitors can park at the picnic area and walk the road.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

Male Purple Finch in Algonquin Park

Adult male Purple Finch in Algonquin Park. Photo by Mike McEvoy.

Finches continued to be seen in many large and small flocks as they sought grit and salt on Highway 60, especially early in the morning. The numerous and widespread species in the Park are Purple Finch, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch. Pine Grosbeak reports were limited to a male at Spruce Bog Boardwalk (March 11) and a pair on Highway 60 at Lookout Trail (March 13). Up to 40 Evening Grosbeaks are still coming daily to the Visitor Centre feeders, along with good numbers of other finch species.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


March 8, 2018

Snow depth is now reduced to an average depth of about 13 cm, with a hard crust, and some areas are bare. All lakes remain frozen, but rivers and creeks are opening up. Mallard (km 21), Merlin (at the East Gate and at Mew Lake Campground) and Red-winged Blackbird (Visitor Centre feeder) were all somewhat early migrants this week.

Wild Turkeys that overwintered outside the Park were observed moving back into it along Highway 60, as is usual in early spring. However, the male (photographed) and female Ring-necked Pheasants between km 5 and 6 on March 3 were definitely not usual. Originating from released birds west of Algonquin, these pheasants may have wandered into the Park with turkeys. Superintendent George Bartlett tried unsuccessfully to introduce pheasants to Algonquin before 1899 and again about 1902, but they all died in the winter. Bartlett released many alien species in the Park, including Belgian hare, Black Grouse and Capercaillie. Fortunately, none survived except Smallmouth Bass.

Ring-necked Pheasant in Algonquin Park

Male Ring-necked Pheasant in Algonquin Park on March 3, 2018, between km 5-6 of Highway 60. Photo by Blair Kimble.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


March 1, 2018

There were a few more early signs of spring again this week. First sightings of Canada Goose, Herring Gull and European Starling were notably early. Northern Shrikes at km 38 (February 22) and the Western Uplands Backpacking Trail parking lot (February 27) may have been individuals moving back northward. And Blue Jays and Pine Siskins were observed courtship feeding.

Tomorrow (March 2) will be the winter’s fourth (and probably last) Bird Feeder Friday when feeders at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre are broadcast live on the internet from 9 am to 4 pm. Multiple views allow you to watch for common bird and mammal species (perhaps including a marten). This live video feed is brought to you by The Friends of Algonquin Park. A special thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited Toronto for providing bird feeders and seed.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

  • Spruce Grouse: a displaying male and an as yet disinterested female were near the register box along Spruce Bog Boardwalk on February 24, and one was reported on that trail on February 27.
  • Ruffed Grouse: seen regularly below the Visitor Centre feeders, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, and on Opeongo Road.
  • Wild Turkey: the nine birds that came daily to the Visitor Centre parking lot feeder during January were down to four by this week, perhaps reflecting mortality through predation and starvation in a winter environment that is harsh for this species.
  • Black-backed Woodpecker: reported on Opeongo Road (including drumming heard) and Spruce Bog Boardwalk on several days.
  • Canada Jay (Gray Jay): researchers had located the start of nests by five pairs as of February 26. Good places to see this species are Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road and the Logging Museum trail.
  • Boreal Chickadee: no reports again.
  • Pine Grosbeak: the only observation was of three at the cliff of the Two Rivers Trail on February 24.
  • Purple Finch: regular along Highway 60, on Opeongo Road and at the Visitor Centre feeders.
  • Red Crossbill: widespread; small flocks on the highway, especially after sanding/salting, and regularly seen off Visitor Centre viewing deck.
  • White-winged Crossbill: not as plentiful as Red Crossbill but numerous; many singing during display flights.
  • Common Redpoll: a single bird was observed at the Visitor Centre on February 24.
  • Pine Siskin: widespread.
  • American Goldfinch: common.
  • Evening Grosbeak: about 20 came to the Visitor Centre feeders, and about the same number were observed near the winter gate on Opeongo Road.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


February 22, 2018

Algonquin Park began to experience “pre-spring” by the end of the week as temperatures went up and snow depth went down. American Crows, the first migrants, were spotted on February 19 and 21. Researchers found the first Canada Jay (Gray Jay) nest under construction on February 19. And a Northern Saw-whet Owl, that likely spent the winter here, was heard calling near dawn in Mew Lake Campground the same day.

Boreal Chickadee in Algonquin Park by Michael Runtz

Boreal Chickadee in Algonquin Park. Photo by Michael Runtz.

Despite the influx of birders on Family Day Weekend, no Boreal Chickadees were reported again this week. Seventy-six observers on the Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count found only four. Is there a real population decline here? Boreal Chickadees in the western uplands of Algonquin Park are on the southern edge of their Ontario breeding range. The species is virtually absent from the East Side of the Park. Elevations are lower and temperatures are higher there. Could climate warming now be exerting a negative effect on this chickadee in the western part of Algonquin? Time will tell.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


February 15, 2018

The spotting of a female White-winged Crossbill returning to her nest high in a White Spruce and then apparently incubating for the next 20 minutes of observation was a remarkable discovery on February 10. Despite research in Algonquin Park on crossbill behaviour and breeding activities dating back to the 1980s, this was the first record of a nest at the egg stage for either species here. In Algonquin Park, research by crossbill expert Craig Benkman indicated that White-winged Crossbills breed during three main periods which coincide with maximum availability of particular conifer seeds: summer and fall (July to November) associated with white spruce and tamarack; winter (January to March) associated with white spruce; and spring (March to June) associated with black spruce.

Tomorrow (February 16) will be the winter’s third Bird Feeder Friday when feeders at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre are broadcast live on the internet from 9 am to 4 pm. Multiple views allow you to watch for common bird and mammal species (perhaps including a marten). This live video feed is brought to you by The Friends of Algonquin Park. A special thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited Toronto for providing bird feeders and seed for the Visitor Centre.

As part of the Winter in the Wild Festival in Algonquin Park on Saturday, February 17, Guided Bird Walks will occur at Spruce Bog Boardwalk in the morning (10 to 11:30 am) and afternoon (2:30 to 4 pm).

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


February 8, 2018

Winter finches are being seen regularly on Highway 60, especially after snowfalls when sand and salt have been applied to the roadway. Numbers are greater along the road before traffic becomes heavier by mid-morning. Some Red Crossbills are breeding now, with both mating and courtship feeding being reported this week. One or two American Martens are still coming irregularly to feed on black sunflower seeds below the feeders at the Visitor Centre.

Red Crossbill in Algonquin Park
Male Red Crossbill in Algonquin Park. Photo by Michael Runtz.



Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

Winter finches continue to be widespread.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


February 1, 2018

The most unusual bird reported this week was an American Crow at the parking lot near the winter gate on Opeongo Road on January 27. It was a classic day (above freezing temperature) and location (a place where people put out bird food) for a rare winter crow sighting here. The crow probably moved into the Park from a nearby wintering area in response to the milder conditions and likely departed when cold returned. Crows are almost never present in Algonquin during winter.

Black-backed Woodpecker in Algonquin Park

Male Black-backed Woodpecker in Algonquin Park. Photo by Lev Frid.

Tomorrow (February 2) will be the winter’s second Bird Feeder Friday when feeders at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre are broadcast live on the internet from 9 am to 4 pm. Multiple views allow you to watch for common bird and mammal species (perhaps a marten, but not a groundhog or its shadow!). This live video feed is brought to you by The Friends of Algonquin Park. A special thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited Toronto for providing bird feeders and seed for the Visitor Centre.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

Winter finches remain widespread.

  • Pine Grosbeak: very scarce; a singing male was noted near Mew Lake Campground on January 24.
  • Purple Finch: regular at the Visitor Centre feeders and frequently observed along the highway.
  • Red Crossbill: small flocks reported regularly along the highway, especially in early morning.
  • White-winged Crossbill: reported regularly along the highway, at the Visitor Centre, and along Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road.
  • Common Redpoll: no reports received this week.
  • Pine Siskin: flocks regularly seen on the highway.
  • American Goldfinch: still common.
  • Evening Grosbeak: from 20 to 40 come to the Visitor Centre feeders daily.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


January 25, 2018

The most notable bird this week was an adult Golden Eagle observed in flight near Smoke Creek Bridge on Highway 60, January 20.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

Adult male Pine Grosbeak 
Photo by Michael Runtz

Adult male Pine Grosbeak. Photo by Michael Runtz

Winter finches remain widespread.

  • Pine Grosbeak: two were in the Visitor Centre parking lot on January 21, and two were along Opeongo Road, January 24.
  • Purple Finch: regular in low numbers, but 46 were counted at the Visitor Centre on January 21.
  • Red Crossbill: small numbers regular; a few continue to be seen daily off the Visitor Centre viewing deck, with “courtship feeding” observed there on January 21.
  • White-winged Crossbill: reported regularly at the Visitor Centre and Spruce Bog Boardwalk.
  • Common Redpoll: Opeongo Road produced 12 on January 20 and five the next day.
  • Pine Siskin: widespread, with a total of 300 in several flocks along Highway 60 on January 21.
  • American Goldfinch: good numbers; an estimated 150 along the highway and about 55 at the Visitor Centre feeders on January 21.
  • Evening Grosbeak: from 20 to 40 continue to come to the Visitor Centre feeders daily.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


January 18, 2018

As an “old guy” myself, I was pleased when the male Spruce Grouse that was colour-banded in 2009 and is now at least 10 years old was photographed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on January 14. According to Birds of North America, the estimated annual survival rate of male Spruce Grouse (canadensis subspecies) is just 38 to 44%. The oldest recorded age for a Spruce Grouse is 13 years. Readers may also recall that a Northern Goshawk successfully preyed on at least one Spruce Grouse at Spruce Bog Boardwalk in January last year, so living there for 10 years or more is quite an accomplishment.

Banded Male Spruce Grouse in Algonquin Park

Image: Banded male Spruce Grouse at Spruce Bog Boardwalk on January 14, 2018. Photo (on eBird) courtesy of Ellen and Jerry Horak.

Tomorrow (January 19) will be this winter's first Bird Feeder Friday when feeders at the Visitor Centre are broadcast live on the internet from 9 am to 4 pm. Multiple views allow you to watch for common bird and mammal species. This live video feed is brought to you by The Friends of Algonquin Park. A special thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited Toronto for providing bird feeders and seed for the Visitor Centre.

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

  • Spruce Grouse: three or four were in large conifers near the start of the first short boardwalk at Spruce Bog Boardwalk.
  • Ruffed Grouse: continue to be seen along the Visitor Centre driveway and under the feeders below the viewing deck.
  • Wild Turkey: up to nine are still coming daily to the Visitor Centre parking lot feeder, and two continue in Mew Lake Campground.
  • Black-backed Woodpecker: a female was reported along Opeongo Road on January 15.
  • Gray Jay: Opeongo Road, Spruce Bog Boardwalk and the Logging Museum are the best places to see them.
  • Boreal Chickadee: the only report was of one heard briefly on Spruce Bog Boardwalk, January 14. They have not been utilizing the suet feeder there this winter.
  • American Marten: two continued to come to the Visitor Centre feeders fairly regularly.

Winter finches remain widespread, with most species being seen regularly but in moderate numbers.

  • Pine Grosbeak: the only report this week involved two on Opeongo Road, January 14.
  • Purple Finch: regular but not numerous, although 29 were counted at the Visitor Centre on January 16.
  • Red Crossbill: about six have been regular off the Visitor Centre viewing deck early each morning, with some larger flocks often seen on the highway.
  • White-winged Crossbill: typical observations were of five or fewer birds, but they are seen regularly. Listen for their distinctive calls.
  • Common Redpoll: no reports received this week.
  • Pine Siskin: up to 15 at the Visitor Centre feeders, and some larger flocks seeking grit and salt on the highway.
  • American Goldfinch: flocks frequently noted on the highway, and up to about 20 were regular at the Visitor Centre feeders.
  • Evening Grosbeak: up to 35 continue to come to the Visitor Centre feeders daily.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


January 11, 2018

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

Winter finches are coming to seed at the Visitor Centre feeders, Spruce Bog Boardwalk entrance and near the Opeongo Road winter gate.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


January 4, 2018

The Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count, held this year on December 30, always provides a good early winter overview of the birds and their relative abundance. The following discussion includes the CBC totals in brackets. Red-breasted Nuthatch (720), Red Crossbill (359), White-winged Crossbill (521), Pine Siskin (418) and American Goldfinch (635) are common but not as numerous as in several other years of bumper tree seed crops. Purple Finch (122) and Common Redpoll (66) are here in limited numbers. Evening Grosbeak (34) continues to be reported only at the Visitor Centre feeders and the Pine Grosbeak (9) is present, but barely so. American Tree Sparrow (24) and Dark-eyed Junco (185; a new count high) are usually absent or rare here in winter. When they are found in numbers on the CBC our records show heavy tree seed crops and less snow than average on the ground so that fallen seeds are accessible. Black-backed Woodpecker (4), Gray Jay (13; lowest in 44 years) and Boreal Chickadee (4) were remarkably hard to find. A Merlin in the Opeongo Road area was a new species for the count; it occurs rarely here in winter, when small birds are common. A Northern Shrike mobbed by Blue Jays near the Visitor Centre feeders on January 2 was the only count week species.

Merlin at the Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count 2017

Merlin photographed at last light by Nathan Hood on the 2017 Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count.

Here are some spots where birders have observed the listed species during the past week:

The two American Martens continued to come to the Visitor Centre fairly regularly to eat black sunflower seeds below the feeders.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


December 30, 2017

See the results of the 44th Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count held on December 30, 2017.


December 28, 2017

This week’s extremely cold temperatures seemed at odds with evidence of breeding activity by White-winged Crossbills in Algonquin Park. A male was observed feeding a female (“courtship feeding”) near the Old Airfield, and three or four males were singing along Spruce Bog Boardwalk, on December 24. Craig Benkman (in The Birds of North America, 1992) reported that this crossbill breeds during three main periods of the year which coincide with maximum availability of conifer seeds. In Algonquin Park, records indicate breeding in summer and fall (July to November), winter (January to March), and spring (March to June).

Male White-winged Crossbill
Male White-winged Crossbill. Photo by Mike Nelson.

 

Snow depth in the Park now reaches about 25 cm in the open and less under conifers, making it feasible to travel in most areas without snowshoes. As usual, snow on the walking trails has been flattened down with use.

Winter finches reported this week were:
  • Purple Finch (regular at Visitor Centre feeders)
  • Red Crossbill (small flocks on the highway; and often seen off Visitor Centre deck)
  • White-winged Crossbill (small flocks)
  • Common Redpoll (three along Opeongo Road on December 24 were the first reported since late October), a flock of about 40 was observed on Opeongo Road yesterday, which may indicate that this species is starting to move southward in greater numbers.
  • Pine Siskin (fairly numerous)
  • American Goldfinch (fairly numerous)
  • Evening Grosbeak (about 20 at the Visitor Centre feeders daily)

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


December 21, 2017

Evening Grosbeak in Algonquin Park
Male Evening Grosbeak at Visitor Centre. Photo by: Jim Richards

Two American Martens (often together) have been coming regularly to the Visitor Centre feeders to eat black sunflower seeds on the ground. They can be seen at close range from the viewing deck. Average snow depth in the Park is now about 17 centimetres.

Winter finch numbers remain relatively low, but most observers are seeing a good variety. Species reported this week were:

  • Pine Grosbeak: a single bird on Opeongo Road, December 17 and 18
  • Purple Finch: regular at Visitor Centre feeders
  • Red Crossbill: often seen off Visitor Centre deck
  • White-winged Crossbill
  • Pine Siskin
  • American Goldfinch
  • Evening Grosbeak: highest count: 32 at the Visitor Centre on December 20.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


December 14, 2017

Black-backed Woodpecker in Algonquin Park
Black-backed Woodpecker in Algonquin Park. Photo by Michael Runtz.

 

All Highway 60 lakes are now ice-covered, with the last two freezing over on December 11 (Lake of Two Rivers) and 13 (Smoke Lake). Average snow depth is about 15 cm. The suet feeders are now in place at the Visitor Centre and on Spruce Bog Boardwalk at the trail register box.

Winter finches reported this week were: Purple Finch, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch and Evening Grosbeak (highest count: 32 at the Visitor Centre on December 12). Finch diversity is good but numbers reported are still relatively low.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


December 7, 2017

About 1 cm of new snow arrived over the last day at the East Gate with more recorded at the West Gate. Rock Lake Road and Arowhon Road are not maintained by park staff during winter and will be closed until spring.

Ruffed Grouse: one or two are regular along the Visitor Centre driveway and getting seed below the feeders.

Boreal Specialties

  • Spruce Grouse: look on Spruce Bog Boardwalk, particularly near the visitor register box.
  • American Three-toed Woodpecker: one was seen and heard along Opeongo Road just north of the Costello Creek Picnic Ground on December 3. This species occurs here very irregularly in winter when it irrupts southward from the breeding range.
  • Black-backed Woodpecker: try Opeongo Road
  • Gray Jay: regular along Opeongo Road from the locked gate northward, and on Spruce Bog Boardwalk.
  • Boreal Chickadee: try Opeongo Road.

Winter Finches

  • Pine Grosbeak: still very scarce. Observed this week on Mizzy Lake Trail and Opeongo Road.
  • Purple Finch: regular in low numbers, including at the Visitor Centre.
  • Red Crossbill: numbers remain low. Look for them on the highway and at the Visitor Centre.
  • White-winged Crossbill: regular but in low numbers.
  • Pine Siskin: seen regularly, including some larger flocks.
  • American Goldfinch: also seen regularly, including some large flocks
  • Evening Grosbeak: up to 25 are being seen at the Visitor Centre, especially in the morning.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


November 30, 2017

There was much melting of the shallow snow cover this week. Large lakes are open. Winter listers should find a good variety of winter finches in Algonquin Park now. The winter gate on Opeongo Road is closed.

  • Snowy Owl: one was photographed flying southwest near dusk, high over the Old Airfield, on November 25.
  • Northern Shrike: single birds were on Opeongo Road (November 25) and at the Old Airfield (November 28 and 29).

Boreal Specialties

Recent locations for observations of the boreal specialties are as follows:

Winter Finches

Winter finch sightings are increasing now due to sanding/salting operations on Highway 60 and the Visitor Centre feeders.

  • Pine Grosbeak: Scarce. Two were at the Old Airfield on November 25.
  • Purple Finch: Regular in low numbers, including at the Visitor Centre.
  • Red Crossbill: Reported regularly. Look for birds on the highway and at the Visitor Centre.
  • White-winged Crossbill: Regular but in low numbers.
  • Common Redpoll: No reports since late October.
  • Pine Siskin: Seen regularly, including some large flocks on the highway.
  • American Goldfinch: Also seen regularly, including some large flocks.
  • Evening Grosbeak: Up to 20 have been at the Visitor Centre, but irregularly.

Please send us any bird sightings you've had in the Park, even of common birds, as they assist us in documenting Algonquin Park's bird life.

Birders reporting records through eBird are encouraged to share their lists with the Algonquin Park Bird Records account (APPbirds).


November 12, 2017

As of today, there is a heavy covering of snow on the ground and a few shallow ponds and small lakes along the Highway 60 Corridor are ice-covered. However, it is still fall even if it felt like winter on a couple of -15°C mornings this week. There were fresh Black Bear tracks in the snow on the Visitor Centre parking lot yesterday, for example.

Boreal Specialties

Recent locations for observations of the boreal specialties are as follows:

Winter Finches

The abundant cones on most conifer species in Algonquin Park appear to have been significantly affected by the sustained and unprecedented period of hot days in the latter half of September. The cones opened and limited inspection suggests that many (most?) of the seeds may have been released. It remains to be seen how this will affect finch numbers this winter.

There have been recent observations of nearly all of the expected finches, but in low numbers.

  • Pine Grosbeak: sightings of single birds on November 4 and 11.
  • Purple Finch: regular in low numbers.
  • Red Crossbill: regular in low numbers; four seen almost daily this week at the Visitor Centre. Recordings of larger-billed Type 1 and smaller-billed Type 3 confirmed by Matt Young (Cornell) recently.
  • White-winged Crossbill: low numbers present, but reported less frequently than Red Crossbill.
  • Common Redpoll: observations of one to four birds on October 20 and 21 but no reports since.
  • Pine Siskin: low numbers but likely the most numerous finch currently; 40 at Visitor Centre on November 8.
  • American Goldfinch: regular in low numbers; 17 at Visitor Centre on November 10.
  • Evening Grosbeak: one to three at Visitor Centre this week.

Related Information

 

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Special regulations for Algonquin's special fishery.