Bird Feeder Friday - Live Stream!
Algonquin Park Bird Feeder Fridays are days when the bird feeders at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre are broadcast live for visitors from around the world to see. Watch live streaming video:
- January 20, 2017
- February 10, 2017
- February 24, 2017
Algonquin Park Bird Feeder Broadcast
Thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited Toronto for providing bird feeders and seed for the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre. See their selection of birding related equipment such as feeders, seed, binoculars and more.
February 24, 2017
Common Winter Species in Algonquin Park
Below are some common winter species observed at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre. See what species have been observed this week in the Algonquin Park Birding Report. Ever wondered why birds are common in some winters and seem absent in other years? The answer is food. Learn more from former Algonquin Park Naturalist Ron Pittaway in the current Winter Finch Forecast.
A male Evening Grosbeak (left) is a striking-looking, seed-eating specialist that uses its massive bill to crush cherry pits and other large seeds. This winter Algonquin Park is one of the best locations to observe this declining bird species in southern Ontario. The Visitor Centre flock numbers about 175+ birds. Males are more brightly coloured than females.
American Goldfinch eat the seeds of White Birch, Speckled Alder, White Cedar and various weeds. They come to feeders for sunflower and nyger seed. An American Goldfinch has 50% greater feather mass in winter than in summer to survive cold temperatures like those found in Algonquin Park. Read more >
Pine Siskin are small birds with sharp, pointed bills more slender than those of most other winter finches. They are brown, very streaky birds with subtle yellow on the wings and tails. Watch for Pine Siskins mixed in with flocks of American Goldfinches. In recent weeks siskins have been observed at the Visitor Centre and picking up grit on Highway 60.
Widespread across much of eastern North America, the Blue Jay calls Algonquin Park home in large numbers during winters of good natural food abundance. In Algonquin Park, Blue Jays depend upon seeds like acorns, beaked hazel, and beechnuts. Watch for courtship feeding in anticipation of the breeding season ahead.
Pine Grosbeaks are large winter finches, about the same size as an Evening Grosbeak. Males (shown left) feature a striking bright red colour with dark wings and two white wing bars. Female birds are duller coloured showing a yellow-orange-olive colour with dark wings and two wing bars. The beak of the Pine Grosbeak is large, wide and used to consume seeds and buds.
During most winters, Purple Finch leave Algonquin Park, because of the lack of food. Adult male Purple Finches show a raspberry red colour while females and first year males show a brown plumage. Purple Finches have been observed very rarely in Algonquin Park this winter because of the lack of conifer seeds, especially on Balsam Fir.
Common Redpolls are frequent winter visitors in Algonquin Park. They are much more numerous than the Hoary Redpoll and often travel in flocks, feeding upon birch seeds. Common Redpolls are occasional visitors to the bird feeders at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre. Also watch for flocks of these birds that may be picking up grit on Highway 60 to aid in digestion.
The rare Hoary Redpoll shows a paler rump, less streaking on the sides, and a slightly smaller bill compared to the Common Redpoll. Hoary Redpolls in Algonquin Park are often mixed in Common Redpoll flocks making identification challenging. If you see a Hoary Redpoll please take a picture and contact us.
A common permanent resident of Algonquin Park. The Black-capped Chickadee eats seeds and insects to survive the winter months and often forages together with nuthatches and Brown Creepers. Chickadees have the ability to lower their body temperature at night to conserve energy. Read more >
Boreal Chickadees are northern relatives of the more common Black-capped Chickadee familiar to most people. Boreal Chickadees have a brown cap and chestnut coloured sides, unlike the Black-capped Chickadee. Boreal Chickadees prefer to live in Black Spruce forests like those in the valley below the Visitor Centre or at Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail.
The Ruffed Grouse is a chicken-like widespread year-round resident of Algonquin Park. This species often feeds on buds of deciduous trees like birch and poplar during the winter months. During cold weather, Ruffed Grouse will plunge into soft snow and create a chamber were they spend the night.
Wild Turkey are a recent arrival in Algonquin Park. First discovered in 2002 after successful reintroductions in other parts of the province, Wild Turkeys now spend summers and winters in Algonquin Park, with deep snow likely making for challenging foraging conditions for these more southern birds.
Red-breasted Nuthatch, a common resident of Algonquin Park, regularly creeps up and down tree trunks and branches in search of seeds and insects. Red-breasted Nuthatch numbers fluctuate depending upon the seed abundance of spruce, balsam fir, and white pine. Nuthatches are often associated with Black-capped Chickadee flocks in winter.
Northern Shrikes are predatory birds nicknamed "the butcher bird" for their ability to kill and consume small birds and mammals. Shrikes are often attracted to the activity at the Visitor Centre bird feeders in search of their next meal. The bird shown left is a young bird showing a brownish colour to its feathers.
Red Squirrel is a permanent resident of Algonquin Park and specializes in consuming seeds from conifer trees such as pine and spruce. The population of Red Squirrel fluctuates based upon available natural food. Watch for Red Squirrels feeding upon black sunflower seed below the bird feeders at the Visitor Centre.
The American Marten is a member of the weasel family that preys upon small mammals including Red Squirrels. Martens are sometimes observed eating bird seed or suet at the Visitor Centre. Anecdotally, marten populations appear to be low this winter.
Support Wildlife Education in Algonquin Park
The Friends of Algonquin Park have been supporting wildlife research and education since our inception in 1983. Please support our future wildlife education efforts by donating today. The Friends of Algonquin Park is a Canadian registered charity, providing tax-deductible giving as permitted by law.
Birding Related Learning
- Weekly Birding Report
- Report a Bird Sighting
- 43rd Algonquin Park Christmas Bird Count Results
- Birds of Algonquin Park by Ron Tozer
- Birds of Algonquin Provincial Park by Dan Strickland
- Algonquin Birds in Winter by Ron Tozer (PDF)
- Live Views of Algonquin Park - Algonquin Park Webcam
- Winter in Algonquin Park
- Operating Hours and Dates
- Visit Algonquin Park
- Algonquin Park Visitor Centre
- Camping in Algonquin Park
- Special Events