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PEC’s Spring Birding Festival takes flight

The County’s Spring Birding Festival May 12-21 celebrates the arrival of thousands of migrating birds heading north to breeding sites in Canada’s 1.3 billion acre Boreal forest.

PEPtBO Bander-in Charge David Okines explains the banding process to a group of visitors to the station.

Saturday, May 12 is International Migratory Bird Day.
Canada, the United States and Mexico signed the  Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, to ensure populations of migratory birds are maintained, protected and conserved. As Canada, the United States and Mexico share a great diversity and a great abundance of birds, the three countries share a responsibility to conserve and protect migration and breeding through safe flyways, resting areas and nesting habitat.

Prince Edward County is a major staging area for the songbirds migrating between their winter homes in the southern U.S.A., the Caribbean, Central and South America and their nesting sites in the Boreal forest of northern Canada. The County is an extraordinary birding location with the highest concentration of migratory birds on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario.

May is Birding Month in Prince Edward County and flocks of activities have been planned. The festival official opening is set for  Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m. at the Point.

DAILY, from Saturday, May 12 to Monday, May 21, the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory will offer guided bird walks and banding demonstrations. Additional birding walks include  “Birding the County” on Sunday, May 20, and two special Mother’s Day walks at Sandbanks Provincial Park on Sunday, May 13. The 2012 Spring Birding Festival Calendar  is filled with opportunities to enjoy one of Prince Edward County’s natural wonders.

SATURDAYS, May 12 and 19, there will be special two-hour workshops for all levels of birder and naturalist, as well as those who want to see and hear the birds in their natural habitat. Workshops include: “Birding by Ear”, “Birding Beyond the Basics”, “Alligators, Snakes and Ice cream” (a workshop on reptiles), and “Bins, Scopes and Cameras”.

During the Month of May, as part of the Prince Edward County Spring Birding Festival, the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory is sponsoring a Bird Photography Contest and a Spot the Bird Contest in conjunction with the Picton BIA.

The 2012 PEPtBO Annual General Meeting & Baillie Birdathon Wrap-up Dinner will feature naturalist and explorer Geoff Carpentier speaking on The Falkland Islands. Tickets $25 for the Saturday May 26 event from 5:30 p.m. – 9p.m. at the Picton Legion. To reserve contact Cheryl Anderson cherylanderson23@sympatico.ca 613-471-1096.

PEPtBO was established in 1995 as a monitoring station for migratory birds. In 1999, it became a full member of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network, an organization of over 28 stations across Canada collecting data on the numbers and health of the migrating avian population.

The Observatory, located at Prince Edward Point on Canadian Wildlife Services land, is open from mid-April to the end of May for the spring migration and from mid-August to the end of October for the fall migration.

For more information, directions, photographs and facts, visit www.peptbo.ca or contact Rosemary Kent by email at rosemary.kent@sympatico.ca or by calling 613-476-0065.

Yellow (Eastern) Palm Warbler. Photo© David Okines

Observation Highlights April 27 – May 3:

A HORNED GREBE was seen on the 3rd and an AMERICAN BITTERN was seen on the 30th. The first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD on schedule on the 3rd. On the 1st May the warblers and other spring migrants arrived and LEAST FLYCATCHERS were seen on the 1st when 7 were present. One or two GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS are now present daily and EASTERN KINGBIRDS arrived on the 2nd. The first saw 15 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS and the first WARBLING VIREO. Four COMMON RAVENS were seen together on the 30th. The first VEERY appeared on the 3rd, as did the first WOOD THRUSHES and SWAINSONS THRUSH, with HERMIT THRUSHES numbering 40 that day. The first GREY CATBIRDS arrived on the 3rd, 8 of them. 22 Species of warbler were seen this week including 21 species on the 3rd. The first AMERICAN TREE SPARROW of the spring was seen on the 1st May and was very nearly the latest ever date for here. WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS arrived on the 1st and numbered 120 on the 3rd which also saw a GAMBELL’S form being banded. The first BOBOLINK was seen on the 3rd. The first BALTIMORE ORIOLE was seen on the 1st and 15 were recorded on the 3rd.

128 species have been seen so far this SPRING. The highest total of species observed for the week was on May 3rd with 91.

Bohemian Waxing. Photo© Bruce Parker

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  1. Cheryl Anderson says:

    And don’t forget Ted Cheskey’s talk – the importance of Important Bird Areas, Bloomfield Town Hall Wed May 16, 7 pm. Ted is Nature Canada’s Bird Conservation Manager. He will also lead a walk at Ostrander Point (Babylon & Helmer Rd corner for parking)on Thursday May 17 at 8:30 am. Meet at the Mary and Elizabeth St Parking Lot at 8 am for car pooling.

  2. Doris Lane says:

    This is truly one of the most positive things that happens in Prince Edward County. Everyone should go down to Prince Edward Point. Be sure and attend some of the festivities that are happening during. the birding festival

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