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Celebrate migration season at the bird observatory

-Marilyn Holland photo

As birds are returning to their wintering grounds in the southern hemisphere, Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory is in full operation monitoring migrations.

A full suite of thrushes, vireos and warblers has been observed and banded at the observatory on Prince Edward County’s south shore over the past three weeks. As birds continue to stream through, resting and feeding before continuing their journey south, waterfowl are also arriving to spend the winter in the waters off the south shore.

The South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area includes approximately 26 square kilometres of land and 65 square kilometres of near shore waters – encompassing about 30 kilometres of shoreline, the only lengthy, undeveloped strip of shoreline remaining on Lake Ontario.

This public is invited to view species and to learn about the activities at the Bird Observatory. Fall banding will continue every morning until Oct. 31, weather permitting. Nets are open for six hours after dawn so it is best to visit the observatory in mornings to see the birds up close.

Public activities begin with two half-day Fall Warbler Identification Workshops on Mondays Sept. 18 and 25. The workshops will be led by PEPtBO president Peter Fuller and will give participants tips and shortcuts for identifying those “confusing fall warblers”. The workshops are free of charge, but require interested individuals to register at .

On Thanksgiving weekend, PEPtBO offers two-hour guided hikes from the Bird Observatory on the Saturday and Monday, beginning at 9 am. On Saturday, Oct. 7 the public is invited join in the ‘Big Sit Raptor Watch’ from 11 am to 2 pm (bring your own lawn chair) and to view the Northern Saw Whet Owl banding from 8-9:30 pm. No registration is required for these activities. The owl banding will be cancelled in the event of rain.

The NatureHood educational program also continues. School groups are invited to the Bird Observatory for a half day curriculum linked program tailored to the grade level of the class. For information, or to book a visit, contact NatureHood Co-ordinators Cheryl Chapman ( ) or Mark Read ( )

Dr. Bridget Stutchbury is set to be the guest speaker at the PEPtBO annual fall funding dinner and silent auction on Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Waring House Inn. Dr. Stutchbury’s talk will be titled: Mission Impossible? Tracking the fate of young Wood Thrushes in a fragmented landscape. Tickets are $75 and include a tax receipt for the non-dinner portion. For more information, and tips on visiting the observatory, go to


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  1. ADJ says:

    Finally! someone else who recognizes the torture for lack of a better word these birds are put through. Imagine being trapped,entangled possibly upside down in a so called “mist net” for possibly 2-3 hours or even longer. And for what? So someone can come along and squeeze a metal band on your leg. Then there is the possibility the same bird will be caught again,even next week or the same way in the Spring migration! And all this for what? I want the birds protected yes but I don’t see this as anything but a science experiment.I congratulate the birders for their fight against the turbines but please,enjoy the migrating birds without your curious fascination with where they’ve been, how many miles they fly,how much they weigh etc.
    Oh I know I’m going to catch it from the Tilley folks but sorry it’s the way I feel.

  2. Bill Woods says:

    As these birds fly south with their offspring and friends, they are netted traumatically and handled by humans. When they are eventually released their flock is miles away without them. I would like to know what advantage this is to nature?

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