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Spring Birding Festival celebrates migrating birds

scarlet tanager

Scarlet Tanager photo by Bruce Parker

More birds migrate through Prince Edward County than anywhere else on the north shore of Lake Ontario. For many visitors to the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, the highlight of the season is seeing wood warblers, the brilliantly-coloured birds often described as the butterflies of the bird world.
The Observatory has them in abundance.

See them and the many migrants during the Spring Birding Festival May 11 – 20.
Knowledgeable volunteers will lead bird hikes through Traverse Woods (Prince Edward Point) daily from the 11th to the 20th,
starting at 8 a.m. On Saturday, May 11th and Saturday, May 18th, there will also be birding hikes from the Bird Observatory to the Lighthouse at 4p.m. On Sunday, May 19 at 8 a.m., meet at the Mariners’ Museum
for a guided driving tour of some of the birding hotspots in the County.
This event is sponsored on by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. The fee for each event is $5 and pre-registration is not required.

“The Spring Birding Festival is a wonderful way for families to participate in the world’s fastest-growing pastime,” says Cheryl Anderson, of peptbo. “Children are always fascinated by the banding demonstrations (daily at the banding lab, 10  a.m. – noon). There will be children’s activities, bird-friendly coffee, soup and light refreshments at the hospitality tent daily from 9:30 – 12:30 a.m., as well as a selection of merchandise to purchase.”

Bird photographers can enter their work in the photography competition. The deadline for entries is May 25th and work will be displayed at AV Frame and Photo on Main Street in Picton.

Two workshops will help birders improve their identification skills. On Saturday, May 11th, Terry Sprague will present Warblers I Have Known and Loved, 11 am – 1 pm. On Saturday, May 18th, Pamela Stagg will lead a workshop called Look Way Up – Raptor Identification, from 2 – 4 pm. The workshops will be presented at Jackson’s Falls Schoolhouse B&B. The fee for each program is $25 and pre-registration is recommended.

On Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30, there will be free presentation at Bloomfield Town Hall called Techno-birding. Presented by Pamela Stagg, the program will show how our understanding of birds is increasing dramatically through the use of technologies such as bird banding networks, radar and radio-tracking – even radio-isotope analysis of feathers to show where a bird has travelled.

For more information about the Spring Birding Festival, visit

Bay-breasted Warbler photographed by Bruce Parker. Naturalist Terry Sprague will present the workshop "Warblers I have known and loved - Sat. May 11, 11 am-1 pm. For details on this and other workshops and events, visit

Bay-breasted Warbler photographed by Bruce Parker. Naturalist Terry Sprague will present the workshop “Warblers I have known and loved – Sat. May 11, 11 am-1 pm. For details on this and other workshops and events, visit



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  1. In today’s strong winds and much cooler temperatures fewer numbers of migrants were found, although there were some nice pockets here and there where several species were present, the most notable being a Blue-winged Warbler. Winds have not only increased, but changed direction, making unfavourable conditions for further migrants to attempt a lake crossing. The Spring Birding Festival continues tomorrow and I will be leading another 8:00 a.m. foray along the maze of groomed trails in the Point Traverse Woods. Join us if you can. $5/person with proceeds to the Observatory.

  2. Rosemary Smith says:

    Despite the clouds, mist and strong breeze, yesterday (Sat May 11) was a terrific birding day … in the warbler family we saw Cape Mays, Blackburians, Parulas, Bay-breasted, Blue-winged, Black-throated blues and greens, Magnolias, Myrtles (of course), lots of kinglets, Scarlet Tanagers, Towhees, Wood Thrush and others. Definitely worth a trip down to Traverse Woods to see these amazing creatures who have just flown in from the tropics. Hot coffee in the hospitality tent at the Observatory.

  3. It is a wonderful location, rivalled only by Point Pelee. However, it is a shame that more local birders and residents don’t take advantage of this crown jewel in our very own county. Of the 23 I had on my guided walk into the Point Traverse Woods yesterday morning, only two were from the County. Quite a treat to see 19 species of warblers in one hour, some in unimaginable numbers. And to bask in the realization that only days earlier, these little neotropical migrants had been associating with bananaquits and motmots in Central America! The Birding Festival continues all this week.

  4. Doris Lane says:

    This is an opporunity not to be missed. Something for everyone. We should be so pround that our County has this wonderful place where birds from all over America visit

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