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Watching Birds Naked

Dr. David Bird with a white Goshawk.

Dr. David Bird, considered one of the world’s leading experts on birds of prey, will talk about “Watching Birds Naked” as guest speaker at the annual Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory fundraising dinner Saturday, Oct. 23.
Event proceeds support the work of PEPtBO, located along the eastern tip of Prince Edward County about 20 minutes southeast of Picton, in a National Wildlife Area. The observatory was established as a migration monitoring station in 1995 to continue the research started by the Kingston Field Naturalists in the 1970s and 80s. The banding site is significant due to the tremendous number of migratory birds that pass through the area. The Canadian Nature Federation and Bird Studies Canada designated Prince Edward Point as a Globally Important Birding Area (IBA) in 1998.
Fall Migration starts in mid August at PEPtBO and continues throughout October. They watch and record journeys over Lake Ontario.  Daily banding and bird census takes place until October 31.  The mist nets are up every day from dawn for six hours.  At the first of October PEPtBO begins night time banding of Northern Saw Whet Owls.  Visitors are always welcome at the banding laboratory.
The fall fundraising dinner highlights the end of the season and helps fund the year’s activities.
David Bird first went to McGill University to study artificial insemination in falcons, believing that a successful captive breeding program might be the salvation for many populations of birds of prey endangered by the rampant use of chemicals such as DDT. He obtained his M.Sc. in 1976 and was appointed curator of the Macdonald Raptor Research Centre and completed his Ph.D. in 1978.
As director of what is now called the Avian Science and Conservation Centre, he has published more than 165 scientific paperes on birds of prey. As a professor of wildlife biology, he teaches several courses in ornithology, fish and wildlife conservation and is often consulted by governments, universities, funding bodies, corporations and the public. He is the only original member still serving on the Recovery Team for the Peregrine Falcon.
Mr. Bird has written and co-edited seven books, including City Critters: How to Live with Urban Wildlife and in 1999, The Bird Almanac: The Ultimate Guide to Facts and Figures on the World’s Birds, Bird’s Eye-View: A Practical Compendium for Bird-Lovers, and more recently, Birds of Canada. He is also is a regular columnist on birds for The Gazette of Montreal and Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine.
Tickets are available at Books & Co. (cheques and cash), The Waring House (credit card only) and the Bird Observatory.  For information: email

Visit here for PEPtBO Weekly Observation Reports

Oct 8th – 14th

80 TURKEY VULTURES WERE seen on the 12th otherwise less than 7 a day have been seen all week. MALLARDS increased to 20 on the 13th and an AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL was seen on the 9th, Turkey Vultureoffshore up to 1000 GREATER SCAUP have been seen as have up to 150 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, the 13th saw the first 8 LONG-TAILED DUCKS of the season go past and 15 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS were also seen that day. Raptor numbers have dropped to almost none since the 9th. Two shorebirds were seen this week a LESSER YELLOWLEGS flew over calling in the 11th and a SEMI-PALMATED PLOVER was on the beach near the lighthouse on the 13th. A BARRED OWL was banded on the 9th and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS had a big push all week, a total of 571 were banded with a peak of 155 on the 10th, including a few seen in the bushes there were four days this week with over a hundred seen. A BELTED KINGFISHER was seen on the 12th and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was seen on the 10th, it looks as though HAIRY WOODPECKERS have started to move with a peak of 4 seen on the 13th.Up to 6 EASTERN PHOEBE’S have been seen in a day. BLUE-HEADED VIREOS have dropped to 5-7 a day and RED-EYED VIREOS were last seen on the 9th. Small groups of BLUE JAYS continue to move with peak counts of 350 on the 8th and 250 on the 12th. What would fall be without a few BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE’S around, and they have definitely been moving this week, over 230 have been banded and up to 350 a day have been seen going over. A late HOUSE WREN seen on the 9th is the only record for this October. GOLDEN and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS continue to move with a peak count of 250 GOLDEN’S on the 10th and 55 RUBY’S on the 9th. The first EASTERN BLUEBIRD of the fall flew over on the 8th and a late SWAINSON’S THRUSH was banded on the 10th, HERMIT THRUSHES have numbered 20 or less all week and a few days have had AMERICAN ROBINS are starting to move, 70 were seen on the 8th and 75 were counted on the 13th. An AMERICAN PIPIT was seen on the 8th. Only five species of Warbler were seen this week, NASHVILLE, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, MYRTLE, WESTERN PALM and a single PINE WARBLER on the 10th. MYRTLE WARBLERS peaked at 50 on the 10th, all the other species had a maximum of 2 seen in a day. 4 CHIPPING SPARROWS were seen on two dates, The only SWAMP SPARROW for this October was banded on the 11th, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS numbered 50 on the 8th but have decreased since, 50 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were seen on the 11th but other than that less than 25 a day are being seen, SLATE-COLOURED JUNCO’S peaked at 40 on the 8th and 9th. An EASTERN MEADOWLARK flew over on the 9th while 65 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were counted on the 9th as well. The first BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD in over a month was seen on the 13th, finally another HOUSE SPARROW was seen on the 11th.

Oct 1st – 7th

The DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS offshore have now dropped down to a hundred or so a day. TURKEY VULTURES numbered 350 on the 6th and 700 the following day, a day when a good movement of raptors was had. AN AMERICAN BLACK DUCK was seen in the harbour on the 6th along with the MALLARD. 13 NORTHERN PINTAIL flew over on the 5th and GREATER SCAUP numbered at least a 1000 on the 6th. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are also increasing and 65 were seen offshore on the 6th, a single was seen on the 2nd and two were present on the 7th. A late OSPREY was seen on the 4th and BALD EAGLES have been seen on and off all week. A female PEREGRINE flew over on the 5th and on the 7th there were 280 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, 6 NORTHERN HARRIERS, 3 NORTHERN GOSHAWKS, the first RED-SHOULDERED HAWK of the fall and at least 25 RED-TAILED HAWKS. SAW-WHET OWLS have been slow this week and only 15 were banded. A BELTED KINGFISHER continues to haunt the harbour and 10 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS were noted on the 2nd. A late YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was banded on the 2nd, 3-5 EASTERN PHOEBE’S have been present all week, up to 45 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS could be found in the bushes and 1-5 RED-EYED VIREOS have also been around, on the 1st there were two PHILADELPHIA VIREOS banded. BLUE JAY migration has slowed down and peaked at 550 on the 1st, most other days have had 100 or so being seen going over. BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES have started to increase and up to 15 were noted in the bushes. RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES continue in their good fall numbers with up to 15 in a day being recorded. BROWN CREEPERS have remained steady with up to 40 a day being seen. GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS have increased and peaked at at least 500 on the 6th, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS are also moving but in lesser numbers and 200 on the 6th was the most in a day. A late BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was photographed on the 2nd. GREY-CHEEKED and SWAINSON’S THRUSHES have decreased but HERMIT THRUSHES continue to move with the peak of 65 being seen on the 2nd. As fall progresses, we start to see a return of some of the breeding species, Rusty Blackibrdsmigrant AMERICAN ROBINS are starting to be seen in the early morning and up to 55 a day are being recorded. 36 AMERICAN PIPITS on the 5th was noteworthy. Just to show that all is not over, 16 species of warbler were seen during the week. Highlights of the week were an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and a TENNESSEE WARBLER on the 2nd, a PINE and a YELLOW PALM WARBLER on the 1st, up to 200 MYRTLE WARBLERS on the 1st and 2nd, an AMERICAN REDSTART on the 1st and 2 WILSONS WARBLERS on the 3rd. A SCARLET TANAGER with a band on it was retrapped on the 6th. Among the sparrows was an early FOX SPARROW on the 4th, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS numbered 100 on the 2nd and 7th, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS have remained constant at around 35 a day. SLATE-COLOURED JUNCO’S arrived in force on the 3rd and 100-130 have been seen daily since then. October is the time when the blackbirds return and RUSTY BLACKBIRDS numbered and impressive 180 and 175 on the 1st and 2nd, 300 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS flew over on the 7th as did 75 COMMON GRACKLES. A rarity at the point, a HOUSE SPARROW, was trapped on the 7th, only the third time one has ever been banded in the fall with the last one being done in 2003.

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  1. Didn’t notice any mention of bald eagles??

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