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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 1 March

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Mar. 1, 2018) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

There were a few more early signs of spring again this week. First sightings of Canada Goose, Herring Gull and European Starling were notably early. Northern Shrikes at km 38 (February 22) and the Western Uplands Backpacking Trail parking lot (February 27) may have been individuals moving back northward. And Blue Jays and Pine Siskins were observed courtship feeding.

March 2 will be the winterís fourth (and probably last) Bird Feeder Friday when feeders at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre are broadcast live on the internet from 9 am to 4 pm. Multiple views allow you to watch for common bird and mammal species (perhaps including a marten). This live video feed is brought to you by The Friends of Algonquin Park. A special thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited Toronto for providing bird feeders and seed for the Visitor Centre. To see the broadcast, tune in to:

Here are some locations where birders observed the listed species during the past week:

-Spruce Grouse: a displaying male and an as yet disinterested female were near the register box along Spruce Bog Boardwalk on February 24, and one was reported on that trail on February 27.

-Ruffed Grouse: seen regularly below the Visitor Centre feeders, at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, and on Opeongo Road.

-Wild Turkey: the nine birds that came daily to the Visitor Centre parking lot feeder during January were down to four by this week, perhaps reflecting mortality through predation and starvation in a winter environment that is harsh for this species.

-Black-backed Woodpecker: reported on Opeongo Road (including drumming heard) and Spruce Bog Boardwalk on several days.

-Canada Jay (Gray Jay): researchers had located the start of nests by five pairs as of February 26. Good places to see this species are Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road and the Logging Museum trail.

-Boreal Chickadee: no reports again.

-Pine Grosbeak: the only observation was of three at the cliff of the Two Rivers Trail on February 24.

-Purple Finch: regular along Highway 60, on Opeongo Road and at the Visitor Centre feeders.

-Red Crossbill: widespread; small flocks on the highway, especially after sanding/salting, and regularly seen off Visitor Centre viewing deck.

-White-winged Crossbill: not as plentiful as Red Crossbill but numerous; many singing during display flights.

-Common Redpoll: a single bird was observed at the Visitor Centre on February 24.

-Pine Siskin: widespread.

-American Goldfinch: common.

-Evening Grosbeak: about 20 came to the Visitor Centre feeders, and about the same number were observed near the winter gate on Opeongo Road.

Ron Tozer, Algonquin Park Naturalist (retired), Dwight, ON.

DIRECTIONS: Algonquin Provincial Park is three hours north of Toronto, via Highways 400, 11 and 60. Follow the signs which start in Toronto on Highway 400. From Ottawa, take Highway 17 to Renfrew, then follow Highway 60 to the park. Kilometre markers along Highway 60 in the Park go from the West Gate (km 0) to near the East Gate (km 56). The Visitor Centre exhibits and restaurant at km 43 are open on weekends from 9 am to 5 pm, and are also open with limited services through the week from 9 am to 4 pm. Get your park permit and Information Guide (with a map of birding locations mentioned above) at the East Gate, West Gate or Visitor Centre. Locations are also described at:

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