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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 31 January to 7 February

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 7, 2019) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Unfortunately, the Visitor Centre was closed most of this week for emergency repairs but it opened again today. Inconvenience caused for park visitors is sincerely regretted. Since most recent bird reports have been from the Visitor Centre feeders, this week’s post has limited information.

The original range of the WILD TURKEY did not extend this far north in southern Ontario, but birds from nearby introduced populations were first noted in Algonquin Park during 2002, breeding was first detected in 2007, and regular winter observations began in 2009. Most overwintering turkeys in the Park get some food provided by people but they also show a remarkable ability to find natural food despite the deep snow. However, this winter with extensive periods of very cold temperatures appears to have taken its toll. A flock in Mew Lake Campground of at least 13 in November was down to 9 in December, 7 in early January and 2 by this week. Evidence of hunger included these turkeys regularly running up to people and feeding from the hand. Research near Sudbury showed that depredation and gradual starvation, especially of females, decimated many turkeys by late winter.

CANADA JAYS remain reliable at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Opeongo Road near the winter gate and north of there. Look for SPRUCE GROUSE and BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER at those locations as well. A BOREAL CHICKADEE was found on Opeongo Road near the winter gate on Saturday.

The female EVENING GROSBEAK persisted at the Visitor Centre feeders early in the week and may still be around. Twenty-one PINE GROSBEAKS were counted there on Saturday and six were noted today. The continuing COMMON REDPOLL (rostrata) and HOARY REDPOLL (exilipes) were still at the Visitor Centre on Saturday but observations of the feeders were unavailable after that.

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, bookstore and restaurant at km 43 are open on weekends from 9 am to 5 pm. The Visitor Centre is also open with limited services on weekdays 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:

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

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