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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 14 to 21 February

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 22, 2019) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

With an average 83 cm (33 in) of snow on the ground, it seemed a little optimistic to look for signs of spring this week but there was at least one. Researchers found the first CANADA JAY nest under construction on Thursday (Feb 21). It appears that two WILD TURKEYS are continuing at Mew Lake Campground, contrary to my last Ontbirds post indicating only one survivor. Noteworthy species this week was a MERLIN reported at the entrance to Spruce Bog Boardwalk (Feb 14). The walking trails are well packed down and so the many birders visiting Algonquin over the holiday weekend produced more observations.

BOREAL RESIDENTS: There were reports of BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and Western Uplands Backpacking Trail (Feb 17) and Mizzy Lake Trail and Track and Tower Trail (Feb 18). A BOREAL CHICKADEE was found along the Bat Lake Trail (Feb 17). CANADA JAYS were again regularly observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road near the winter gate, and the Logging Museum trail. Spruce Grouse went unreported this week; try Spruce Bog Boardwalk.

WINTER FINCHES: The female EVENING GROSBEAK was observed at the Visitor Centre feeders until at least Feb 18. From 10 to 19 PINE GROSBEAKS came to the feeders daily, and infrequently a few were seen along the highway. By the end of the week there were six COMMON REDPOLLS, including the continuing “Greater” (rostrata), at the Visitor Centre. A single HOARY REDPOLL was noted there by at least three lucky observers on Feb 16. Five AMERCIAN GOLDFINCHES came daily to the feeders.

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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