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Algonquin Park Birding Report: 20 February

*This report was originally posted by Ron Tozer on ONTBIRDS (Feb. 21, 2020) and is provided here with the kind permission of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

There were lots of birders in the Park this week and they were treated to a continuing good variety of winter finches. The Visitor Centre feeders and parking lot remain productive. At least 100 people saw Spruce Grouse on Saturday, including those on the “Winter in the Wild Festival” morning and afternoon guided walks at Spruce Bog Boardwalk. For many, this was a “life bird”.

Boreal Species

Spruce Grouse: a female and a male were observed feeding high in spruce and balsam fir trees near the first short boardwalk at the Spruce Bog Boardwalk entrance all week. One was also noted high in spruce south of the kettle bog section of that trail on Feb 17.

Black-backed Woodpecker: a male was photographed near the winter gate on Opeongo Road and one was seen at the Logging Museum, both on Feb 20.

Canada Jay: continued to be seen regularly at Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Opeongo Road and the Logging Museum Trail.

Boreal Chickadee: none reported since late December.

Winter Finches

Evening Grosbeak: up to 20 daily at the Visitor Centre feeders, mostly in the morning.

PINE GROSBEAK: one was reported on Opeongo Road on Feb 17.

Purple Finch: widespread in low numbers; regular at the Visitor Centre.

Red Crossbill: widespread observations continue; seen daily at the Visitor Centre.

White-winged Crossbill: widespread in relatively small numbers; frequently heard singing as nesting appears to be in progress.

Pine Siskin: widespread along Highway 60 and regular at the Visitor Centre, with up to 20 reported there this week.

American Goldfinch: widespread in low numbers along Highway 60; up to 20 daily at the Visitor Centre.

Additional birds seen regularly at the Visitor Centre included: Ruffed Grouse (1), American Tree Sparrow (up to 7), Dark-eyed Junco (up to 7) and Red-winged Blackbird (first year male present since Jan 8). Tree Sparrows and Juncos are usually not present in Algonquin Park during winter but do occur when there are large tree seed crops and lower than normal early winter snow depth, as in this winter. Fallen tree seeds provide food for these two species.

The Friends of Algonquin Park is offering live streaming views of the feeders at the Visitor Centre daily, during both the day and night. Wildlife monitoring activities are expected to continue at the feeders until March 31, but warmer weather conditions may end operations sooner. Tune in to see what is active:

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 showing 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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