Willowdale Bird Migration

by Anne McConnell, Edithvale-Yonge Community Association

The second annual Willowdale Bird Migration Meet-Up was planned for May, 2020 by the Edithvale-Yonge Community, West Willowdale Neighbourhood and Willowdale Central Neighbourhood Associations, as part of the Toronto Bird Celebration.  The event has been postponed, but if you’ve been spending time looking out your window, even if you are completely new to birds, there are still lots of things you can do!

Willowdale’s resident birds such as the American Robin, Northern Cardinal and American Goldfinch are busy singing in our neighbourhoods now.  As the spring bird migration unfolds, peaking during the month of May and continuing into June, many more colourful species such as the Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole and Indigo Bunting will return to Willowdale from points further south.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks will return home to our trees, parks and birdfeeders during the first half of May.  Amazingly, like other returning migrants, they will have flown under their own power all the way from their wintering grounds thousands of miles away in Central and South America!  Once back here, they will nest and raise families over the summer, before flying south again in the fall.  Learn more about the Rose-breasted Grosbeak’s amazing life here.

For new bird enthusiasts, a great starting point is the Toronto Bird Celebration website for a guide to Toronto’s birds, and more.  As well, The Roost from Birds Canada is a wealth of information and fun family activities:  look for the junior birder guide or Yard Bird Bingo that will have you taking a closer look at your backyard or nearby greenspace;  check out the Roost’s bird sketching tutorial or songbird podcasts; and much more.

There is joy and comfort in seeing both familiar and new-to-us birds in our neighbourhoods.  We invite you to enjoy exploring more about our birds from the safety and comfort of your homes or virtual classrooms this spring!

Photo courtesy Mark Peck – Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)