Opinion Column

BIRDWATCH: Owling Night being held at Shaw Woods Saturday night

Ken Hooles

By Ken Hooles, Daily Observer

Getty images

A woodcock walking in the snow. There is a good chance that this bird, the American Woodcock will be heard or seen on this weekend's Owl Prowl Two.

Getty images A woodcock walking in the snow. There is a good chance that this bird, the American Woodcock will be heard or seen on this weekend's Owl Prowl Two.


The Pembroke Area Field Naturalists has just announced its second event for 2017. This is the club's popular 'Owling Night' (Owl Prowl Two) to be held on Saturday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m. This outing is excellent for locating Barred Owls, the occasional Great Horned Owl and little Saw Whet Owls. On one previous occasion, the group was fortunate to locate a rare Long-eared Owl. Due to the fact that this is breeding season for Barred Owls, the conditions are good for Owl hunting; those of you who attend the event should see and hear several Owls and perhaps an American Woodcock as well.


If you are interested in attending this event, please meet trip leader, Christian Renault, in the parking lot at Shaw Woods. To get there, travel down Highway 41, cross the bridge just pass the Highway 41 and Lake Dore intersection, turn immediately left on the next road and look for the Shaw Woods parking lot on the right. To reduce the number of cars, the club highly encourages participants to car pool during the driving portion of this event. It is also recommended that you dress warmly. For more information, please contact Christian at 613-717-3142.

On the local scene, the cold weather last week delayed our spring migration, yet despite the weather a few early spring birds still managed to arrive. These included more Red-winged Blackbirds, Robins, a few Common Grackles, Ring-billed Gulls, Horned Larks, Dark-eyed Juncos and Canada Geese.

In addition, if you are getting large flocks of American Goldfinch at your feeder, carefully check these birds out closely as I have found the occasional Pine Siskin and Common Redpoll among them. There have also been reports of the return of Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels back in our area. During the next two weeks, we could get an influx of Pine Siskin and Dark-eyed Juncos gradually making their way north from the northern states.

Over the next two weeks, expect the arrival of many more Red-winged Blackbirds, American Robins, Common Grackles, Horned Larks, Killdeer, Northern Harrier, American Woodcock and our first waterfowl Mallards and Hooded Mergansers.

On March 15, Myron Loback of Sandy Beach Road area informed me that he has had Red-winged Blackbirds in his area as well as sighting an American Robin on his travels.

Around this same period, Jane Hebert of Moffat Street area was quite amused to observe a small flock of Wild Turkeys marching in a row down her street. You do not see that in the city too often.

On March 2, Blaine McEwan of Pembroke sent me a great picture of a Cardinal sitting on a structure near his home. As the weather gets warmer, Cardinals like to fly high in the trees and sing.

Finally, this is an excellent time to update you on the rare birds sighted during the month of March across our province. These included Eurasian Widgeon (Long Point), Ross’s Goose (Keswick), Pied-billed Grebe (Almonte), Gyrafalcon (Carleton Place), Cackling Geese (Alymer), Tundra Swans (Brighton), Fish Crow (St. Catharines), Greater White-fronted Geese (Toronto), Eastern Meadowlark (Long Point), King Eider (Toronto), Peregrine Falcon (Peterborough), Little Gull (Long Point) and the best, an Ivory Gull (Essex County).

Please call me with your bird sightings at 613-735-4430, or email at hooles@bell.net. For more information on upcoming nature events and other links to nature, just Google the Pembroke Area Field Naturalists’ website or like us on Facebook.


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