Winter Birding in Ontario

The mesmerizing beauty is so calming! Winter and birding seem like an unlikely pair. “What is there to see in the winter?” people often ask.
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Table of Contents

The truth is that winter in southern Ontario offers some extravagant avian rewards. What better remedy is there for the blues than the sight of a bufflehead gliding across frigid Lake Ontario and flaunting his iridescent plumage?

Some of my most rewarding winter birding in Ontario experiences have been watching common birds at feeders. I can think of no sight more stunning than a fiery red northern cardinal against a barren landscape. Photo credit: Lisa Pot

The call of a chickadee breathes life and whimsy into freezing days, a pine siskin — a grayish brownish finch — astounds us with its dazzling yellow wing bars, and the sight of an intrepid red-breasted nuthatch creeping headfirst down a tree will convert even the most skeptical into a die-hard winter birder. The tapping of a woodpecker — a downy, a hairy, a red-bellied or even something as exciting and rare as a black-backed — will lighten up the dreariest of days.

excerpts from by Julia Zaranking