Although we are only in the heart of the summer months here in Ontario, many avid bird watchers are not only beginning to gear up for the fall migration season but are already taking part in it. This time of the year offers some of the heaviest migration activities from shorebirds heading south.

Adult shorebirds often begin their trek earlier than juveniles and will be the first ones to be seen passing through as they depart the Arctic and look for warmer climates. This offers Ontario bird enthusiasts a unique opportunity each summer to catch a glimpse of a wide variety of shorebird species.

As most shorebirds travel long distances in their migration, the fall migration period for them can stretch as long as from June until November or sometimes even later, depending on temperatures. At the moment, you should be seeing large amounts of adult shorebirds already in Ontario, with the juveniles joining the adults over the next few weeks. Juveniles typically will outnumber the adult birds by the middle-end of August.

Shorebird watching is a very popular and pleasurable experience for birders, as these birds often lend themselves to close encounters and great photo-ops. As we head into the middle of August, there is really no better time to catch a glimpse of shorebirds in various locations across Ontario. From the middle of August to the early days of September, it is more than possible to log over 20 different shorebird species in one day!


Some of the best places to find an abundant amount of shorebirds are sewage lagoons with low water levels. Other fantastic locations across the province of Ontario include Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the St. Lawrence River, and the Ottawa River.

Some of the species you can expect to see:

  • Lesser Yellowlegs
  • Least Sandpipers
  • Semipalmated Sandpipers
  • Short-billed Dowitchers
  • American Golden Plover
  • Greater Yellowlegs
  • Sanderling
  • White-rumped Sandpiper
  • Dunlin
  • Stilt Sandpiper
  • And many more!


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