With waterfowl leading the charge, birders and local experts are reporting that many species of migratory birds are heading north, slightly ahead of schedule in 2016. 

Although activity halted slightly in the last week or so as we received a touch of cooler weather from Mother Nature, sightings migrants continue to grow here in the greater Ottawa area.  A report from the eastern Ottawa are of Bourget-Pendleton-Riceville area on March 21st, produced 30,000 snow geese, thousands more Canada geese and hundreds of northern pintails.

A group of birders in eastern Canada set out for a day of birding new Fundy National Park in New Brunswick and were absolutely floored at the number of migrants they were able to observe that day.


“You could hear dozens upon dozens of blackbirds and grackles. You would get to some backyards and there be two to three hundred birds in the trees and on the yard,” Alain Clavette told CBC News.

The group went on to spot song sparrows, green-winged teals, American widgens, northern flickers and large groups of robins in the area, which Clavette believes to be slightly ahead of schedule, as compared to previous years.

“I would say by about 10 days to 14 days some of them,” Clavette said.

Closer to our neck of the woods, there are many reports of raptors migrating along the Dunrobin Ridge, in the western part of the city.  Golden eagles, bald eagles, northern goshawks, red-shouldered hawks and merlins have all been reported by birders in the area, close to the Thomas Dolan Parkway.

While some of us might not have had a chance to get out and actively observe some arrivals, heading outside in the early morning hours certainly highlights the fact that many birds are already here.  Despite frigid temperatures, the faint song of birds is certainly beginning to fill the air.

While temperatures dip during the night-time hours, we highly recommend absolute vigilance with regards to your feeders.  For migrants that have already arrived, a reliable and healthy food source is essential.  The other upside to this is, with more migrants arriving each and every day, the number one thing that attracts these spring arrivals is a constant food source.  Keep those feeders and bird baths full and you should be delighted with many new birds over the coming weeks.


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