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Birds in Ontario

Part of visiting any place is seeing the wildlife that lives there and birds in Ontario certainly add a touch of exotica to the Province.

Ontario has a wealth of colorful avian summer visitors, probably as many as there are human visitors.

Many birds move up from the southern states each spring, returning in the autumn to escape the cold.

In between, of course, they do all the interesting stuff like courting, building nests, mating, bringing up the kids and sending them out into the world for better or worse. 

Birds in Ontario -- Water Birds

Ontario Birds, Great Egret

Some you'd expect to see much further south, like Egrets, brighten the shores of many Ontario lakes.

The Great Egret is big, at 38" end-to-end it's almost as big as the Great Blue Heron. With it's bright white color, it stands out against the reeds like a beacon.

They tend to be found around the southern edge of the province, along the shorelines of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie creeks and marshes, unlike Herons that are pretty well found throughout Ontario.

To see larger sizes of the photos on the page, click on any one and then click on the button in the top right corner of the gallery image.

Ontario Birds, Great Blue Heron catching breakfast

Great Blue Herons stay all year if the water doesn't freeze in the creeks around the Great Lakes.

Herons eat fish, of course, but also frogs and baby turtles, which must make for a peculiarly crunchy meal.

Ontario Birds, Whistling Swan in full flight

Trumpeter or Whistling swans have struggled to survive in Ontario; they're being 'out competed' by their Eurasian cousin.

They're still around in places and are being encouraged by breeding programs in many areas.

Land Birds

Ontario Birds, Cardinal in his best Spring outfit

Then there are Cardinals that really do live all year round in Ontario.They're so synonymous with winter in the north-east of North America, they're on Christmas cards and trees in almost every household.

This male is showing his best 'punk' hairdo in the annual spring mating season.

It's often seemed to me that animals pack a lot of fun into their relatively short lives.

Every year they go through the courting, mating, setting up home and bringing up the kids routine that we do only once or perhaps twice in a lifetime.

Ontario Birds, wild turkey in his Spring plumage

And, as we're in the mating mood, here's a wild Turkey, a 'Tom', displaying all his feathered finery. Compared to these guys, rappers are positively restrained in their bling.

Wild turkeys are one of the birds in Ontario that have been re-introduced over the past few years and they really seem to be making a go of it, despite the foxes, wolves and coyotes that also seem to be increasing in numbers (maybe there's a connection there:-)

Ontario Birds, wild turkey in full Spring Regalia

This is the same fella (you don't see this kind of event THAT often) -- a full-frontal view this time. The colors and patterns on the face and feathers are startling. I'd expect it to put off any self-respecting female turkey (they're much more demure) but then what do I know.

Ontario Birds, Flicker hunting ants

Flickers are one of the birds of Ontario that stays in Ontario if the winter is mild enough to leave them some bugs to eat. Most years the winter doesn't and they head south.

This one is lunching on ants, which is why I like flickers. Our house is invaded each spring by ants and I feel some greater effort on the part of our flickers would stop me having to buy ant traps.

Ontario Birds, Osprey looking for fish

This Osprey was heading out to pick up lunch from the Trent river for its hungry chick.

If you're enjoying this page, you'll also enjoy our Photos or Raptors or Owls pages, or, for birdwatching farther afield, but still in Canada, Birding in New Brunswick.

Ontario Birds, Turkey Vulture

Another one of the birds in Ontario that heads south when the weather gets rough is the Turkey Vulture. These large carrion-eating birds can be seen floating above Ontario's woods and fields all summer long in search of animals that have died.

Vultures are big, osprey or small eagle-sized, and all black against the sky. However, as the photo shows, the flight feathers are paler than the rest. The other ways to recognize them from a distance is they hold their heads in close to the body so it looks tiny and they soar with their wings in a shallow V. Eagles and other raptors generally have a flat wing shape.

Ontario Birds, female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

From one of Ontario's largest species, the vulture, to what is probably the smallest of the birds in Ontario. This ruby-throated hummingbird is a summer visitor that loves orange or red flowers and, of course, backyard hummingbird feeders.

The reason this one doesn't have a ruby throat is because it's a female. In the avian world it's usually the male who is the show-off and the female that is the larger.

Ontario Birds, Mockingbird

This Mockingbird is feeding on sloe-berries, the few left on the bush after the starlings stripped it in the previous Fall.

The Mockingbird often stays through Ontario's winter, which surprises me because they're the State Bird of Florida, which you'd think would be enough invitation to have them heading south and out of the cold.

If you're watching wildlife while you're in Ontario, look out for these other colorful sights in Ontario's skies, butterflies and dragonflies.

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And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:

Tours To Explore

Niagara Falls
Freedom Day Trip
from Toronto

Toronto Entertainment
District Tour

10-Day New England
and Canada Fall Foliage
Motor Coach Tour

Niagara Falls
Evening Lights
Day Trip from Toronto

Ultimate Toronto Tour

Eastern Canada Tour

Private Tour:
Toronto Helicopter Ride

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Dvd To Explore

Ontario Pictures