| Nov 01, 2007


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NatureReflections - November 1, 2007

What Winter Birds Will Come?

Nature Reflections by Jean Griffin

Winter approaches! What winter birds will come? The indication is that food for some of the birds is scarce up north. Apparently seed and cone production will not be sufficient for all the birds to remain in the boreal forest. So look for an irruption of some of the birds that sometimes do not come our way in the winter season.

Already I have heard of Northern Shrikes being found in some areas of southern and eastern Ontario. If the shrikes who rely on voles, lemmings, etc. for food are moving south, will the Great Gray Owls and the Snowy Owls follow? It would be great to see these magnificent birds during the coming season, hopefully able to find sufficient food to keep them alive.

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This morning (Nov. 15th) I had a flock of about 15 Common Redpolls fly over, and I have had reports of small flocks in Perth and elsewhere. Keep your feeders stocked for these active little birds! Pine Siskins have also been reported in small flocks. Pine Grosbeaks have appeared east and south of Perth and flew over here a week ago. Evening Grosbeaks are turning up in small flocks in several places as well as at my feeders. The arrival of all these birds indicate that cones, berries and seeds are scarce up north. I hope there is sufficient food here to keep them around for the season.

I also anticipate an irruption of Bohemian Waxwings. I have not yet seen any but they are being reported in the Ottawa region - so if you see any waxwings take a good look - it could be them or their 'cousins', the Cedar Waxwings (also being observed in some areas).

An observation - my son saw an adult Bald Eagle on November 13, perched on a tree close to Armstrong Road. They will be around as long as there is open water where they may find fish or carrion.

Now it is time for me to say goodbye - Nature Reflections is retiring. (It has been rather inactive of late!) I have sold my house in the country and am moving to Perth in January. I want to thank all of you who have shared observations, stories, and comments with me. Thank you for the phone calls, the emails, and the pictures! I will continue to enjoy nature in my new back yard, though probably as a lesser number of species. May everyone have a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2008 - and continue to feed birds, watch animals and cherish wildlife! Jean.

Editor’s Note: We are very sad to lose Jean Griffin as a columnist. Over the years we, and our readers have enjoyed her columns very much. Taken together they form an impressive foundation of knowledge about the natural world around us.

We thank Jean for all her hard work and wish her well in her new home.

If there is a naturalist or someone who is interested in natural history among our readers, who would like to write a column, please give us a call at 613-279-3150; or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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