One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

Soon the Fun Begins with May Just Ahead

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It won’t be long now as April winds down until the Huron Fringe Birding Festival is in full swing. Events are certainly filling up but there are still some events with great leaders that have some room for you or a friend to join in the fun. Leaders like James Turland, Pete Read, Kiah Jasper, Abby Collins and more would love if you could join them on the events they are leading that still have a bit of room.

Recently a few species of warblers have begun to arrive in the area and the initial shorebirds have started showing up around some of the ponds. When the weather starts to warm more in May and June many more of these migrating birds will arrive for a visit or to get ready to raise a family right in the area. It always a challenge to get a view or a photo of these bright birds as they zip through the trees looking for bugs or follow them as they head to their nest site hidden in the trees or foliage of the area.

Cape May Warbler

The thrills of seeing birds, visiting with birding friends, trying to spot that “first of year” bird are all parts of the festival that keep people coming back each year. It’s a place to learn, to enjoy and to see nature at its very best as Spring encourages the forests and grasslands to come alive with birds, animals and the green of new growth. Take a day or two or even more out of your busy life to wind down a bit and relax with friendly folks on a hike through the wilds of Bruce and Grey Counties. You wont regret it. If you don’t already have a link to the website here’s where to start your adventure.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival – Huron Fringe Birding Festival

On the Search for Those Elusive Birds

These days I notice more of our winter birds filling up at feeders or disappearing from the area entirely as they head to the far north where they raise their families. On days when the temperature rises a bit, bugs can be seen clustering together and hiding in trees providing the much-needed food that the newly arriving birds will need. It’s these early signs that get you eager to find that new bird in the yard or flying overhead. One by one new species will appear, and the numbers will steadily climb as May progresses.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

If you’ve already signed up for some events spread the word to some of your friends that there are still some spots available on some very interesting hikes with very knowledgeable leaders. Give them the opportunity to experience this birding and nature fun provided by this the 25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival. Looking forward to seeing lots of you out enjoying some fresh spring air, fresh spring birds and all that goes with nature as it is renewed this Spring.

Our Mascot the American Redstart

Written by huronfringefest

April 24, 2023 at 9:58 am

Posted in BIRDING

25th Festival Events are Filling Quickly

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After only 1 day of registration many events are already full with people on the waiting lists. There must be many of us (myself included) looking forward to some warm spring birding events! As the snow blows by the window today a sunny spring walk through MacGregor Park or a drive along some local grasslands seeing some of the migrating or resident birds has a wonderful ring to it. Although there are several events full, there are still some with the same leaders that have spaces left for more of you to join in the fun. Imagine catching sight of an Upland sandpiper perched on a fencepost.

Upland Sandpiper

Warblers are always a favourite in May and June as their bright colours really catch your eye. Some are still migrating through at this time and others are on territory getting ready to start a 2023 family. As the leaves come out the settings are even better for photographing your favourite warbler as it peeks out from behind the leafy cover of forests or grasses.

Pine warbler

No matter where you go in the MacGregor Park area there are birds to see, trees to identify, wild plants to become familiar with and basically lots to see and learn about. The leaders we have at the Festival to guide you have a wonderful knowledge of the natural world and are happy to answer any questions you have. For each of the events you can select the leaders name and a bio will pop up so you can see the varied backgrounds of each of our knowledgeable leaders.

Over the length of the festival up to 199 species have been seen each year with the average being about 180. That should be more than enough fun for the birders in the crowd and with just a bit more help from all of you maybe this year we can get to 200 species. That would be a great milestone for the 25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival to attain.

Canada Warbler

As well as seeing birds, plants, trees and insects capturing them in photos is something most of us now try to do for memories in years to come. Several of our events will help you with your photography as well as identifying what you are taking photos of. These days it doesn’t matter what you use to capture these photos as everything from phones to mirrorless cameras can be used. A festival event is a good place to learn techniques and settings.

Canada Columbine

If you missed the first day of registration for some reason there is still time to pick some interesting event or events to attend and enjoy the outdoors in this area, I hope more of you can join in and share the fun of our celebration of the 25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Written by huronfringefest

March 18, 2023 at 11:02 am

Posted in BIRDING

Spring is Arriving as the Days Lengthen!

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Eastern Bluebirds

The countdown is on as we’ve finally reached March so get ready for March 17th when the registration opens up for the 25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival. The days are getting a bit longer and some of them are even brighter with a bit of sunshine trying hard to find a way through the clouds. Although it appears it will stay relatively cool for the first part of March the spring migrants will be trying their best to make their first appearances of 2023. Along the sides of the roads Horned Larks and Snow Buntings can often be seen as they get ready to head north to their spring breeding grounds. Some of the larks will stay in the area as their breeding grounds extend from Bruce County to the islands far to the north of us but the buntings will all disappear until later in the year when they make their return trip south.

Snow Bunting

Common Ravens, Great Horned owls as well as other owl species will be pairing up now and getting ready to raise new families for 2023. Buds are appearing now on some trees and bushes and the birds we do have here presently are starting to sing more as the days get longer. Once we get warmer weather for bugs to start appearing the bird migration will start to accelerate with the May time period being one of the busiest as the bright warblers flit through the trees.

Blackburnian Warbler

If you haven’t already, check out the festival program, read up on the leaders bios, and decide which events would best suit you for a wonderful time of birding the Grey/Bruce area. There are also a variety of interesting programs on other aspects of nature as well, so take a few minutes and become familiar with what we are offering this special year.

If you don’t already have a bookmark, here’s a link to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival website where all the information is available to you:

Looking forward to seeing you in May and June for interesting outdoor activities and renewals of friendships as the 25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival welcomes everyone to our area. Join in with the fun!

Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid

Written by huronfringefest

March 5, 2023 at 1:52 pm

Posted in BIRDING

A New Year Has Begun

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Its nice to welcome in 2023 as the activity of a busy Christmas season starts to die down. For those who forgot, the Schedule of Events for the 25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival became available to view online in December. Its time to check it out and see what interesting events might appeal to each of you.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival – Schedule of Events

With the milder winter in this area so far birds have been able to find more of their food naturally and haven’t been showing up at feeders as much. If the snow arrives again as I suspect it will, I’m sure more birds will be visible in yards near the feeders. There are still some surprises when you go for a drive in the countryside as a large flock of Snow buntings may fly over or settle on the road in front of you to entertain you, before off they go across the fields again! There do seem to be fewer Snowy owls in the area this year but its still quite exciting to come across one sitting on a fence post or even trying to hide behind a rock out of the wind. They usually pick a high spot in a wide open area so once you are away from trees keep your eyes open and you may get a treat.

Male Snowy Owl

The lake is still open, so ducks and grebes are still visible along the shores or in bays that aren’t quite frozen yet. Up to 50 Bald eagles have gathered in the Baie du Dore area to spend the winter and hopefully catch some fish or duck as the season progresses. While the bay is not frozen these large birds can be seen easily from shore as they perch and watch over the area. Once the cold weather hits and the ice returns the eagles will be much farther out perched on rocks or high pieces of ice.

Juvenile Bald eagle

If you see a collection of gulls, stop, and check them out carefully as there have been some interesting gulls seen in Ontario this season. From Great-Black-backed all the way down to the smallest Little gull several species have been observed with rarities mixed in. It’s a good time to hone your gull skills as there are a variety of ages of each of the species as well.

Several other winter bird species are presently around but by spring they will again be winging their way north so get out and see if you can find some Evening grosbeaks, Pine grosbeaks, Common redpolls, Northern shrikes or other birds not seen so much in the warmer weather. EBird is a good way to see what species are being seen in your area as well as where they have previously been seen.

Pine grosbeaks

Enjoy the winter as it unfolds but as you peruse the 25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival schedule of events keep in mind that registration is active on March 17th this year at 6:00 am. You can create an account before this and be ready just to log on to select the events you want to attend.

Have a wonderful winter of birding fun and get ready for the Festival when Spring rolls around.

Written by huronfringefest

January 13, 2023 at 3:12 pm

Posted in BIRDING

25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival in The Works.

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At this time of year most of the fall migrants have moved through and several of the winter ones haven’t moved in yet. It is a busy time of year though for the Huron Fringe Birding Festival committee as plans are being worked on for the 25th festival in the spring of 2023. The program committee is putting together a special collection of events for a very special year.

American Redstart – Our Mascot

This time of year may be a bit slow and unexciting for many birders but one of our past and future leaders has just set a new record for the most species of birds seen in Ontario in one year and there are still over two months left in the year. Kiah Jasper surpassed Jeremey Bensettes 2017 record of 346 species in a year in Ontario with a Tropical Kingbird seen in the Windsor area recently. He added a few more species shortly after that as he saw his first Purple Sandpiper, a Townsends warbler, a Cattle egret, a Red phalarope and presently sits at 351 species for the year. Other birders also doing a “Big Year” are close behind Kiah so the next two and a half months will be an exciting time for those diligent birders. It will be interesting during the next festival to hear Kiahs story of his year and see just how many birds he was able to see during the whole year.

Kiah Jasper

For the rest of us its time to watch as the crops are harvested from the fields and the northern birds arrive to spend their winter here and give us great opportunities to get out to see and possibly photograph some of these species. Usually, depending on the tree seed crops, finches head south for food during the winter months. Already many have seen Evening grosbeaks visiting their feeders or flying overhead chattering. Here’s a link to the winter finch forecast so you’ll have an idea as to what bird you’ll have a better chance to see in your area this winter.


Get your birding app out and listen to some of these finches as you might hear some flying over even if they don’t stop at your feeder or trees in your yard. The large open fields will be great places to spot Snowy owls, Rough-legged hawks, Snow buntings and Lapland longspur as they search for food on the open land that they are so accustomed to where they spend their summers.

Evening Grosbeak

Some winter day you might look out the window and see a flock of Common redpoll mobbing your platform feeder or if you have a Mountain ash tree in the yard some Bohemian waxwings visiting for a feast.

Bohemian Waxwing

As I sit and type, the rain is coming down steadily but due to the rain some migrating birds are also driven from the sky to seek shelter and food for a day or two before continuing their journey south. Get out in the calmer parts of the day and just see what birds might have unexpectedly dropped in on you. Each day this time of year might just be the one to see a stray Mountain bluebird, Cattle egret, Townsend’s solitaire, or some other unique species for the area. Recently an American White pelican was spotted in Saugeen Shores and stayed Around for the enjoyment of several birders.

American White Pelican

It is some time yet to the 25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival but there can be a lot of excitement even now in the birding world if you are out exploring or even watching carefully out of your window to see what is vising the yard. During these rainy days it’s also a good time to check out the festival dates, schedule of events posting date, registration date and mark them off on you calendar. To be prepared for next year and the spring migration through Bruce County.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival – 25th Huron Fringe Birding Festival

Even if the bulk of the migration is behind us more surprises may be in store for you before the end of the year and well into the winter months ahead. Enjoy each day and what it has to offer in respect to the natural world. Unfortunately the numbers of birds seems to be decreasing due to a variety of reasons so don’t delay……enjoy them, photograph them, share them with others and enjoy that smile on your face when that special species shows up for your enjoyment.


Written by huronfringefest

October 26, 2022 at 2:29 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Time to Plan for Next Year!

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The first in-person festival in three years is now behind us and it’s already time to mark your calendar for the next in 2023. Huron Fringe Birding Festival 2022 was a great success with many new participants as well as many that were glad to be able to participate in-person again. The weather cooperated nicely as people got out to enjoy many facets of nature as well as make new friends and reconnect with old ones. Over 180 bird species were seen and heard so even though the trees had leafed out early this year participants had a chance to see many species as they migrate through the area or arrived to set up their territories in which to raise a family.

Young Pied-bill Grebes

For information on the 2023 festival use this link and be sure to note that the events will be posted online earlier and the registration will also be open earlier than in 2022. This is just a bit more “ back to normal” timing as we hope the Covid status will keep stabilizing.

The speaker at the 2023 dinner will be Steve Burrows who is the author of a series of “ Birder Murder” mysteries, the latest of which has recently been released ( A Foreboding of Petrels). Plan to attend the dinner and hear what Steve has to say about his birding past, present and future.

These days the next generation of birds is appearing for those birds fortunate enough to have a successful breeding year. You will see numerous new birds that are able to fly but still give in to a bit of pleading for food if a parent is around. Soon these  2022 birds will be on their own and ready to survive a winter in Bruce County or start their long treks to the southerly locations they spend their winters in. Already some of the shorebirds from this year are making their way slowly south and appearing at some of the ponds and lagoons in Ontario.

Hudsonian Godwit

The 2022 Huron Fringe Birding Festival is only two months behind us but it’s time to get your binoculars cleaned up, your cameras ready, and spotting scopes close at hand ready for the fall migration. Have a good look at your bird guides as the birds we see this fall will look quite different from the brightly coloured ones of the spring. Many of the warblers look quite similar in their fall feathers so study the unique differences of each species to keep confusion to a minimum. The birds songs also may have variations as those new birds don’t quite have their songs practiced enough yet. Fall birding is always a challenge but is also a time when different migrants may wander into the area as they try to find where they are supposed to spend their winter. Special species treats are always welcomed and to stay in touch with the rarer birds others see you can have  Ontbird alerts emailed to you or use the Discord app on your cell phone or tablet to see the alerts posted by other birders.

For Ontbird here’s a link for information:

For Discord app go to the app stores on your iPhone or tablet to download the app.

Northern Wheatear

Have a great time getting out to see some migrant birds this fall or even see the different flowers and other treats nature has to offer as the seasons change. Don’t forget to mark up your schedule now to remind you of the timing of the 2023 Huron Fringe Birding Festival and get ready for another fun filled spring in Bruce County. Looking forward to seeing you!

Showy Lady Slipper

Written by huronfringefest

July 21, 2022 at 1:17 pm

Posted in BIRDING

The 2022 Festival Continues

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A bit of rain the first day but even that didn’t stop the birds from showing up. After the first weekend 182 species have been seen or heard by the leaders and participants. I’m sure the seeing part is tough with all the leaves out now but there are indeed still many birds in Bruce County and shorebirds starting to migrate in larger numbers now as well.

Sanderling and a Ruddy Turnstone

One more weekend left and still a few openings in some of the events for people to get out and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. Check the weekend events out and see if something appeals to you.

The “Big Day” event that was lead by the two young birders doing a Big Year of birding in Ontario went quite well with everyone that attended happy with the 124 species seen on that event alone. Even the leaders Kiah Jasper and Ezra Campanelli picked up two new birds each, with the highlight being a juvenile Swainson’s hawk that had been spotted in the area a few days previously. These hawks are a western bird and don’t show up here often but one is indeed around and possibly ready to be seen on other events on weekend 2.

Mourning Warbler

The weekend ahead appears to have some good weather forecast so come on out to see and hear what you can before spring migration winds down any more. Presently some of the resident birds are building nests and getting settled in for the summer so even seeing that action can be interesting and educational.

Cerulean Warbler

Treat yourself to the final weekend of the 2022 Huron Fringe Birding Festival! You just never know what pleasant surprises might await you.

Written by huronfringefest

June 1, 2022 at 7:19 am

Posted in BIRDING

Warm Weather and the Birds Have Arrived

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American Redstart the Festival Mascot

Amazingly warm weather has flooded Ontario in the past week and the migrating birds and trees are loving it. Several species of warblers have arrived along with other species of birds migrating north from their warm winter homes. In early mornings now the bird song gives a new life to the start of each day. At 5:30 AM the resident robins are singing their hearts out along with Northern cardinals, newly arrived Wood thrush and many warbler species.

The countdown is on to the start of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival and there are still a few spots left in some of the events. Hopefully everyone will have an opportunity to attend ones that give them a better awareness of the beauty of nature and many new aspects of it to enjoy. Check out the spots left and pick the ones that pique your interest.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival – Schedule of Events

This time of year, its great to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, the sounds of the birds and a good hike through the woods or grasslands. If you stop beside a grassy meadow or pasture, you’ll hear the happy sounds of Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, and Grasshopper and other various sparrows. Get your online guides out and refresh your hearing with the songs of the various birds you haven’t heard in several months. Its always great to be able to identify those singing birds just by their songs and maybe even their chips if you really want a challenge. Merlin Bird ID is a great app from the Cornell lab of Ornithology that makes identifying birds much easier either by a photo, their song, or just a description. It works great on either Apple or Android devices and can be found at either of the app stores on your specific devices.

Canada Warbler

I started writing this blog yesterday and this morning when I got up to 6 C weather it was a bit of a shock. Quite a change and it will probably slow the birds down a bit but hopefully also the leaf coverage which has been blossoming the past few days. The birds are a bit tougher to see behind those leaves, but it just requires a bit more patience to wait until it clears the vegetation and can be seen clearly for a positive ID. As I mentioned previously though, knowing their song can lead to a positive ID even if they don’t come out of hiding. That’s a great reason to get those bird songs playing now.

Check out your calendar, check out the events of the festival that are still available and come out and have some fun with other folks that are out to enjoy nature and learn a bit more about our natural world. The birds, trees, plants, ferns, and other things that combine for a healthy planet can be fun to see and learn more about. Learn a few more ways to capture this beauty in a photograph or in your mind and store it away to put a smile on your face during the cold months when spring memories are what we have to warm our souls.

Scarlet Tanager

Enjoy the spring and what it has to offer as everything gets renewed for another year. Hope to see you at a few of the interesting events at the 2022 Huron Fringe Birding Festival!

Yellow Lady Slipper Orchid

Written by huronfringefest

May 17, 2022 at 3:58 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Migration is Under Way!

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Pine Warbler

As I look out this morning and see the snowflakes drifting down I wonder how the birds are feeling about heading north already. I’m sure it’s just a bit of a “speed bump” that they’ve had to endure in past years but after 26 C weather it is indeed a bit of a change. These days will pass though as spring progresses and more birds work their way north to start a new breeding season here as well to the north of us.

To fully enjoy these days of bird song and see the bright colours as they flit through the trees check out the events that are still available during the Huron Fringe Birding Festival scheduled for May 27-30 and June 2-5 2022. Registration opened on April 15th and although several of the events are now full there are still many to chose from once you have created an account. Click the link below to see what spaces are still available for the various events.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival – Schedule of Events

With the warm days we just experienced the first of the migrating warblers arrived and entertained many local birders as they zipped through the trees hunting down the many bugs that emerged with the warmer weather. Yellow-rumped, Black and White, as well as Palm and Pine warblers were abundant as they are usually the first to arrive in numbers. Others will come to the area once the weather warms up a bit more and towards the end of May there will be several species of warblers and other interesting birds populating the forests, swamps and wetlands of Bruce and Grey Counties.

Black and White Warbler

With birds here our exceptional leaders are ready to take you out and introduce you to them. The festival is an experience you really must participate in to appreciate the spring migration and all the other aspects of nature this area offers. Birding is the main theme of the festival but other aspects of nature are covered as well and its amazing what you can learn from the knowledgeable leaders we have on the various events.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival – Leader Biographies

May is only a few days away now and I’m sure these snowflakes we see today will soon be a distant memory so take a few moments and sit down at your computer, tablet or phone and look through what the Huron Fringe Birding Festival has to offer. Then later in the month get your camera battery charged, your binoculars cleaned, your water bottle filled and get ready to have some spring fun.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Written by huronfringefest

April 28, 2022 at 4:32 pm

Posted in BIRDING

It’s Time to Think Spring Migration

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Red-headed Woodpecker

April has arrived and with it some warmer weather as well as some bird song in the mornings. The American robins and Northern cardinals are announcing to the neighbourhood that they are claiming their territory. Now is the time to get prepared for the major migration in April, May and June and a great way to do that is plan what events you would like to attend during the 2022 Huron Fringe Birding Festival. Registration for the 97 festival events begins April 15 at 6:00 am so anytime now, if you do not already have an account, set one up so you are prepared to register for your favourite events.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival – Registration

The “Create An Account” is on the right side of the screen just below the “Login” button. For those that already have an account make sure it is working okay as passwords can easily be forgotten, especially since its been quite a while since you needed it.

New birds are already showing up in yards and at the local pond or wetland. Some winter birds are still around but soon they will wing their way north making way for the new arrivals. Now is a great time to get out and see some of those winter birds before they disappear until late fall. With no leaves on the trees and much of the vegetation compressed by the winter snow its much easier to see and identify any of the birds in the yard or perched in a tree.

The Festival this year has a wide variety of events to chose from so take some time and peruse them all as you pick out your favourites. Pick a few second choices as well as events can fill up quite quickly the first week of registration.

One of my favourite events in past festivals was “ Bird Til You Drop” as it takes you from 6:00 am until after dark as you often see more than 100 species during the day. This year that event is called “A Big Day” and its being led by two young birders who are doing a “Big Year” in Ontario. Kiah Jasper and Ezra Campanelli will take you through a variety of habitats and wonderful birding locations in the area and share their extensive knowledge of birds with you. This year Kiah and Ezra are helping spread the word of our festival as they travel Ontario in search of birds.

Ezra on the left and Kiah on the right checking out some birds in eastern Ontario

They have been on the trail of new birds since January 1st and although their list of birds seen is already formidable, they will be looking to add to their totals as they guide you through a terrific long day of birding. Their goal this year is to try and exceed the record for the number of species seen in Ontario in one year. Presently that total is 346 and was set in 2017 by another of our event leaders, Jeremy Bensette. Jeremy is leading four events at the festival this year so as you can see even from these leaders, its going to be a special festival indeed.

While reading through the events (you can print out a paper copy for future reference) also refer to the “Leader Biographies” and you will really see just how much natural knowledge is going to be available to you on this two-weekend festival (May 27-30 and June 2-5).

Huron Fringe Birding Festival – Leader Biographies

Being out seeing new birds as well as familiar birds, enjoying new nature experiences, making new friends, and renewing old acquaintances is what the Huron Fringe Birding Festival is all about. Most of you familiar with this blog will know exactly what I’m talking about so make sure to let your friends know about the festival and about the possibilities for them to get exposed to several facets of nature that we cover with the range of our events.

Cape May Warbler

As I sit here typing, an American robin is perched outside singing his song and I’m sure he’s thankful for the rain last night that would haver brought more worms to the surface for the robin to enjoy. I’m also eagerly watching for the first emergence of those cluster flies that will entice the colourful warblers and other insectivores to head north and enjoy feasting while providing us with wonderful birdwatching.

So get your events picked out, get your account set up for the festival and get ready for April 15th!!!

Written by huronfringefest

April 7, 2022 at 1:02 pm

Posted in BIRDING