One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals


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Mention the name ‘James Turland’ to local birders and you’ll be greeted by a smile of recognition. He’s well known and well respected because he knows where the birds are. And if you asked James Turland when and where he likes to bird, he just might say ‘always and everywhere’. His philosophy is simple, “There are birds in all landscapes one just has to look”. This birder from Kincardine has some specific thoughts on birding:


The average person seems to think the best places for birds are remote and pristine, and they can be, but often these places are costly to get to. More realistically birders look for their feathered friends close to home. A birders yard is often an oasis of plants and feeders specially placed to lure birds closer. Birding doesn’t get better than finding a rarity right in your own backyard. Birders have a knack for looking at landscapes and seeing the beauty in the birds. A landfill site is not just a pile of garbage but also a mecca for gulls and other scavenging birds. Sewage lagoons are sanctuaries for shorebirds and waterfowl. Some urban parks are bird magnets and havens. I believe with a little urban planning these places could be enriched and turned into truly scenic wildlife habitats. For now we just have to keep up wind and dream a little.

When visiting Bruce County farmland I try to imagine a pristine prairie. Hidden within this idyllic sea of grass are specialized creatures waiting to be discovered. Because of a lack of perches some grassland birds have evolved to sing while flying and also incorporate aerial displays. Even if blindfolded the babblings of Bobolinks conjure images of fields and meadows. The amazing ‘woo woos’ of the Snipe as it dips and dives way above its chosen territory is not easily forgot. Yet other songs are cleverly devised to misrepresentation. The Grasshopper Sparrows high-pitched trill could easily be mistaken for a Six Legged Hopper. Birds don’t get much more secretive than the Henslow’s Sparrow. It’s weak chip is usually only heard from the tall grass at night. An Upland Sandpipers presence signifies short grass and that probably means grazers are nearby. Other grassland signature birds we hope to see are Eastern Meadow Lark, Clay-Coloured Sparrow, Northern Harrier and Sedge Wrens.  

Most recently as pasture decreases and the land is subjected to more intensive farming practices the grasslands and all its inhabitants are in jeopardy. There are solutions and we all can play a part.


A4 6:30 am KINCARDINE LAGOONS – Hike the trails of this premier birding hotspot, locally known as “Pelee North”. If you missed seeing birds at Pelee, chances are you’ll find them here.

A16 6:30 am BIRDING THE 4 CORNERS OF MacGREGOR – Visit wetlands, shorelines, forests and fields along the margins of MacGregor Park. You will enjoy James’ relaxed style and his ability to locate the birds.

B3 6:30 am BIRDING KINCARDINE & AREA – Hike the trails of Kincardine’s premier birding hotspot, locally known as “Pelee North”. You will see a variety of warblers, ducks and other migrants.

B11 6:30 am BIRDING THE 4 CORNERS OF MacGREGOR – Visit wetlands, shorelines, forests and fields along the margins of MacGregor Park. You will enjoy James’ relaxed style and his ability to locate the birds.

B19 7:00 am BIRDING THE HURON FRINGE – A visit to Inverhuron Provincial Park and the Lake Huron shoreline will provide dune grassland as well as edge and shoreline habitats.


Huron Fringe Birding Festival Registration

Registration inquiries: or 519-389-6231

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twitter: @HuronBirdfest




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