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Archive for October 2021

Fall Migration is Always a Challenge!

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Bay-breasted Warbler in Inverhuron

Summer is slowly winding down as the temperatures cool off a bit and the length of the days diminish. Even as summer is winding down the fall migration of birds is ramping up and the challenges begin. Most of the trees still have their leaves and as the warblers dodge through the trees catching bugs eyes are straining to see where the bird is and then decide what species the drab fall bird is. The warblers as well as the shorebirds look quite different from their bright breeding colours and its always a challenge to decide just what you are looking at. It is one of the better times of the year to identify birds though as you must look at a variety of features other than just the colour to pin the species name to the bird you are watching. Field guides give you a good idea as what to look for in each non-breeding species but as well as the adults there are also new young birds coming through and some of them can be quite frustrating to identify in the quick views you have of them. In order to give you an idea if migrants are in the area, you can use the Birdcast radar to see what has been migrating over us during the night.

Live bird migration maps – BirdCast

This radar doesn’t cover Canada yet but it will give you a good idea as to roughly where the birds flying during their nocturnal trips, either in the spring or fall. Often the birds will fly right over us but if they hit a bit of rainy weather we then have a chance of having a fallout. Keep an eye on that radar 😊.

Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone in Inverhuron

Shorebirds are usually a little easier as we have better and longer views of them to decide what they are or possibly take a photo to decide later when you have more time. Their colours are different, but their sizes, shapes, leg and beak colours are usually the same as spring birds. The only problem with shorebirds is finding a habitat and hoping some of them stop by long enough to fuel up a bit. With the drier and sunnier summer, we’ve had there are not many ponds of puddles in Bruce County to invite these birds to stop by for a bit so often you must try and identify some fly-bys as they wing their way south.

If you do get lucky enough to get a photo but can’t quite decide what bird you saw you can try Merlin Bird ID app for your phone or pad. It’s a free app and has packages now for many locations in the world so even if you are planning a trip, it will be quite useful. It also now includes identifying birds by the bird sound as well. Here’s where you can find it and then you download the bird packs you need.

Merlin Bird ID – Free, instant bird identification help and guide for thousands of birds – Identify the birds you see (

Enjoy the season as the leaves change colour and make a walk in the woods a wonderful experience while you are trying to see those birds hiding behind those very leaves. As you enjoy this season also start planning for the Huron Fringe Birding Festival in the spring. The 2022 festival is in the planning stages, and you can see more about it here.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival – Huron Fringe Birding Festival (

Looking forward to seeing you all in person next year but for now enjoy the fall migration and keep those birding skills tuned up.

Hudsonian Godwit in Oliphant

Written by huronfringefest

October 4, 2021 at 1:18 pm

Posted in BIRDING