Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
Red bird on a branch.

Today’s post comes from Kaitlyn Plastino, Discovery staff at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

One of the best things about Lake Superior Provincial Park is its abundance of excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Whether you’re staying for a week or just visiting for a day, our diverse range of habitats makes our park a year-round birdwatcher’s paradise.

No matter the season, you’re sure to see some of the species on this list!

Winter bird watching (December, January, February)

While most birds have migrated south for the winter, there are still many bright colors that remain on Lake Superior. Winter offers a great opportunity to see them without the hustle and bustle of breeding birds!

woodpeckers are common in our forests, especially the Downey, Hairy and Pileated woodpeckers.

A black bird with a red head on the side of the tree.Woodpecker

These species can be found boring into trees to find ants, insect larvae, wood-boring beetles, and even grains and berries!

While it may be difficult for new birders to distinguish these species, the best clue as to which woodpecker you are seeing is by its size. Think of it alphabetically: dthe owners are smaller than hairy, and hthe airs are smaller than Pileated.

Small brown bird on the side of the tree.Red-breasted Nuthatch

climbers It can be found by searching for seeds and insects hidden in bark crevices, or feeding directly on conifer cones and pods.

They have a rather unique silhouette, as they often jump headfirst down tree trunks.

As you walk through our mixed forests, keep an eye out for the nasal “yank-yank-yank” call of the Red-breasted Nuthatch and the rapid “wha-wha-wha” call of the White-breasted Nuthatch. Nuthatch.

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is especially common along our Nokomis Trail.

Pine grosbeak They are bright songbirds that add a splash of color to our leafless trees in the winter.

Red bird on a branch.Grosbeak pine

They can be found searching for seeds in conifers or fluttering among the branches of other shrubs snapping seeds, needles and buds to satisfy their hunger.

Males and females look very different; males feature a bright red body and gray breast, while females display a more discreet yellow upperpart and a smoky gray breast.

Spring bird watching (March, April, May)

While most species arrive in summer, there are still many birds that arrive at our park early to explore the best breeding grounds. As they say, “the early bird gets the worm!”

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If you hear a loud noise in the leaves, don’t panic; could simply be a white-throated sparrow!

Small white bird with yellow face on a branch. white-throated sparrow

For such a small bird, they make a lot of noise scratching leaves on the forest floor and pouncing on insects they discover.

This species comes with two different colors of stripes on its head: white or tan. Their song has 2 or 3 tones, ascending or descending to the words “Oh-Sweet-Canada-Canada-Canada.”

A popular place to hear and see white-throated sparrows is Trapper’s Trail.

Dark-eyed Juncos They are easily recognized by their slate-colored head, light underside, and bright white tail feathers.

Little bird on a branch.dark-eyed junco

Dark-eyed Juncos can be seen foraging on the ground, feasting on small seeds of grasses and weeds. They also forage in the undergrowth on moths, flies and beetles as the insects become more available in the warming season.

They are frequent travelers in our camps and their short, high “chip” can be heard while they forage for food.

American goldfinches They are easy to spot when they arrive on their breeding grounds in May – they are bright yellow!

Small yellow bird on a bare branch.american goldfinch

Its cone-shaped beak is specifically designed to extract seeds from your favorite plants: aster, alder and birch.

If you listen closely, you can hear them say “po-ta-to-chip!” as they fly through the air.

Summer bird watching (June, July, August)

As summer arrives, so do the warblers. Lake Superior provides a diverse and largely protected habitat for hundreds of bird species, making our park an excellent breeding ground.

Wherever you are in the park, you’re sure to see plenty of feathered friends in the summer.

common loons They are a common sight in the park and remind us of quiet summer outdoor adventures.

A big black bird swims in the lake.common loon

Its haunting and recognizable call can be heard in many lakes, including Lake Superior. They are also permanent residents of Lake Mijinemungshing, the largest inland lake in the park.

They are frequently seen in pairs fishing for frogs, leeches, crayfish and other aquatic species. Keep your eyes peeled for these well-camouflaged swimmers.

Large bird with claws on the side of a rock.Peregrine falcon

He Peregrine falcon It is the fastest animal in the world, reaching a maximum speed of 390 km/h while diving through the air.

Despite being extirpated from Ontario in the 1960s due to the harmful effects of DDT pesticides, these magnificent birds of prey have made a strong comeback with the help of recovery programs at the park.

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They are most likely to be seen hanging around the shoreline of Lake Superior near the bluffs, an easy place to hunt for gulls, ducks or shorebirds.

You don’t want to miss these birds in action, so be sure to look up at the sky when you’re on the Coastal Trail!

Black-throated Blue Warbler It has a blue back and head that contrasts strongly with its black face and white chest.

Little bird on a branch.Black-throated Blue Warbler.

In the summer, you can see them carefully picking insects from the undersides of tree leaves in the lower canopy or from bushes.

they sing a peculiar please, please, please squeezeduring the breeding season and are a popular sight at Gargantua.

Bird watching in autumn (September, October, November)

Although the breeding season is over and many of the most colorful birds have begun their journey back south for the winter, Lake Superior is still a great place for fall bird watching if you know what to look for.

black-capped chickadees They are both acrobatic and curious, so you should be able to see these little farts at our campsites all year round.

Small black and white bird on a snowy titmouse

They are quite an iconic figure with their bright white cheeks contrasting with their black hood and bib.

They begin foraging in flocks during the fall, with each individual saving up to 80,000 seeds for the winter.

Their melodic song “hey-sweetie” or their namesake “chickadee-dee-dee” can be heard as they pass from branch to branch.

Although they resemble cardinals with their brown crest on their heads, Cedar Wax Wings They can be easily identified by their black mask, red wing patch, and yellow-tipped tail feathers.

Small brown bird on branch.Cedar wax wing.

In the fall, you’ll likely see flocks of these birds foraging for berries together. They especially like to eat mountain ash berries!

ruffed grouse They are a cryptic-colored game bird that is widely abundant on Lake Superior in the fall.

Big brown bird in the snow.

They spend most of their time on the ground, gathering berries, acorns, and other vegetation.

They may be difficult to spot, but don’t be surprised if the fall leaves burst with a frightened grouse while you’re hiking.

Ready, set, bird!

Now that you’re familiar with Lake Superior’s common birds during all seasons, you’re ready to go on a birding adventure!

Be sure to bring a notebook to write down all your great finds and upload them to iNaturalist.

If you have any questions about which bird you saw, stop by the information desk at the Visitor Center between late May and mid-October and we will help you.

Now grab your binoculars and get out there!