in Chatsworth, Grey Highlands, Southgate, West Grey
January 15, 2021
South Grey News | Birdwatching key to relaxation
A Cooper's hawk gets up close and personal. Photo: Nigel Eves
BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF— The National Audubon Society has said that birdwatching is one bright spot in a pandemic-stricken economy. While many retailers have witnessed a significant decline in sales due to restrictive measures rolled out by governments all around the world as well as here in Ontario, seed suppliers and birdhouse businesses are booming.
A meadowlark flashes his vibrant yellow breast crossed by a distinctive, black, V-shaped band. Photo: David Turner
“Birdwatching is a satisfying hobby,” said Harry Fuller, a leader in the international birding community. According to the well-known author and ornithologist, it comes down to three things... it’s free. It’s easy. And it’s fun!
Locally, the Beaver Valley Birding Facebook page has seen many new members joining this past year, sharing their bird photos and experiences online and these three things have been put on full display. "I started the page to show my photo's and get some local birders involved with birding," said David Turner, Beaver Valley Birding administrator. "It just took off. It has started a great community of local birders."
Driven by a search for food, snowy owls are appearing in large numbers, further south in central and eastern Canada. Photo: David Turner
But there may be one more reason to take up with our feathered friends. A 2017 study from the University of Exeter in England found that people living in neighbourhoods with more birds and tree cover are less likely to experience depression, anxiety and stress. Peace of mind and better health may be the hidden rewards of this natural pursuit.
A Bohemian waxwing shows off it's broad wingspan. Photo: Nigel Eves
We don't even have to leave our houses to enjoy a wide variety of species that regularly visit Grey County backyards. From ground fowl to songbirds to birds-of-prey, they're all here. You just have to look! But a quick, appropriately-gathered and socially-distanced trip to any of our trails, forests or natural open spaces will reveal many more, sometimes rare bird sightings.
A member of the finch family, this redpoll tries to stay warm on a frosty branch. Photo: David Turner
Ebird.org is another online way to share birding observations and photos with a community of educators, scientists and birders. According to ebird, hundreds of thousands of people are joining a growing field of bird enthusiasts. The website charts the movements and needs of birds on a global scale. It also sleuths the best birding hotspots at any time of the year.
A ruffed grouse has well-camouflaged plumage but is easily recognizable against the white snow. Photo: Robert Pointer
The Beaver Valley Birding community occasionally arranges birding hikes locally. During the current lockdown, only five people or less can attend one of these excursions. More can join, once gathering restrictions ease. These events are disseminated to Beaver Valley Birding members on their private Facebook page but all interested people are welcome to follow this group.
A downy woodpecker looks for food. Photo: Ingrid Remkins
A Grosbeak finds nourishment in a spruce tree. Photo: David Turner
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