A list of 145 bird species, observed in the area of interest from June 1998 to the present. This includes the blackburnian warblers seen by Murray on 03 June 2024. Eight other "possibles" (indeed, "probables") are listed below (another, the northern pintail, was verified in March 2023; and the scarlet tanager in May 2023).

This table lists bird species seen in Seymour township, the eastern part of the Trent Hills municipality, 1998-2024. It includes all parts of the township, although the majority of sightings were made in the streets, parks and gardens of the town of Campbellford, in adjacent Ferris provincial park (east of the Trent river) and in the Trout Creek drainage immediately west of the town (accessed along the old railway line, which is now a segment of the Trans-Canada Trail network). Town location: 77°48'W, 44°17'N (2022 magnetic declination, circa 11.4 degrees west).

New here? You can just scroll down to the bird list itself, or search to see if your species of interest is documented in these pages.

The bird list indicates sightings across Seymour township, and takes care to flag those made in the Crowe Bridge Conservation Area, Ferris Provincial Park, and Seymour Conservation Area, three principal local conservation sites (1998-2020). In each case, these locality lists are limited to sightings made in or beside each location, though it is more than likely that other species seen in town, along the canal or in gardens, have also been seen in Ferris park. So, watch for the C, F and S flags in the "list" column, which will form a simple CHECK LIST. Currently includes all of 1998 to mid-June 2020, and casually updated to the present. Birds noted in 1998-2002, but not seen in the 3 areas since, are marked in red in the list column, e.g., F). Starting 01 January 2024, sightings in or beside the Mary West Conservation Area (M) are also flagged. At least 88 species, about 60% of the full township list, have been spotted in one or more of these three public areas, which exhibit diverse types of habitat. As of late April 2023, the pooled observations on the eBIRD platform record 117 species for Ferris park, affirming that the following list is a partial sampling of the birds that pass through this area. The following list notes at least 79 species for Ferris, 38 for the Crowe Bridge, and 34 for Seymour conservation area. An initial 15 species were flagged for Mary West, in first 3 months of 2024 (now up to 17).

Canada geese [61 kb]

Geographical Setting

Seymour township includes Campbellford town and a Z-shaped reach of the Trent river, over 30 km long, winding through rolling hills and ridges of glacial deposits. It incorporates:

The township boundaries run about 16° west of north and north of east, and the township is elongated along the N.N.W. axis, 19x16 km in size, total area roughly 304 km2. The south boundary runs along the Percy Reach of the river Trent, and includes a 2.4-km hiking trail between Percy Reach and Meyer's Lock (Locks 8 and 9). South of the Reach, in Brighton and Murray townships, is the 48.5 km2 Murray Marsh, the largest undisturbed area of marsh and swamp forest in southern Ontario. For the record, Seymour and Percy townships are now amalgamated in a larger municipal unit known as Trent Hills, area 511 km2. Politically, the area formed the northeast corner of the wedge-shaped Northumberland-Quinte West federal riding, a sprawling area of 2,652 km2 with 93,293 registered voters (October 2008). In 2013 it was reorganized and expanded into Northumberland-Peterborough South, area of 3,001 km2, population 118,756. with 100,654 registered voters (estimate of unknown currency, January 2024).

Notes on the Observations

The list currently includes 144 species. The true total of species which live, breed or fly over the region in the course of a year is quite probably 200-250 or more, and it is possible that expert "birders" ("twitchers" in the U.K.) might find 100 species by criss-crossing the township on a single well-chosen day. The numbers of observations of a given species inevitably reflect our own routines and locations: were we to live on the main river, for instance, sightings of waterfowl, osprey and bald eagle would presumably be greatly increased. Owl and swift sightings would be enhanced by different locales and a more nocturnal lifestyle! At least eight (8) additional bird species reported in, or seen near, the township are mentioned in bold type below, and shown in a short list at the end of the main table. These do not include the abundance of species seen at Presqu'ile park on Lake Ontario, a birding destination which, in abundance and diversity of species, is in the premier league of all Ontario!

The original bird observations summarized here are associated with notes on other aspects of natural history, such as local animals, trees, plants and fungi. Fresh topics may be profiled here as more information becomes available. Note that other species of birds, animals and vegetation certainly occur here, although we have yet to observe them personally (e.g., bald eagle (finally, soon after an adult was reported over the CBCA in February 2021, two immatures were seen right by Old Mill Park, on the Trent river, on 05 March 2021); snowy owl and barred owl (both seen in Ferris, 20-23 November 2021); screech owl; and [in Ferris park] saw-whet owl; purple finch (eventually seen, with 8 reports documented from Feb. 2016 to Feb. 2022); wood duck and animals such as black bear and fisher, all seen by others in Seymour township in 2002-2008, and as recently as 2021). We have seen black bear just west, and moose not far north of our township, but not within the bounds of Seymour.

The main point is that there are birds and animals in this area, perhaps on a regular basis, that are not listed (yet) in these pages! From time to time, of course, a real rarity may show up, not to be recognized again for years - we recall the appearance on the Carman Road, halfway from here to Brighton, and some 20 years ago, of a pink-bellied Lewis's woodpecker, a species I've only ever seen where it "belongs", west of the Rockies (in my viewing, near Osoyoos, in southern British Columbia)!

We have also seen other birds both east and west of Seymour but not yet in the township, for example the bobolink. Back in Ferris park, scarlet tanagers were sighted on at least 2 occasions in spring and summer 2020, on the south flanks of the northern (drumlin) hills. Downstream toward Meyersburg, male and female northern pintail were reported in mid-November of that year (and further confirmed in March 2023). In March 2021 (and later that year) a male ring-necked pheasant, a widely-scattered Eurasian import, was seen while driving through Dartford (west of the township, just east of Roseneath). I later heard of a pair of the pheasants on IXL Road, just north of Campbellford, and so this species joined the list! To my surprise, a cock pheasant sidled into our snowy garden in Campbellford on a mild afternoon, 10 March 2022, and gathered the courage to advance under the bird feeders, to eat plentiful seed on the lawn.

More recent excitement relates to the trumpeter swan. Swan nomenclature has changed significantly in the last 50 years, but this is the largest swan, and native to North America, unlike the introduced mute swan. Two individual sightings were reported on and around 09 March 2023. a) Four swans at Callaghan's Rapids on the Crowe river, just east of the northeast corner of Seymour township. Then b) a small number sighted in Crowe Bay of the Trent river, just below the mouth of the Crowe, and north of Campbellford. Counted in this list, there is a chance the bird in question was the smaller tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus, the North American form known as the whistling swan), as size and details of the bill are hard to gauge or to see at a distance. Just 12 days later, on 21 March, the author noted 10 trumpeter swans at Tommy Thompson Park (the Leslie Street Spit), on the Toronto waterfront. Any native swan is to be celebrated: the trumpeter was almost wiped out by "Man" in the early 20th century.

On 21 September 2023, a sandhill crane was glimpsed, with a striking pose in descending flight (splayed long legs, long neck straight out but curved gently concave-upwards) quite unlike egret and heron. The location was in Percy, just west of Seymour, above (and probably landing in) the marsh on the southwest corner of Godolphin Road and the Trans-Canada Trail (old railway line). Three of these large birds were seen and photographed in a field north of Warkworth from 29 or 30 June to mid-August, 1988 (LaForest, 1993, p.123).

The grey jay (see below) is a fixture, not so far north from us, but again, not seen here in recent time. An evening grosbeak was reliably reported from Trent River, on the north edge of the area, on 14 May 2021, in a week when the seldom-seen pine siskin made an appearance.

Any discrepancies in sightings reported here, relative to third-party reports, can be explained by several factors, such as: a) sporadic observations and absences; b) incomplete geographic or seasonal coverage of key areas of the township, particularly for some woodland species and water birds; and c) insufficient expertise in bird identification, particularly in terms of bird calls.

A short story

In late 2016, Canadian Geographic magazine announced that its preferred candidate for a Canadian National Bird was the grey jay. While the blue jay is well-known to almost everyone in southern Ontario, the grey jay has a wider distribution than its brash and noisy cousin, especially towards the north and west of Ontario. The grey jay occurs in at least part of every Canadian province and territory, and is at home foraging in the boreal forest, and across the Canadian shield. To date, I have not seen a grey jay in Seymour township. Since 1998, I have enjoyed seeing these smart and inquisitive birds on a dozen or more occasions to the north of Thunder Bay, on field trips to that region in 2006-2013, between October and April, and generally in the depths of winter. Closer to Campbellford, I recorded seeing 3 individuals at Petroglyphs park in Peterborough county on 01 September 2006, and two pairs in the same fine park, north of Upper Stony Lake, on 30 September 2000. The grey jay is also known as the Canada jay or whiskey-jack (gray jay, Perisoreus canadensis, geai gris, mésangeai du Canada, and sundry other names). On 14 February 2021, CBC Radio 1 broadcast (for the second time that winter) an article on the grey jay. The observation was that, due to the warming climate, food caches the jays make in tree cavities were decaying faster than normal, threatening the birds' food supply. The species may be forced to live further north to combat this threat. Canadian Geographic recently profiled the grey jay once more (Zarankin, 2021).

The Bird List and the Arrangement of the Data

Some of the information has been compiled for 86 of the 144 listed species, for anything from five to twenty-four complete calendar years from January 1999 to (at the maximum) September-October 2023. Two histograms for the blue jay appear below, to illustrate the ongoing gathering of data on each species. An even better example can be found in the pages on the slate-coloured junco. The latest compilations, updated to dates between 2013 and October 2023, started with the waxwings, hairy woodpecker and white-breasted nuthatch and feature 72 of the 86 species profiled to date. The latest are the house sparrow (a 19th century import from Europe) and (native) white-crowned sparrow. They present very different modes of occurrence: the resident house sparrow is an urban dweller and is present, albeit locally, year-round. The white-crowned sparrow breeds far to the north, from James Bay to Labrador. As such we see it as migrant: a fast sweep north in May and a rather more leisurely southward drift, peaking in October.

The newer (2013 and on) arrangements in an updated presentation with the html text file linked to a spreadsheet file in .pdf format (the free Adobe Reader will open these), providing a more detailed view of the source data, and the latest histogram of bird occurrence. The data for these 72 species are derived from over 14,300 observations on specific days over 14-25 full calendar years.

You may access each entry by clicking on the underlined bird names in the table below. NOTE that the histograms record the number of days on which a particular species has been recorded in each month during the observation period, and not the number of individual birds seen! The list reflects the birds likely to be encountered on local dog walks and other casual outings: a focused birding expedition would probably detect other species.

Finally, should you find a feather that puzzles you, there is a web site showing photos of feathers of more than 400 North American bird species: The Feather Atlas of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

blue jay [75 kb] blue jay [109 kb]

N.B. in the table below, the list flags birds noted at the Crowe Bridge Conservation Area, Ferris Provincial Park, and Seymour Conservation Area, three principal local conservation sites: C, F and S respectively. Birds noted in 1998-2002, but not seen in the 3 areas since, are marked in red in the list column, e.g., F. Starting 01 January 2024, sightings in or beside the Mary West Conservation Area (M) are also flagged.

Bird Species of Seymour Township, southeast Ontario

Bird Species of Seymour Township
English Latin French Alternative Names List
Common Loon 1998-2023 Gavia immer Huart à collier Plongeon huard; great northern diver
Horned Grebe 1998-2020 Podiceps auritus Grèbe cornu
Pied-billed Grebe 1998-2020 Podilymbus podiceps Grèbe bec Water-witch, hell-diver
Double-crested Cormorant 1998-2021 Phalacrocorax auritus Cormoran à aigrettes CF
Great Blue Heron 1998-2021 Ardea herodias Grand héron CF
Black-crowned Night-HeronNycticorax nycticorax Bihoreau à couronne noire
Little Blue HeronFlorida caerulea Petit héron bleu C
Green-backed Heron Butorides striatus Héron vert Butorides virescens; Green heron
Mute Swan 1998-2023 Cygnus olor Cygne muet Cygne tuberculé F
Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator Cygne trompette Olor buccinator
Snow Goose 1998-2021 Chen caerulescens Oie des neiges Blue goose; l'oie blanche
Canada Goose Branta canadensis Bernache canadienne CFS
American Black Duck Anas rubripes Canard noir Black Duck
Mallard 1998-2020 Anas platyrhynchos Canard colvert Canard malard CFS
Gadwall Anas strepera Le canard chipeau
Northern Pintail Anas acuta Le canard pilet Common pintail
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata Le canard souchet Spatula clypeata
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors Sarcelle à ailes bleues
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris Fuligule à collier Le Morillon à collier
Common Goldeneye1998-2020 Bucephala clangula Garrot à oeil d'or Garrot commun, American goldeneye, Glaucionetta clangula americana (obsolete) CF
Bufflehead 1998-2020 Bucephela albeola Petit garrot CF
Hooded Merganser 1998-2020 Lophodytes cucullatus Bec-scie couronné F
Common Merganser 1998-2020 Mergus merganser Grand bec-scie Goosander, bec-scie commun CF
Red-breasted Merganser 1998-2020 Mergus serrator Bec-scie à poitrine rousse
Turkey Vulture 1998-2021 Cathartes aura Urubu à tête rouge Vautour à tête rouge CFSM
Bald Eagle 1998-2021 Haliaeetus leucocephalus L'aigle à tête blanche Pygargue à tête blancheCF
Osprey 1999-2008 Pandion haliaetus L'aigle pêcheur Balbuzard CFS
Northern HarrierCircus cyaneus Busard Saint-Martin Marsh hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus Épervier brun F
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii Épervier de Cooper
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus Buse à épaulettes rousses F
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Petite buse F
Red-tailed Hawk 1999-2020 Buteo jamaicensis Buse à queue rousse F
Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus La buse pattue F
American Kestrel Falco sparverius Crécerelle américaine Sparrow hawk C
Merlin Falco columbarius Faucon émerillon Pigeon hawk C
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Faucon pèlerin Duck hawk
Ruffed Grouse 1999-2013 Bonasa umbellus Gelinotte huppée CFSM
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus Faisan à collier
Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo Dindon sauvage
Semipalmated Sandpiper Charadrius semipalmatus Le bécasseau semi-palmé Ereunetes pusillus
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus Pluvier kildir FS
Greater Yellowlegs 1998-2014 Tringa melanoleuca Grand chevalier à pattes jaunes Totanus melanoleucus (Gmelin) F
Lesser Yellowlegs 1998-2014 Tringa flavipes Petit chevalier à pattes jaunes Totanus flavipes (Gmelin) F
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia Chevalier branle-queue Maubèche branle-queue
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla Bécasseau minuscule Erolia minutilla F
Wilson's Snipe Gallinago delicata Bécassine ordinaire Common snipe: caveat: taxonomy under debate (!)
American Woodcock 1998-2022 Scolopax minor Bécasse d'Amérique Philohela minor; bogsucker; timberdoodle; bécasse américaine F
Ring-billed Gull 1998-2013 Larus delawarensis Goéland à bec cerclé CFM
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia Sterne caspienne Hydroprogne caspia
Feral Pigeon Columba livia Pigeon biset Rock dove; Domestic pigeon CFM
Mourning Dove 1998-2020 Zenaida macroura Tourterelle triste FSM
Black-billed Cuckoo 1998-2014 Coccyzus erythropthalmus Coulicou à bec noir
Great Horned Owl 1998-2021 Bubo virginianus Grand-duc d'Amérique S
Barred Owl 1998-2021 Strix varia Chouette rayeé F
Snowy Owl 1998-2021 Nyctea scandiaca Harfang des neiges F
Great Grey Owl 1998-2021 Strix nebulosa La Chouette cendreéS
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor Engoulevent d'Amérique Engoulevent commun
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica Martinet ramoneur F
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1999-2023 Archilochus colubris Colibri à gorge rubis
Belted Kingfisher 1998-2021 Ceryle alcyon Martin-pêcheur Megaceryle alcyon CF
Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus Pic à tête rouge
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus Pic à ventre rouge M
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius Pic maculé F
Downy Woodpecker 1999-2020 Picoides pubescens Pic mineur Dendrocopos pubescens CFM
Hairy Woodpecker 1999-2020 Picoides villosus Pic chevelu Dendrocopos villosus CFM
Northern Flicker 1998-2020 Colaptes auratus Pic flamboyant Yellow-shafted flicker; Pic doré CFSM
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus Grand pic CFSM
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1998-2013 Contopus virens Pioui de l'Est Eastern pewee CFS
Least FlycatcherEmpidonax minimus Moucherolle tchébec
Eastern Phoebe 1999-2013 Sayornis phoebe Moucherolle phébi CF
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus Tyran huppé Moucherolle huppé CFS
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus Tyran tritri CF
Purple Martin Progne subis Hirondelle noire Hirondelle pourprée
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor Hirondelle bicolore Iridoprocne bicolor F
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia Hirondelle de rivage Hirondelle des sables F
Cliff Swallow Hirundo pyrrhonota Hirondelle à front blanc Petrochelidon pyrrhonata F
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Hirondelle des granges F
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Selgidopteryx serripennis Hirondelle à ailes hérissées Selgidopteryx ruficollis C
Bohemian Waxwing 1999-2020 Bombycilla garrulus Jaseur boréal Jaseur de Bohême
Cedar Waxwing 1999-2020 Bombycilla cedrorum Jaseur des cèdres CFS
House Wren Troglodytes aedon Troglodyte familier
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis Moqueur chat Moqueur polyglotte C
Brown Thrasher 1998-2013 Toxostoma rufum Moqueur roux FS
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis Merle-bleu de l'est Merle bleu à poitrine rouge
Wood thrush Hylocichla mustelina Grive du bois M
Veery Catharus fuscescens Grive fauve
Swainson's thrush Catharus ustulatus Grive à dos olive Hylocichla ustulata F
American Robin 1998-2020 Turdus migratorius Merle d'Amérique Merle américain CFSM
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea Gobe-mouches gris bleu
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1998-2020 Regulus satrapa Roitelet à couronne dorée FSM
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1998-2020 Regulus calendula Roitelet à couronne rubis F
Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus Mésange à tête noire CFSM
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1998-2020 Sitta canadensis Sittelle à poitrine rousse F
White-breasted Nuthatch 1999-2020 Sitta carolinensis Sittelle à poitrine blanche CFSM
Brown Creeper 1998-2014 Certhia americana Grimpereau brun Certhia familiaris americana C
Northern Cardinal 1998-2020 Cardinalis cardinalis Cardinal rouge FSM
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1998-2020 Pheucticus ludovicianus Cardinale à poitrine rose Gros-bec à poitrine rose FS
Pine Grosbeak 1998-2020 Pinicola enucleator Dur-bec des pins Gros-bec des pins F
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea Passerin indigo Bruant indigo
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus Tohi à flancs roux Rufous-sided towhee, Tohi commun FS
American Tree Sparrow 1998-2020 Spizella arborea Bruant hudsonien Tree sparrow; Pinson hudsonien F
Chipping Sparrow 1998-2020 Spizella passerina Bruant familier Pinson familier, hair-bird F
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla Le pinson des champs
Song Sparrow 1998-2020 Melospiza melodia Bruant chanteur Pinson chanteur FSM
Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus Pinson vespéral Bruant vespéral: seen 07 Oct., 2019
White-throated Sparrow 1998-2020 Zonotrichia albicollis Bruant à gorge blanche Pinson à gorge blanche FS
White-crowned Sparrow 1998-2023 Zonotrichia leucophrys Bruant à couronne blanche Pinson à couronne blanche
Slate-coloured Junco 1998-2020 Junco hyemalis Junco ardoisé Dark-eyed junco; snowbird FS
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis Bruant des neiges Plectrophane des neiges F
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca Paruline à gorge orangée F
Nashville Warbler Vermivora ruficapilla Paruline à joues grises Fauvette à joues grisesF
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia Paruline jaune Fauvette jaune
Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia Fauvette à tête cendrée
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata Paruline à croupion jaune Myrtle warbler; fauvette à croupion jaune F
Northern Parula Parula americana Fauvette parula Parula warbler F
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia Fauvette noire et blanche
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens Paruline verte à gorge noire Fauvette verte à gorge noire F
American Redstart 1998-2014 Setophaga ruticilla Paruline flamboyante Fauvette flamboyante FS
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1998-2020 Dendroica pensylvanica Fauvette à flancs marron
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia Fauvette triste
Common Yellowthroat 1998-2020 Geothlypis trichas Paruline masquée Fauvette masquée S
Ovenbird Seirus aurocapillus Fauvette couronnée F
Warbling Vireo 1998-2014 Vireo gilvus Viréo mélodieux FM
Philadelphia Vireo 1998-2014 Vireo philadelphicus Viréo de Philadelphie
Red-eyed Vireo 1998-2014 Vireo olivaceus Viréo aux yeux rouges CFM
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius Viréo à tête bleue Solitary vireo (old name, pre-2000)
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus Carouge à épaulettes SM
Eastern Meadowlark 1998-2020 Sturnella magna Sturnelle des prés S
Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus Mainate rouilleux
Common Grackle 1998-2022 Quiscalus quiscula Mainate bronzé Bronzed grackle CFSM
Brown-headed Cowbird 1998-2020 Molothrus ater Vacher à tête brune F
Purple Finch 1998-2022 Carpodacus purpureus Roselin pourpré Haemorhous purpureus
House Finch 1998-2021 Carpodacus mexicanus Roselin familier Haemorhous mexicanus
White-winged Crossbill Loxia leucoptera Bec-croise à ailes blanches S
Common Redpoll 1998-2020 Carduelis flammea Sizerin à tête rouge Acanthis flammea; sizerin flammé
Pine Siskin 1998-2021 Carduelis pinus Chardonneret des pins Tarin des pins
American Goldfinch 1998-2022 Carduelis tristis Chardonneret jaune Spinus tristis CFSM
House Sparrow 1998-2024 Passer domesticus Moineau domestique English sparrow
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris Étourneau sansonnet CFSM
Northern Oriole 1998-2023 Icterus galbula Oriole du Nord Baltimore oriole FM
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea Tangara écarlate FS
Blue Jay 1999-2007 Cyanocitta cristata Geai bleu CFSM
American Crow 1998-2020 Corvus brachyrhynchos Corneille américaine Common crow CFSM
Common Raven 1998-2020 Corvus corax Grand corbeau Northern raven

Appendix: Some Bird Species reported, likely to occur, to be verified in Seymour Twp.

Bird Species of Seymour Township, II
English Latin French Alternative Names List
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis La grue canadienne
Wood Duck Aix sponsa Canard huppé
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca Sarcelle d'hiver
Common Screech Owl 1998-2021 Otus asio Petit duc Eastern screech owl
Saw-whet Owl 1998-2021 Aegolius acadicus Petite nyctale Northern saw-whet owl F
Grey Jay Perisoreus canadensis Geai gris Canada jay, whisky jack
Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus Goglu
Evening Grosbeak Coccothraustes vespertinus Le gros-bec errant Hesperiphona vespertina

Wild turkey [69 kb]

Nineteen wild turkeys on a cold, sunny Saturday afternoon, near Campbellford, 15 January 2005.
Photo (c) F.T. Manns, 2005.


Why these notes? How about the dictionary definition of phenology? I finally encountered the term via the Woodland Trust (U.K.) at Christmas 2001, and found out that it was a practice I'd adopted and maintained continuously, in an amateur capacity, since 1970...

Phenology, the study of natural phenomena that recur periodically, as migration, blossoming, etc, and of their relation to climate and changes in season.

For a monthly almanac of the year in nearby Peterborough county, with details on the changing weather, night skies, birds and animals, see a fine recent book by Drew Monkman, illustrated by Kimberly Caldwell (Monkman, 2002).

The following professional sources of bird information are especially recommended. LaForest (1993) details the year-round occurrence of birds at Presqu'ile provincial park, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, roughly 40 km south of Campbellford. Sadler (1983) wrote another excellent local reference, detailing the birds of Peterborough county, lying immemdiately north and northwest of Campbellford. A few notes on the wider region can be found in Goodwin (1995). For information on birds across Canada, see Godfrey (1979).

For an authoritative view of a particular species in the region, or anywhere else in southern Ontario, see Cadman et al. (1987, 2007), who compiled data from thousands of observers across the province, in two periods 1981-1985 and 2001-2005. Seymour township, apart from small areas in the northeast and northwest corners, comprises the majority of four 10-km squares in the Ontario Atlas. The 2x2 area of squares is approximately divided east-west by the first southward reach of the Trent downstream of Rice Lake, as seen on the atlas index maps. Two squares on the north side cover the area from Allan Mills west to the hamlet of Trent River, while a seventh square to the west covers the small area upstream (southwest) from Trent River. The geography of the area is covered in detail by NTS 1:50,000-scale map sheets 31 C/5 (Campbellford) and 31 C/4 (which includes the southwest corner of the township). Lastly, see Austen et al. (1994) for an informative review of the history and recent status of 58 species of birds across Ontario.

A short history of birdwatching in Ontario has recently been published by long-term birder Fred Helleiner. Nowadays a Brighton resident, nearby Presqu'ile Park is inevitably one of his favourite haunts. This is an interesting read for birders, though as much concerned with the people as with the subject of their passion (Helleiner, 2013).

Geological note: Helleiner's book mentions geologists Jack Satterley (pp.17,31) and Ian Halladay (pp.26,34). Satterley is credited with the 1940s invention of "pishing", a rapid repetition of syllables which often succeeds in attracting the curiosity of small birds, and which is a mainstay of keen North American birders. Jack Satterley was a geologist with the Ontario Department of Mines (now the Ontario Geological Survey). He did a range of work in Ontario, including a 1942 survey of mineral occurrences in the Parry Sound district. The Jack Satterley geochronology lab, which began at the Royal Ontario Museum and is now at the University of Toronto, is named in his honour.

Great gray owl [81 kb]

A great gray owl on 11th Line West of Seymour township, circa 16:30 hours, Friday 25th February 2005. The winter of 2004-2005 was notable for a sustained irruption of these large owls from the far north, and the intermittent appearance of other winter birds such as slate-coloured juncos, cedar waxwings and pine grosbeaks. Jan Wybourn photo.
An owl, mostly the quiet hunter, is surprisingly easy to miss. Surveying trails in Ferris on 20 November 2021, I walked right past a barred owl in plain sight, some 25 metres from the road - I would have missed the wonderful sight, but for a passing couple from Kingston, whose eyes were sharper than mine, who were paying attention as they paid their first visit to the park!


AUSTEN,MJW, CADMAN,MD and JAMES,RD (1994) Ontario Birds at Risk: Status and Conservation Needs. Federation of Ontario Naturalists / Long Point Bird Observatory, 165pp.

BURRELL,K and BURRELL,M (2019) Best Places to Bird in Ontario. Greystone Books, 278pp.

CADMAN,MD, EAGLES,PFJ and HELLEINER,FM (1987) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario. Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Long Point Bird Observatory, published by University of Waterloo Press, 617pp.

CADMAN,MD, SUTHERLAND,DA, BECK,GG, LEPAGE,D and COUTURIER,AR (editors) (2007) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Bird Studies Canada,Environment Canada,Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Nature, 706pp.

GODFREY,WE (1979) The Birds of Canada. National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, 428pp.

GOODWIN,CE (1995) A Bird-Finding Guide to Ontario, revised and expanded edition, University of Toronto Press, 477pp. [Peterborough, Victoria and Northumberland counties are described (pp.208-225) and a few local sites mentioned, such as the Murray Marsh and Goodrich Loomis conservation area].

HELLEINER,F (2013) For the Birds: Recollections and Rambles. Brighton, Ontario, 2nd printing, revised, 71pp.

LaFOREST,SM (1993) Birds of Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Friends of Presqu'ile Park / Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 436pp.

MONKMAN,D (2002) Nature's Year in the Kawarthas: a Guide to the Unfolding Seasons. Natural Heritage / Natural History Inc., Toronto, 338pp.

SADLER,D (1983) Our Heritage of Birds: Peterborough County in the Kawarthas. Peterborough Field Naturalists / Orchid Press, Peterborough, ON, 192pp.

TOZER,R (2011) Checklist and seasonal status of the birds of Algonquin provincial park. Algonquin Park Tech.Bull. 9, 34pp. [ first printed in 1990, updated and reprinted five times since].

ZARANKIN,J (2021) O Canada jay! Canadian Geographic 141 no.2, 34-39, March.

Graham Wilson, last updated 15 June 2024

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