How Are You Celebrating International Migratory Bird Day?

Earlier this week, staff at Nature Canada set out to explore our own backyard, so to speak. With International Migratory Bird Day coming up this Saturday, the avid birders and beginner birders on staff wanted to welcome the birds back to our shared home. Luckily, the perfect spot to go bird watching is just up the river from our office in downtown Ottawa at Lac Deschênes Important Bird Area (IBA).
Spanning the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, this IBA is not a lake as its name suggests, but an area that covers the shorelines of the Ottawa River from Deschênes Rapides to Innis Point and the river in between. On our visit, we were treated to the sight of Canada geese, Common Tern, Mallard and a rare sighting of a Northern Parula .

We joined a group of well-equipped bird watchers who were gathered around the tree where the Parula was perched. As a novice birder, I thought this was quite a sight. A dozen people fawning over a tiny creature! But in a world where life seems to move at warp speed, the Parula gave us a moment to stop and appreciate the small wonders of nature. It was a beautiful thing.

Millions of people watch birds from their yard every year. The spring and fall are particularly good times to go bird watching. Unusual species can turn up, stopping over to rest and refuel before continuing their journey. This spring marks the 20th anniversary of International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), an occasion where people across Canada and the U.S. celebrate birds through bird walks, bird banding, festivals and a whole host of activities. Check out our events listing webpage to find out if there’s an IMBD event near you.

If you’re not attending an IMBD event, but still want to welcome home our birds, try following one of our 12 tips to help birds. Small changes in your day-to-day life can make a big difference for our winged friends!

For those who are in Ottawa this month, be sure to join us for a screening of The Big Year, a comedy about birding starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. The movie starts at 7:30pm and will be shown at the University of Ottawa in English with French subtitles on May 16.If you’d like to get out into nature for IMBD, Ted Cheskey, manager of bird conservation for Nature Canada, will be leading a bird walk at Lac Deschênes IBA with the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club (OFNC) on May 12.

The following week, OFNC will be hosting Salvadora Moralez, a bird expert from Nicaragua. Salvadora will be giving a talk about birding and ecotourism in Nicaragua as well as accompanying the OFNC on a walk of Mud Lake conservation area. The birds that spend the summer in Canada, over-winter in warmer countries like Nicaragua.Learn more about the birds we have in common with Nicaragua by joining Salvadora and the OFNC! Contact tcheskey@naturecanada.ca for more details.

Image of bird photographers

Bird photographers at Lac Deschenes IBA.