Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada
Join our NatureBlitz! Nature Canada celebrates Moth Week in the capital!

Join our NatureBlitz! Nature Canada celebrates Moth Week in the capital!

[caption id="attachment_19913" align="alignleft" width="300"]Cedar Waxwing Join our NatureBlitz to see birds like these Cedar Waxwings![/caption]

Join Nature Canada and local nature experts for a NatureBlitz on Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th in Ottawa's Carlington Woods area! The event will feature walks, talks and presentations over a 24-hour period from 12pm Saturday until 12pm Sunday (map and full schedule below).

Help us explore your NatureHood, and try your hand at using an ultrasonic bat detector! NatureBlitzes are a great way to get outside and learn about nature with members of your community and local nature experts! This is the first survey of its kind in the Carlington Woods area and we hope to identify as many different living things as possible at the site (map below).

Visitor events will include themed guided walks during which guests can learn to identify the plants, birds, amphibian, reptiles and insects found in Carlington Woods. The walks will also have a special focus on local species at risk, including Little Brown and Northern Long-eared bats, Barn and Bank Swallows, Chimney Swifts and Monarch butterflies. So get your binoculars, hiking boots and flashlights ready and come join us as we get up close and personal with a world of mystery right outside your door. It's nearby nature! And it's your NatureHood! Don't have binoculars? No field guide? No flashlight? Don't worry! You can borrow one of ours. We have 8 pairs of binoculars, bilingual field guides and some head-lamps available to sign-out at the Nature Canada tent once you've registered for a guided walk. And we'll have handheld ultrasonic bat detectors available for sign-out, too! [caption id="attachment_16786" align="aligncenter" width="300"]photo of expert examining tree bark Jennifer is using a small hand held magnifying glass to examine the lichen on tree bark. Don't be afraid to look at the world from a new perspective. You might be surprised at the beautiful details that are easily overlooked.[/caption] Check the schedule to see which walk(s) you would like to join, or come out for all of them! Beginners, experts and especially kids and their families are welcome to this FREE event! We hope to see you there! Saturday, July 18, 2015 You've heard him present the "Tweet of the Week" on CBC, now join Alex MacDonald as he leads a scavenger hunt for kids and listens for evening birds. [caption id="attachment_21555" align="aligncenter" width="960"]NatureBlitz Schedule for Saturday, July 18 2015 Join us for afternoon, evening or nighttime walks on Saturday, July 18, 2015. We'll be celebrating National Moth Week with local experts and checking out which species of bats are flying around the area![/caption] Sunday, July 19, 2015 [caption id="attachment_21556" align="aligncenter" width="960"]NatureBlitz Schedule for Sunday, July 19 2015 Don't miss "Save the Salamanders" with Matt Ellerbeck at 11am, and rise with the early birds to join Emily Bird as she points out our feathered friends at 7am![/caption]   Please check-in and register at the Nature Canada tent when you arrive. The tent/basecamp for the event will be located at the end Morriset Avenue (1503 Morriset) just before the fence to the city's reservoir area. Look for the blue tent. [caption id="attachment_21568" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Map of Carlington Woods area, Ottawa, Ontario Carlington Woods is nestled between the communities of Carlington, Central Park and Copeland Park-Bel Air Heights-Braemar Park. Find us in the blue tent at the end of Morriset Avenue! Map provided by Google.[/caption]   A special Thank You to all the experts who will be sharing their expert knowledge and passion with us at this event! Financial support for this initiative is provided in part by through the Government of Ontario's Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, and White Swan. Govt of Ontario logo White Swan logo (white)

Band-a-visitor Station Teaches kids about Bird Data Collection Methods

Band-a-visitor Station Teaches kids about Bird Data Collection Methods

Nature Canada’s Bird Day Fair was proud to host the Innis Point Bird Observatory’s (IPBO) band-a-visitor station which sought to teach children about wild bird data collection methods. The station proved to be a fun and creative way to engage a youth audience with the data collection techniques used in the tracking of bird populations and their migratory patterns. At the station, the visiting guest was given a wrist band with a tracking number corresponding to a bird which had been previously caught and released by the Observatory. Visitors could use this number to log on to Nature Canada’s “I was banded” website after the fair and learn about the bird they were matched with. The visitor’s gender, age and wingspan size were then recorded by a bander, simulating techniques used by scientists in the field. This gave visitors an intuitive understanding of bird banding as they were able to experience the process first hand. Celia Bodnar, a volunteer with the IPBO and one of the organizer's of the booth, said younger and older kids were drawn to the visitor banding station. “The kids loved the idea of getting matched to something like a real bird,” Bodnar said. “Bigger kids were keen to look up what species they were. I even had a few kids request a species that they wanted to be, and one excited boy told me that he already knew he was a bird species he had designed himself.” Despite the booth's success, there are still lessons to be learned from the project. “We need to see how we can get more of the adult crowd in as well,” Bodnar said. “I was a bit surprised that not more people were interested in more details about the science behind the bird banding and migration monitoring that we do.” The Innis Point Bird Observatory, started in 1982, is part of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network and was created to monitor the long-term population characteristics of birds in the Ottawa area. Scientists hope to gain a better understanding of bird migration patterns by combining the IPBO's observations with data from monitoring stations across Canada. Check out our suggestions on hosting your own band a visitor station and ideas for other ways to celebrate birds. Thank you to our guest blogger Dylan Copland for this post. Dylan is a journalist and media specialist living in Ottawa, Ontario. He is currently volunteering with Nature Canada where he is writing about animals, nature and the people who love them. You can reach him at and find his portfolio on the web at:

Nature Canada’s Bird Day Fair a huge success!

Nature Canada’s Bird Day Fair a huge success!

More than 800 people attended Bird Day Fair this year in Andrew Haydon Park in Ottawa-Gatineau's Lac Deschênes Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. For the second year in a row Nature Canada celebrated Bird Day in Ottawa with local groups, businesses, families and friends with crafts, nature walks, live bird demonstrations and more. New additions to this year's fair included a 'Bird Day passport' which attendees could have stamped at each participating organization's tent; a milkweed stand for those interested in learning more about using this plant to attract monarch butterflies; a roaming turtle; and presentations by bird and wildlife experts amongst other activities. The live bird of prey demonstrations by Falcon Ed drew unprecedented crowds for Bird Day. Despite the presence of a few intimidating crows and gulls, the falcons and owls got close to the crowds and showed off their powerful talons and impressive wing spans. Those who participated in the bird walks added their bird sightings to eBird in an effort to outmatch sightings recorded by birders at a sister Bird Day festival in Oshawa, Ontario. Not to be out-done by its national capital rival, the Oshawa Festival of Friends recorded an impressive 68 species versus Bird Day Ottawa's 22. Congratulations Oshawa birders! This short video captures some of the highlights from the event. [video type="youtube" id="pqNxB0XFj2w"] Nature Canada would like to thank the people and organizations who were present at Bird Fair Ottawa and extend a special thank-you to Bird Day Fair sponsors.  

[separator headline="h2" title="Founding Partner"] gosling-foundation
[separator headline="h2" title="Partners"]  

Come out to Bird Day Fair in Ottawa!
Photo by Rachel Thibodeau

Come out to Bird Day Fair in Ottawa!

Join us for Bird Day Fair at Andrew Haydon Park, Saturday May 31st – 10am-4pm Just as our migratory birds are returning to Canada from their wintering grounds south of the border, a huge celebration is unfolding across the continent to celebrate birds – and you can be part of it! Bird Day is a celebration of migratory birds and the wild spaces they inhabit. Join Nature Canada in a celebration of the incredible migration journey of birds through a day of fun activities for the whole family. There will be nature walks, crafts and activities, a live raptor demonstration, and an opportunity to meet local groups working to protect wildlife. It's also a great opportunity to test drive our fantastic NEW app that helps you map local wildlife sightings. Several organizations like Ecology Ottawa, Wild Birds Unlimited, Nikon, Master Gardeners of Ottawa and others will be there to share information about their work. Check out our Facebook event page and our Bird Day pages on our website for more information on the day's events. We'll be giving away FREE bookmarks and Junior Birder Guidebooks in English and en Français on May 31 so be sure to come early! See below for the Bird Day Fair schedule of events. Photo by Rachel Thibodeau birdday2014 schedule of events for Bird Day Fair



Join Nature Canada and local naturalist experts for a fall BioBlitz at Mud Lake and help us locate and identify as many species as possible around the site. Follow local naturalist experts on a guided walk and learn to identify plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles and more! Everyone is welcome. Be prepared to get out and get your hands dirty.  Remember to dress for the weather, wear solid shoes or rain boots and bring a snack and a water bottle. If you have field guides, binoculars, magnifying glasses or any other critter examining tools feel free to bring them along. 1057551_10151735821870399_1279726871_n Stephanie Wilson and Alexander MacDonald species watching at Mud Lake The BioBlitz will run for 24 hours starting on Friday September 13 at 3pm until Saturday September 14 at 3pm.  Check out the schedule to decide if you want to come out to one walk, or to all of them.

Fri a Sat schedule

Meet us at the Nature Canada tent in the parking lot to register, get your check list and meet a guide. Mud Lake is located along the Ottawa River off of Carling Ave and Britannia Rd. Still not sure how to get there? Get directions here. Google understands "Mud Lake", so just go to the "Get Directions" tab, type in where you are starting from, and add your destination as Mud Lake. You can also set if you are walking, biking or driving. We are looking forward to seeing you there! We are pleased to announce that the following experts will join us at Mud Lake on September 13-14, 2013 Botany experts – Serguei Ponomarenko, Zoe Pachen, Cassandra Robillard Insect experts – Chris Schmidt, Henri Goulet Avian experts - Gillian Shields, Carlos Barbery, Emily Bird, Reptile and amphibian experts – Julie Chateauvert, William Halliday, Rachel Thibodeau General experts – Jeff Skevington, Blake Corbin, Michelle Locke If you have any questions or would like to be involved as an expert please contact Sarah at



In the heart of Canada’s National Capital Region, the Lac Deschênes – Ottawa River Important Bird Area provides important stopover habitat to continentally significant populations of waterbirds and waterfowl, and foraging areas to nationally significant numbers of the Threatened Chimney Swift. This interprovincial IBA includes well known natural areas including Britannia’s Mud Lake, the Deschênes Rapids, Breckenridge swamp, Shirley’s Bay and the small archipelago of islands around the Champlain Bridge. Nature Canada is actively engaged in raising awareness and helping conserve the IBAs and its historically significant natural waterways.


Ottawa Bird Fair Announces Participants for May 12 Event

Ottawa Bird Fair Announces Participants for May 12 Event


Ottawa’s first-ever Bird Fair is just 10 short days away and we have a growing list of local groups, organizations, outfitters and people who will bring their knowledge, talent and enthusiasm to Bird Fair to help us welcome back our birds.
We’re delighted to announce the following groups, non-profits and artists will be joining us for a day of festivities.
Stop by their booth to chat with group members about the four birds of prey that will be at the Fair: Red-Tailed Hawk, Barn Owl, Great-Horned Owl and American Kestrel. Be sure to swing by the main stage at 12:45pm and 2:10 for a flight demonstration!
Not only is Nikon sponsoring Falcon Ed. to share their expertise and their birds at Bird Fair, they’re also hosting a booth where they’ll have spotting scopes and binoculars. Look for their presentation on binoculars and scopes on the main stage.
Sally Lee Sheeks
Channel your inner bird at Sally’s interactive art display that encourages adults and children to climb into a bird nest that she will build with the help of Bird Fair participants. Come see what the view is like from the other side of a spotting scope! If you’re wondering what will attract birds to your yard, look no further than Wild Birds Unlimited’s booth. You’ll have a chance to talk with the knowledgeable folks at Wild Birds Unlimited about the right feeder and seed types for your area.
Feast your eyes on local wildlife photographer Stephen J Stephen’s lovely portraits of waterfowl that call the Lac Deschênes Important Bird Area home. Stop by his booth to have a gander at his photographs for sale.
Join members from Ottawa’s Duck Club to learn about the work they do, where they operate and how they build, install, check and maintain their nesting boxes. For those with children, there’ll be "show and tell" items, which will include natural duck cavities and examples of nesting structures.
Poterie LM Serafin Pottery Local area potter Lisa-Marie Serafin will have a booth displaying her wonderful work that will be for sale during the Fair.
Swing by CPAWS’s booth to learn more about opportunities to connect with nature in Ottawa-Gatineau.
[separator headline="h2" title="Other groups that you can look forward to meeting at Bird Fair include:"]
Le Nichoir bird rehabilitation centre
Nature Canada ... and more!
Check our Facebook page event and follow us at @NatureCanada and look for #OttBirdDay, #naturehood for the latest updates on the Bird Fair.
[separator headline="h2" title="Thank you to our generous sponsors for their support of Bird Fair"]
Community Foundation of Ottawa Fonds vert – Ville de Gatineau Gosling Foundation Harold Crabtree Foundation McLean Foundation Nikon Ontario Trillium Foundation Telus Community Fund
The Printing House
[/three_fourth][one_fourth_last] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]Image of a Wood duck Wood duck by Stephen J Stephen[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]Image of a Barn owl Barn owl by Vladimir Naumoff via Flickr[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]Image of a birds nest Sally Lee Sheek's bird nest.[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]Image of a mug Mug by Lisa-Marie Serafin[/caption] [/one_fourth_last]



You'll find the latest news on events happening in and around Lac Deschênes on this page. Check back often to see what's happening in your Naturehood!

Nature Canada Events: 

  •  Scion City Chase – Saturday July 27th, 2013 from 10am to 4pm
Nature Canada will be hiding at an undisclosed location in Ottawa, ready to test City Chase participants with a physical and humorously educational bird-related challenge. Will you be able to find us?
  • Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays – August 18th, 2013 from 9am to 12pm
Stop at the scenic Conroy Island Lookout or along the Parkway to talk to Nature Canada staff about the Lac Deschênes IBA and birds in the area. Grab some free activity books, swag and a water bottle, and learn about birds!
  • Nature Canada Engages Ottawa Youth: Naturehood and Guardian of Nature buttons
We are working to connect Ottawa and Gatineau residents to the nature in their own backyard. The "Guardian of Nature" buttons will be a great way to engage youth in the Naturehood program by proclaiming them an "official Guardian of Nature." Every week Nature Canada will be at a different park in the Ottawa Region doing outreach with children. [caption id="attachment_1301" align="alignleft" width="223"]Photo by Alicia Cuzner, taken at the Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikeday in Ottawa on June 21 Photo by Alicia Cuzner, taken at the Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikeday in Ottawa on June 21, 2013[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1302" align="alignright" width="222"]Stephanie Wilson and Alexander MacDonald specie watching at Mud Lake - July 17, 2013 Stephanie Wilson and Alexander MacDonald specie watching at Mud Lake - July 17, 2013[/caption]                      

Ottawa Field Naturalist Club Events:

  • Alfred's Birds - Saturday August 3 fom 9:00 am to 12 noon
Meet at the Ultramar gas station on Hwy 17 just east of the village of Alfred at the corner of Peat Moss Road. We will look for waterfowl and shorebirds at the Alfred sewage lagoons. If time permits we will go to the Alfred Bog boardwalk to look for songbirds. Leader: Jacques Bouvier and friend.
  • Fletcher Wildlife Garden Evening Walk - Tuesday August 6 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Meet at Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Prince of Wales Drive between Dow’s Lake and Baseline Rd. This is a lovely time to spend in this dynamic urban green space. This general interest walk will feature the garden and its wildlife. Come and discover the diversity of habitats  binoculars, field guides and a loop (magnifying glass) if you have them, and come prepared for the weather and uneven terrain (sturdy shoes). Leader: Renate Sander-Regier.
  • Rideau River Paddle at Brewer Park - Friday August 9 from 5:30pm to 8:00 pm
Meet at the Parking lot off Brewer Way behind the baseball diamonds. We will launch at or beside the Brewer Park dock (150 m east of parking lot along footpath). Don’t worry if you need to arrive late: we should be easy to find. Map link: An after-work paddle on the urban Rideau, visiting remnants of Ottawa’s native habitats including the un-canalized river, riparian forest, little-disturbed islands, riverbank, wetland, and even a bit of Dow’s Swamp. No guarantees that actual plant experts will be on hand, but there is always lots to see. Bring a canoe and a sandwich. Email to if needed to arrange canoe sharing or the 150 m boat-carry etc. Leader: Hume Douglas.
  • Mid-Summer FLora and Fauna - Sunday August 11 from 10 am to 12pm
Meet at the Beaver Trail Parking Lot (P8), off Moodie Dr., south of Hunt Club Rd. We will explore the deciduous forests and wetlands in this area of the NCC greenbelt. This is a general natural history walk to observe the plants and animals of midsummer. Leader: Isabelle Nicol.
  • Fletcher Wildlife Garden Evening Walk - Thursday August 15th, 2013 from 7pm to 8:30pm
This general interest walk will feature the garden, its native wildflowers and wildlife. Come and discover the diversity of habitats and life to be found in this small urban wild space, and learn about current projects and initiatives. Meet at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Prince of Wales Drive between Dow’s Lake and Baseline Rd. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them, and come prepared for the weather. The event will only be cancelled in heavy rain and/or thunderstorms. Bring water, binoculars and field guides if you like. Leader: Isabelle Nichol.
  • Water Chestnut Pull Days - August 15, 16, and 17 from 9am to 3pm
Come help save the Ottawa River! Volunteers are needed to help remove invasive Water Chestnut Plants from Voyageur Provincial Park near Chute-à-Blondeau, ON. If getting wet and dirty to save the environment sounds like fun to you, then come out and pull.  Bring sunscreen, lunch, snacks, plenty of water and extra clothes.  Also bring your own canoe, kayak or boat (safety equipment). A limited number of canoes may be available on a first come first served basis. For more information or to register, contact: Jennifer Jung at (613) 674-2825 ext. 223 or or
  • Shirley's Bay Birding - Saturday August 24 from 7am to 11am
Shirley’s Bay is perhaps Ottawa’s hottest birding spot year round. This excursion will feature waterfowl and shorebirds, with bonus land birds. Come prepared for the weather. 7:00 am at Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of the parking lot, Richmond Rd. at Assaly Road near Pizza Pizza. Carpool to Shirley’s Bay OR meet at 07:30 am the parking lot at the Ottawa River boat launch at the north end of Rifle (Range) Road. Leader: Jon Ruddy and friend.
  • Great Egret Wednesdays with Le Club des ornithologues de l’Outaouais – Each Wednesday from August 7th to 28th , 2013 from 6:30pm
This activity organized by the COO is for everyone! Meet up at the Deschênes Rapids parking lot (at the end of Chemin Vanier) to observe Great Egrets with birding experts. For more information visit the COO website.
  • Shirley's Bay Birding with the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club – Saturday August 31st, 2013 from 7am to 11am
Explore Ottawa's hottest birding spot with the OFNC. See waterfowl, shorebirds and landbirds! Meet at 7am at northeast corner of the parking lot at the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre OR meet at 7:30am at the parking lot at the Ottawa River boat launch. For more information visit the OFNC website.

Success with The Big Year and Migratory Bird Traffic Report for May 16th

Success with The Big Year and Migratory Bird Traffic Report for May 16th

[three_fourth]A huge thanks to everyone who joined us for our screening of The Big Year on Wednesday night at the University of Ottawa. The event was a successful celebration of International Migratory Bird Day (or week) and was a great opportunity for birders and non-birders alike to come together for a hoot - pun fully intended. "The bird is the word", as Ben Welland suggests in his column in today's edition of OttawaXpress magazine. For added fun at the event Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club representatives Ann and Gordon MacKenzie, Jeff Skevington and Jennifer Spallin volunteered to field questions as part of Q &; A session after the film. Many thanks to this group for their excellent contributions and for teaching this birder several new things! And I must offer one more big thanks again to Dave Brown and Robyn Bresnahan from CBC Radio One's Ottawa Morning show, for their excellent work this week to insert migratory bird traffic reports into each morning's broadcast (in addition to having me on-air on Tuesday morning). I hope that listeners in Ottawa-Gatineau have had fun hearing about the feathered friends moving through and taking-up residence in our region this spring. We submitted the following report to CBC as the final installment in our migratory bird traffic series. Many thanks again to Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club volunteer Chris Lewis for providing the bird report data to me each evening - we couldn't have done it without her help! [separator headline="h2" title="Migratory Bird Traffic Report - May 15-16th "]

The number of Warbler species spotted locally remains stable at 22. Ottawa-Gatineau birders spotted a couple of Common Loons loafing and fishing below the Deschenes Rapids and at Shirley's Bay, though still no reports of their Red-throated counterparts at Lac Deschênes. An often elusive and acrobatic Least Bittern was spotted in a west end marsh near the old Nortel campus - both Virginia and Sora Rails have been spotted there recently. The skies downtown are being patrolled by a pair of breeding Peregrine Falcons, whose nest is precariously located on the Delta Hotel downtown - this no doubt has our smaller feathered friends on alert. Gorgeous Scarlet Tanagers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have been singing at Shirley's Bay recently, where computerized-sounding Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks are all very active on territory. An Evening Grosbeak was also spotted hanging out on Parliament,and small numbers of Chimny Swifts are being reported in the region. Red-eyed Vireos continue to move through the area in large numbers, accompanied by large numbers of shorebirds, including Least Sandpipers.
[/three_fourth][one_fourth_last] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="200"]Northern Saw-whet Owl Northern Saw-whet Owl[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="178"]Image of a Blackburnian Warbler Blackburnian Warbler (Alan Woodhouse)[/caption] [/one_fourth_last]

Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.