Bird watching easier to learn in winter

It might sound the alternative of what you can anticipate, however hen watching is definitely simpler to be taught within the winter months.

And it’s an ideal pandemic passion that’s simple for folks to take up, based on Laura Burns, a analysis conservation specialist with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

“It’s excellent to be taught proper now as a result of there are fewer hen species round,” Burns stated, including the shortage of foliage on the bushes additionally makes it simpler to identify birds. “Within the spring and fall migrations, you’ll see as much as 300 hen species go to the province. That may be overwhelming if you’re beginning out.”


Cedar waxwing. Picture by Don Stephens.

Proper now, among the native birds which can be comparatively simple to identify embrace owls, corvids comparable to ravens, crows and jays, together with woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches, she stated. And naturally, there are the adaptable home sparrows, that are a species launched from Europe, together with curiosities just like the Hungarian partridge, an launched recreation hen.

“The perfect time to identify birds is to rise up at daybreak, when the birds are most energetic,” Burns stated. “The great half about winter is that it will get gentle afterward within the morning. So, you don’t should rise up so early to see them.”

Assiniboine Park, notably alongside the Assiniboine River, presents a great place to begin, because the several types of bushes entice a number of birds. One other place is the bushes across the outdated  Zoo entrance, which is residence to a giant, pileated woodpecker with a formidable pink crest. “They prefer to drum on wooden, to ascertain their territory,” Burns stated, including this hen is well noticed after folks hear the loud noise it makes.

Chook watching is one thing that may be carried out together with different actions, comparable to strolling or cross-country snowboarding, she stated.

Great horned owl. Photo by Don Stephens.


Nice horned owl. Picture by Don Stephens.

While you do spot a hen, Burns recommends noting it within the iNaturalist app in your smartphone or making a be aware if you get again to your desktop pc. “You add an image of the hen, or plant, or animal, and your cellphone provides a geotag,” she stated. “The app is fairly good at guessing the ID. Researchers all over the world then can log-in and offer you a definitive ID in your picture.”

Burns stated she and different researchers on the park arrange a filter to allow them to see uploaded images which can be particular to Assiniboine Park. She is an knowledgeable at butterfly identification and is a part of a venture that’s conserving the Poweshiek skipperling butterflies. “We now have 60 skipperling caterpillars overwintering on the zoo within the freezers right here,” she stated, including the temperature is ready at -4 C.

“The perfect half concerning the neighborhood importing images to iNaturalist is that it generates enormous information units,” she stated. “Scientists can observe change in animal species, for instance, throughout the pandemic lockdown or see if local weather change has an impact on them.”

One other newbie birding app is Merlin, which helps establish birds by presenting you with various choices. “It would present you a physique form, and ask you for colors, after which filters the solutions to your geographic space,” Burns stated, including an app for extra superior birders is eBird.

A hen feeder in your yard could be a good strategy to watch birds safely from a distance. Place it at the very least 10 metres away from a window to forestall the birds from by chance flying into it. Burns additionally reminds the general public to not feed birds or animals within the park as it will possibly habituate them to human contact, and may enhance the danger of unfavorable interactions for each folks and animals.

The perfect half about on the lookout for birds within the metropolis is that avians are conversant in people, in contrast to their nation cousins.

“Go for a stroll. Take your binoculars, and preserve your eyes open,” Burns stated. “It’s like taking part in Pokemon Go, however in the actual world.”

Susie Strachan

Susie Strachan
The Sou’wester neighborhood journalist

Susie Strachan is the neighborhood journalist for The Sou’wester.

Susie bought her first paying job as a journalist within the late ’80s on the Free Press Weeklies, then adopted that with 20 years as a reporter, photographer and specialty editor on the Winnipeg Free Press. She then spent 10 years working for WAVE journal with the Winnipeg Regional Well being Authority, earlier than returning to her roots because the reporter/photographer for The Sou’wester.

Somewhat bit about Susie:

She learns quite a bit from the folks she interviews;
She believes that neighborhood weeklies present a useful file of neighborhood occasions, locations and other people;
Due to all of the interviews she’s carried out, she’s by no means met a passion she received’t attempt, at the very least as soon as. She’s been thrown out of an airplane whereas strapped to an teacher, discovered to skijor and do it reasonably effectively, and tangled with all types of fibre arts. Don’t get her began on tie-dyed fingers, lopsided clay pots, the explosion within the basement whereas brewing ginger beer and different epic failures.

Name her at 204-697-7150 or e mail her at:

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