For a better look at the wonderful photos submitted by OFNC birders, please click on images.

Thanks to everyone who contributes bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 15 February 2024

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Lots of Red Crossbills North and West of Ottawa this week.  A few slipped into Ottawa in small numbers.  Keep an ear out for the kip-kip-kip calls.

Juvenile Bald Eagle in winter plumage, Eardley Escarpment, Tony Beck. Tony says: Note the tawny-coloured belly, dark head, and dark bill. This individual was hatched last summer.

Adult Golden Eagle, Eardley Escarpment, Tony Beck. Tony says: All Golden Eagle plumages have a tawny-coloured nape. The overall darkness (lack of contrasty white) of the underside indicates this is an adult. Compared to Bald Eagle, note the relatively small head and bill. In flight, the Golden tends to fly with a dihedral compared to the flat (straight) wings of Bald Eagle.

Pine Siskins, Stonecrest Road, Rick Collins. Siskins have a flexible diet, eating many small tree and flower seeds, in this case, spruce seeds, which can be seen in all three of their bills.

Female Red Crossbills, Stonecrest Road, Rick Collins. Rick noted that they were silent. Why are they hanging out silently in cedar? One possibility is implied that they often use cedar bark to line their nests, and nests are often found in cedar.

Carolina Wren, Elmhurst Park, Sanam Goudarzi. A pair has been nesting in this park for at least a few years now.

Female Common Merganser, Britannia Point, Alan Short. Attempting to swallow a young muskellunge. Small for a muskie, but substantial for the merg.

Male Hooded Merganser, Ottawa river at the Mud Lake Ridge, Alan Short.

Cedar Waxwing, Mud lake, Alan Short. Birds can get enough moisture from snow, but prefer liquid water when it’s available.

Red Crossbill, Rick Collins, Stonecrest Road. Speaking of eating snow, Red Crossbills were never taught the ‘don’t eat the yellow snow rule.’ In fact, they are known to seek out snow marked by canines, presumably seeking salts.

Snow Buntings, Akins Road, Alan Short.

Male Mallard, Ottawa River at the Mud Lake Ridge, Alan Short. Alan caught the graceful instant before contact with the water’s surface. Things are about to get less graceful.

Male Red-winged Blackbird, McCarthy Woods, Aaron Hywarren. One of three males exploiting the feeders to stay close to the breeding grounds.

Ring-necked Duck (2) Pont Champlain, Gatineau.  Also viewable from Bate Island.

Lesser Scaup (5)  Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.  Feb 10, Kennedy-Craig Forest, Ottawa.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Rideau River between Strathcona park and the 417, Ottawa.  Male & female.  Britannia point, Ottawa.

Turkey Vulture  (2) Feb 12,  Greenbelt Parking P19, Ottawa.  Feb 11, Alpine Avenue, Ottawa.

Golden Eagle – Feb 15, Fitzroy Provincial Park, Ottawa.

Northern Harrier – Feb 11, CHEO, Ottawa.  In contrast to most recent reports, an adult female.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Feb 10, Chemin Steele, Quyon, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Gray Partridge – McFadden Road (and area), Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Feb 13, Parc Moussette, Gatineau.

Great Blue Heron – Feb 12, Last Mile Road Drainage Pond, Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird  (2) Feb 10, Conc. 7A Ramsay, Carleton Place, Lanark. Feb 08, Berry side road and 5th Line area., Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush – Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.  Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau.  Feb 11, Stanley Park, Ottawa.

Chipping Sparrow –  Rue Connaught, Gatineau.

White-throated Sparrow – Feb 14, Pleasant Park-Kilborn Gardens Corridor, Ottawa. Feb 12, Arlington Woods, Ottawa.

Eastern Towhee – Continuing, Stony Swamp (Sarsaparilla Trail), Ottawa.

Red-winged Blackbird (3) Feb 15, McCarthy Woods, Ottawa (stakeout Western Tanager).  Feb 15, Yucks Lane, Kinburn, Ottawa.  Feb 12, Vances Side Road, Ottawa.  Feb 11, Manotick, Ottawa.

Western Tanager – Continuing, McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.   If you have enjoyed seeing this unique visitor, please consider providing some seed or suet.  Leave donations inside the metal container or directly fill the feeders.  Bags left outside are quickly consumed by squirrels, not tanagers.


Atlas note: Of late, Red Crossbills have been reported to the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas in significant numbers across the Ottawa Atlas Region: an area that covers approximately 7500 km2 across most of Ottawa and parts of several adjoining counties including Prescott-Russell, Lanark, and Renfrew.

If you are encountering some “late-winter birding doldrums” and are looking for an interesting way to contribute to the Atlas before peak-breeding season starts in May, then searching for crossbills is for you. Look for sizeable woodlots with cone-bearing conifers – particularly white pines – and have a listen for their unmistakable “kip-kip-kip” calls.  They can also be found on roadways enjoying grit.

The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas welcomes your observations of Red Crossbills anywhere in Ontario, even if they are simply seen or even just heard.  Be sure to take a few minutes to watch their behaviour: pairs have already been formed across our Region, and you may even be fortunate to come across nest building behaviour… a great way to enhance the breeding evidence.

Your reports are valuable and will provide essential information for Canadian researchers, scientists, government officials and conservation professionals that will guide environmental policies and conservation strategies across Ontario for years to come.

Participation in the Atlas is straight-forward and as easy as simply noting the presence of a bird.  For more information, visit https://www.birdsontario.org/  or contact the Ottawa Region Atlas Coordinator at  mailto:Ottawa@birdsontario.org


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 8 February 2024

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Another mild week means many of last week’s birds continue. Red Crossbills are all over Lanark and Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, and as expected, are beginning to show up in Ottawa and Prescott-Russel.

Adult female Red Crossbills, Gatineau Park, Tony Beck. Crossbills can breed anytime they find enough food, and they are setting up shop locally right now.

Adult male Red Crossbill, Lanark, Dan Vasiu. Nests are built from conifer twigs, and lined with needles, lichen, grass, or whatever is available. The male and female select the nest site together, and the female does the building. The males sometimes help by bringing nesting materials as this individual appears to be doing.

Winter Wren, Britannia, Gillian Wright. The bird skulked around forever – a species trait – but after a couple of hours Gillian’s patience was rewarded when a passerby flushed the bird out into the open.

Male American Black Ducks (female Mallard in back), Billings Bridge, Christopher Clunas. Females have olive, not yellow bills like these).

First Year Great Blue heron, Saw Mill Elementary School, Jim Robertson. Almost every year one or more juveniles try to overwinter, but many don’t make it to Feb. This year has been mild, so this bird might make it. First-year by the overall plumage, but the lack of white behind the eye is an easy marker. Jim warns the trails are very icy.

Adult Female Common Goldeneye, Ottawa river behind Mud Lake Ridge, Alan Short.

Adult Red-tailed Hawk, Torwood Dr, Dunrobin, Alan Short. Ever watch a young Cooper’s Hawk chase a squirrel forever in a tree, almost never successfully? Apparently red-tails have been seen pair hunting squirrels in trees, each covering one side of the tree.

Horned Lark, Rushmore Rd, Alan Short. Female Horned Larks build paved areas around their nests, often using cow patties and lichen. The purpose of this behaviour isn’t known although it may help to prevent nest materials from blowing away.

Snow Bunting, Akins Rd, Alan Short.

Pine Siskin, Gatineau Park, Tony Beck. From a distance, they might look like our other striped finches, but up close the sharp bill and yellow accents identify the bird. But a close view is rarely required. They often self-identify from a distance with their loud rackous calls.

Black-capped Chickadee, Britannia, Gillian Wright. Banding stations tracking migrating birds usually use a small metal band with an ID number. If you find a band or snap a sharp enough photo, you can often find out where and when the bird was banded. Behavioural studies often use a 4-band color system so researchers can identify individuals in the field without needing to recapture them.

Black-capped Chickadee, Britannia, Gillian Wright.

First-year Great Black-Backed Gull, Britannia Point, Alan Short.

Trumpeter Swan – Feb 06, Ottawa River, Ottawa.

Green-winged Teal – Feb 04, Kennedy-Craig Forest, Ottawa.

Canvasback – Feb 02,  Rapides Deschênes (incluant Parc), Gatineau.

Ring-necked Duck (2) Pont Champlain, Gatineau.  Also viewable from Bate Island.

Lesser Scaup (4)  Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.  Feb 08, Kennedy-Craig Forest, Ottawa.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Rideau River between Strathcona park and the 417, Ottawa.  Male & female.  Pont Champlain, Gatineau.

Gray Partridge – McFadden Road, Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Feb 04, Cambrian Rd W, Ottawa.

Great Blue Heron – Feb 05, Autoroute de l’Outaouais, ), Gatineau.  Feb 04, Beaverbrook, Ottawa. Feb 04, Sawmill Creek Community Centre and Pool, Ottawa.

Turkey Vulture – Feb 02, McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.

Belted Kingfisher – Fairpark Dr pond, Ottawa. Feb 04,  Chapman Mills CA, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Feb 04, Refuge Keogan, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Boreal Chickadee –  reported Feb 04, Wilbrod, Ottawa.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Brown Thrasher – Continuing Hilson Ave and neighbourhood, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Britannia CA, Ottawa.  Continuing at the outflow from Mud lake.

Eastern Bluebird  (4) Berry Side Road, Dunrobin, Ontario, CA, Ottawa. (2) Feb 05, Carleton Place, Quarry Rd., Lanark.

Hermit Thrush – Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.  Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau.

Chipping Sparrow –  Continuing Florizel Park, Ottawa.  Rue Connaught, Gatineau.

White-crowned Sparrow – Feb 04, Rue de la Loire, Gatineau.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow –  Bouvier Road, Prescott and Russell.  See discord for rules and address.  Last reported Feb. 04.

White-crowned Sparrow – Rue de la Loire, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – Continuing, Stony Swamp (Sarsaparilla Trail), Ottawa.

Rusty Blackbird – Feb 03, Lac Leamy (Gatineau), Gatineau.

Common Grackle – Feb 03, Wilbrod, Ottawa.

Western Tanager – Continuing, McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.  The Western Tanager continues and is doing quite well with the relatively mild winter and food donations.  If you have enjoyed seeing this unique visitor, please consider providing some seed or suet.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 1 February 2024

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Cooper’s Hawk, Britannia Point, Alan Short. Alan saw the bird all puffed out, feathers spread to help dry drying off, and said it looked huge until it flew.

American Tree Sparrow, Beaver Trail, David Lam. A winter-only visitor to the region, they breed at or above the tree-line, where they lay 4-6 eggs per brood and can live up to 10 years in the wild.

Gray Partridge, McFadden Road, Arlene Harrold. An introduced species, the population in North America has gradually fallen to a fraction of previous levels. They lay up to 22 eggs a brood and most adults don’t live to 2 years in the wild. Compare to the American tree sparrow and draw your own conclusions.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Bourget, Marti Stuart. Like many people, Marty sees herself as someone who feeds the birds, rather than a serious birder. But she knows her yard birds, and when a rare vagrant showed up, she set out to identify it by observing it carefully. In a world of digital photos, creating a field sketch like this really pushes the observer to notice everything.

Northern Cardinal, Fletcher, Aaron Hywarren. Puffed up for extra insulation, this cardinal demonstrates yet another use for birds’ ability to make their feathers extend away from their skin.

Wild Turkey, Moodie Drive, Janet McCullough. Defying expectations, balancing on the wire and vines to pick wild grapes, a seemingly impossible task for such a huge bird.

Horned Lark, Rushmore Road, Alan Short. According to the Cornell lab, female Horned Larks have a mating dance that looks so much like dust bathing that even the males get confused.

Black-capped Chickadee, Beaver Trail, David Lam.

Rough-legged Hawk, south of the Ottawa Airport, Aaron Hywarren. An arctic breeder, a few winter in our region annually. Look for them flying over fields or perching on impossibly small branches on the edges of agricultural land. Their main prey are lemmings and voles, but they will take other small mammals and birds as large as ptarmigan when rodents are hard to find.

Snow Buntings, Akins road, Alan Short.

Hooded merganser, Britannia Point, Alan Short.

Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspur, Lockhead, Janet McCullough. One of these things is not like the others. The angle of view isn’t helpful at first, since the distinctive head and back are mostly hidden. But check out the tails. One has avery different pattern.

Canvasback – Deschenes rapids west of Britannia, Ottawa.

Ring-necked Duck (2) Piste cyc. Sentier des Voyageurs – Pont Champlain – Parc des Rapides-Deschênes, Gatineau. Also viewable from Bate Island.

Lesser Scaup (5)  Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Rideau River between Strathcona park and the 417, Ottawa.  3 BAGO (2 male, 1 female).

Gray Partridge – McFadden Road, Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (2) Rapides Deschênes (incluant Parc), Gatineau.  Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.  Often in company with one or two Iceland and or Glaucous Gull, along with Herring Gulls and one or two Ring-billed Gulls.

Ring-billed Gull (4) Jan 31, Parc Moussette, Gatineau.

Common Loon – Jan 29, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Great Blue Heron – Jan 27, Sawmill Creek Elementary School, Ottawa. Jan 29, HWY 7 when leaving Carleton Place (heading east), Lanark.

Northern Harrier – Eagleson Road from Terry Fox to Old Richmond and beyond, Ottawa. This bird covers a lot of territory.  Jan 27, McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.  Another was seen near Carlsbad Springs.

Belted Kingfisher – Jan 28, Watts Creek Pathway, Ottawa.  Jan 27, Chelsea-chemin Notch, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Brown Thrasher – Continuing Hilson Ave and neighbourhood, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Jan 28, Britannia CA, Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush – Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.  Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau.

A leucistic American Robin, with white flashes in its wings and tail, is present at the same site in Britannia as the Winter Wren and Hermit Thrush.

Chipping Sparrow –  Continuing Florizel Park, Ottawa.  Rue Connaught, Gatineau.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow –  Bouvier Road, Prescott and Russell.  See discord for rules and address.

Savannah Sparrow – Jan 29-31, Lockhead Rd W, Ottawa.  Fantastic spot for Snow Buntings, Horned Larks, and the occasional Lapland Longspur.

Lapland Longspurs are being widely reported in eastern Ontario in larger numbers than usual, including flocks of up to 85 individuals. This may be a function of relatively low snow levels leaving many bare patches available for foraging.

The first Redpolls of the year for Ottawa county were a small flock seen in Marlborough Forest. Good numbers of Red Crossbills, Pine Siskins and Redpolls are being seen just north and west of us; expert some of these to spill into the region over February.

White-crowned Sparrow – Rue de la Loire, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – Continuing, Stony Swamp (Sarsaparilla Trail), Ottawa.

Western Tanager – Continuing, McCarthy Woods, Ottawa. The Western Tanager continues and is doing quite well with the relatively mild winter and food donations.  If you have enjoyed seeing this unique visitor, please consider providing some seed or suet.

Visitors are reminded that searching for the bird in the quiet neighbourhood — including pointing optics such as binoculars and cameras at homes and fence lines — is to be avoided. The OFO has worked hard to establish and maintain feeders on public property well to the north of private residences so as to minimize the impact on homeowners.

As well, when reporting the bird via eBird, please use the eBird Hotspot (Stakeout  Western Tanager) and avoid any locations that will send observers to a specific civic address. Again, the bird is regularly frequenting the feeders so there is no need to search elsewhere.

Your understanding and willingness to serve as positive representatives of the birding or the photography community is appreciated, and goes a long way to ensuring a positive experience for everyone


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 25 January 2024

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

This week the Western Tanager shared the spotlight with an Eurasian Tree Sparrow near Bourget. This the first record for Ottawa and eastern Ontario! Redpolls are beginning to move into the region.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Bouvier Road, Prescott and Russell, Aaron Hywarren. With a name like that, one might assume this bird is a vagrant from Europe or Asia, but it’s more likely to be descended from one of 12 individuals released in Missouri in 1870. Note the resemblance to our House Sparrows. Those two species are closely related, but are in an entirely different family from North American sparrow species.

Female Mallard, Half Moon Bay Park, David Lam. Females look so different from males that it’s easy to overlook the subtle things like the dark marks on the female’s bill. Learning those subtleties may pay off later when trying to id rare or new species.

Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, Britannia, Michael Webster. Our mid-sized accipiter is also our most common in winter, having made the adjustment from forest to city hunting.

American Goldfinch, McCarthy Woods, Alan Short. Muted colors for the non-breeding season, but still bright against the snow.

Blue Jay, Selby, Dean Thompson. The blue on a Blue Jay comes from micro-structures on the surface of the feathers that reflect blue light, not a blue pigment. The black is a pigment. In this case the leucism affected just the blue, meaning that it changed the actual surface of the feathers. How do we know it isn’t a Canada Jay? The location of the black doesn’t not match, leucistic or not. A hint of a crest seals the id.

Adult male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Mooney’s Bay Area, Colin Nicholson.

Male Pileated Woodpecker, Britannia, Michael Webster. Pileated Woodpeckers make distinctive oval shaped holes. But when working on Eastern White Cedar, something about the wood or bark leads to strikingly rectangular holes.

Merlin, Hilda Feeders, Alan Short. Although a small bird specialist, Merlins sometimes take birds larger than themselves such as small ducks or Rock Pigeons.

Male Mallard, Half Moon Bay Park, David Lam.

Female Common Goldeneye, Ottawa River at Britannia, Alan Short. Although young males can have unmarked brown heads too, the yellow bill tip confirms this is a female.

Ring-necked Duck (2) – Bate Island, Ottawa.

Lesser Scaup (4) Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Rideau River between Strathcona park and the 417, Ottawa.  3 BAGO (2 male, 1 female)

Gray Partridge – McFadden Road, Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull 1- Jan 15, Trail Road Landfill, Ottawa.

Iceland Gull (Thayer’s) Jan 19, Trail Road Landfill, Ottawa – for the subspecies chaser.

Great Blue Heron – Sawmill Creek Elementary School, Ottawa.  Jan 23, North Dilbery, Ottawa.

Northern Harrier – Jan 25, Russell Road at Frank Kenny, Ottawa. Jan 23, Brownlee Rd, Ottawa.

Belted Kingfisher –  Jan 21, Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau.  Jan 18, Parc de la Gatineau–Vallée Meech, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.   Jan 25, Devine Rd, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Chemin Steele, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais. Parc de la Gatineau–Relais Shilly-Shallly, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.  Jan 15, Queenscourt Crescent, Ottawa.

Northern Flicker – Jan 24, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa. Richland Dr, Ottawa. Jan 21, McCarthy Woods/Meadow, Ottawa. Jan 19, Caprice Court, Ottawa, Ottawa.

Brown Thrasher – Continuing Hilson Ave and neighbourhood, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Britannia CA, Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush – Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.  Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau. Jan 20, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Wood Thrush – Jan 19, Champlain Park Woods-Remic Rapids Loop, Ottawa.

Chipping Sparrow –  Continuing Florizel Ave, Ottawa.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow –  Jan 24-25, Bouvier Road, Prescott and Russell.

For tips on seeing this bird, check out the Ontario Bird Alert discord server https://discord.com/channels/651555203572563988/1199810845438386226

White-crowned Sparrow – Jan 23,  Rue de la Loire, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – Continuing, Stony Swamp (Sarsaparilla Trail), Ottawa.

Brown-headed Cowbird – Jan 23, Huismans Rd, Ottawa

Western Tanager – McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 18 January 2024

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Some change with apparent movement of Bohemian Waxwings and Lapland Longspurs into the region.  Redpoll numbers are building in Algonquin, so look for them in the coming weeks.

American Goshawk (formerly Northern Goshawk), McCarthy Woods, Gillian Wright. Noticing a flock of very agitated crows, Gillian walked over in time to see this Goshawk carrying off a crow in its talons.

Western Tanager, McCarthy Woods, Aaron Hywarren. Fortunately the Goshawk prefers much larger prey. Well, prefers, but that no guarantee of safety.

Black-capped Chickadee, Beaver Trail, David Lam.

Northern Cardinal, Hilda Road, Alan Short.

Snow Bunting, Mill of Kintail, Jorden Milko.

Lapland Longspur, Lockheed Rd, Arlene Harrold. The eponymous ‘longspur’ or long rear-facing toe is clear in this shot.

Bald Eagle, Margaret Kenny, Arnprior Marina. Margaret caught the eagle taking the branch from the pine tree with its beak, before transferring it to its talons before flying off with it. January seems early and cold for nest building, but apparently not for the hardy Eagle.

Hermit Thrush, Britannia, Michael Webster. Michael has observed this bird visit his yard, ignore the feeders, and eat a few holly berries before leaving on several days. Adding fruiting shrubs or trees to a yard is a great way to attract (and help) birds.

First winter male Common Goldeneye, Britannia, Alan Short. The bill of a Mallard is a general purpose tool and suits a bird that eats a variety of foods. The short powerful Goldeneye bill evolved for a narrower range of uses, but is perfect for crushing mussels.

American Tree Sparrow, Beaver Trail, David Lam.

Brown Creeper, Mill of Kintail, Jorden Milko.

Lesser Scaup, Britannia, Alan Short. What kind of diet would you expect with that bill?

Snowbirds! Lockheed Rd, Arlene Harrold. How many species, and which?

Ring-necked Duck – Bate Island, Ottawa. Continuing female-type.

Lesser Scaup (5) Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Barrow’s Goldeneye (3) Rideau River between Strathcona park and the 417, Ottawa.  2 male, 1 female.

Gray Partridge – McFadden Road, Ottawa. I’ve been asked to point out the birds are visible from the road with optics: there is no need to trespass and observers need to be mindful of the homeowners in this quiet rural setting.

Great Blue Heron – Sawmill Creek Elementary School, Ottawa.

Turkey Vulture – Jan 14, Mud Lake, Ottawa.

Northern Harrier – Jan 18, Eagleson Road, Ottawa. Jan 16,  Huisman Road, Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (2) Jan 15, Trail Road Landfill, Ottawa.  Jan 13, Cumberland Ridge Trail, Ottawa. Jan 12, Parc Moussette, Gatineau. Jan 12, Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.

Great Black-backed x Glaucous Gull – Jan 12,Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.  Need a January challenge?  Try to pick out this individual.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Northern Flicker – Richland Dr, Ottawa. Jan 18, Clifford Allen Island, Ottawa. Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.  Jan 13, Armitage Ave, Ottawa. Jan 13, Quigley Hill Rd, Ottawa. Jan 13, Hopewell Avenue, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Chemin Steele, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais. Parc de la Gatineau-Relais Shilly-Shallly, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.  Jan 12, Queenscourt Crescent, Ottawa.

Brown Thrasher – Continuing Hilson Ave and neighbourhood, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Britannia CA, Ottawa.  Near the culverts from Mud lake. Jan 14, Fitzroy Provincial Park, Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird (3) Bleeks Rd at  Conley Rd, Ottawa.

Gray Catbird – Rapides Deschênes (incluant Parc), Gatineau.

Hermit Thrush – Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa. Roughly the same area as the Winter Wren.

Wood Thrush – Continuing, Champlain Park Woods-Remic Rapids Loop, Ottawa.

Chipping Sparrow –  Continuing Florizel Ave, Ottawa, and Connaught, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – Continuing, Stony Swamp (Sarsaparilla Trail), Ottawa.

Western Tanager – McCarthy Woods, Ottawa. A big thank you to birders for continuing to avoid the nearby homes. Fortunately, the bird has played along, and has been visiting the new feeders away from the residences. Feel free to contribute bird seed, which can be added to the feeders or left in the steel garbage can.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 11 January 2024

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Male Barrow’s Goldeneye, Rideau River at Highway 417, Erik Pohanka. The few Barrow’s and many Common Goldeneye can be found this winter anywhere from the 417 North to St Patrick St, as long as stretches of water remain open.

Female Barrow’s Goldeneye, Rideau River at Highway 417, Erik Pohanka. The solid orange bill differentiates this female from the Commons. But notice the silhouette of the head – the shape matches the male Barrow’s and is surprisingly different from a Common.

Downy Woodpecker, Beaver Trail, David Lam. Clean white tail feathers and a relatively short bill separate this woodpecker from the distantly related Hairy Woodpecker. ‘Distantly?’ The nearly identical plumage is likely mimicry, not close family ties. BTW, this feeder is maintained and filled all winter by OFNC volunteers.

Black-capped Chickadee, Beaver Trail, David Lam. Because Chickadees are so curious and so unafraid of people, they are great subjects to just observe. A few minutes and the hierarchy comes out and different personalities become obvious.

Male and female Hooded Mergansers, Britannia Point, Alan Short.

Lesser Scaup, Britannia Point, Alan Short.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Fletcher, Gillian Wright. How does a sap and insect specialist survive in Ottawa after the snow falls and the sap stops flowing? By switching to fruit.

Eastern Towhee, Sarsaparilla Trail, Aaron Hywarren.

Domestic Duck, Britannia Point, Alan Short. When a weird bird with white shows up, the first thought is lucisism. But in ducks, think domestic or domestic/wild hybrid.

Wood Thrush, Champlain Park, Gillian Wright.

Female Wood Duck, Britannia Point, Alan Short. Ever notice that the males and females ducks often sound very different? Not just mating calls, but everyday calls.

Adult Northern Shrike, Ottawa, Aaron Hywarren. Adult from the clean unpatternerned white.

Western Tanager, Mccarthy Woods, Aaron Hywarren.

American Crow, Hilda, Alan Short. Monochromatic from a distance, up close crows (and ravens) are stunning.

Ring-necked Duck – Bate Island, Ottawa.

Harlequin Duck – Intermittent reports from Bate Island to the Deschenes rapids. Last reported Jan 06 but hopefully still around.

Lesser Scaup (1-5) Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.   (3) Jan 08, Kelly’s Landing, Ottawa.

Great Blue Heron – Jan 07, Woodstream Dr, Ottawa.

Northern Harrier – Jan 11, Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa. Jan 09, Carp River at Hazeldean, Ottawa. Jan 07, Lockhead Rd W, Ottawa.

Belted Kingfisher – Jan 08, Parc du Lac-Beauchamp, Gatineau.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa. Jan 10, Bate Island, Ottawa. Jan 08, Rapides Deschênes (incluant Parc), Gatineau.

Note that there were 6 six species of gull at Bate Island on Jan 10.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Chemin Steele, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Brown Thrasher – Continuing Hilson Ave and neighbourhood, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird (3) Jan 11, Conley Rd, Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush – Jan 11, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa. Jan 07, Lac Leamy, Gatineau.  Jan 07, Stanley Park, Ottawa.

Wood Thrush – Continuing, Champlain Park Woods-Remic Rapids Loop, Ottawa.

Chipping Sparrow –  Continuing Florizel Avenue, Ottawa. Connaught, Gatineau, last reported Jan 07.

Eastern Towhee – Continuing, Stony Swamp (Sarsaparilla Trail), Ottawa.

Western Tanager – McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.  Please support the effort to not alienate the neighborhood and stay away from backyards and out of the taped-off area.


Atlas note: Even with winter upon us, there are several bird species that breed here in the Ottawa area.  In addition to the ubiquitous Feral Rock Pigeon, Great Horned Owls and Eastern Screech Owls are paired and breeding at this time of year. We should also keep a lookout for both White-winged and Red Crossbills as they can breed at any time of year.

The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas welcomes your observations of these species, even if they are simply seen or even just heard.  Your reports are valuable and will provide essential information for Canadian researchers, scientists, government officials and conservation professionals that will guide environmental policies and conservation strategies across Ontario for years to come.

Participation in the Atlas is straight-forward and as easy as simply noting the presence of a bird.  For more information, visit https://www.birdsontario.org/ or contact the Ottawa Region Atlas Coordinator at Ottawa@birdsontario.org


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 4 January 2024

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

This report looks an awful lot like last week’s, but Thursday’s sudden chill may finally shake things up and send some birds moving.

Male Red-bellied Woodpecker, Shirley’s Bay, Tony Beck. Tony says: “Once extremely rare in Ottawa, Red-bellied Woodpeckers have recently become established as breeders. However, they’re a bit more visible in winter when they visit feeding stations.”

Male Western Tanager, McCarthy Woods, Richard Rowlee. If you saw this bird at a distance, would you think oh, rare western bird! Or would you think American Goldfinch? Up close or next to another bird, this bird is brighter and much bigger than any goldfinch. But size is very deceptive in a distant bird.

Mallards, Ottawa River, Alan Short. Get to know your local mallards well, and rarer ducks will be easier to identify. Or just enjoy the common birds. It’s easy to overlook their beauty when they feel common.

American Robin, Grasshopper Hill Park, Christopher Clunas. Leucism can be a real challenge to birds, as the white can make them more visible, and white feathers are weaker and wear away more easily than dark feathers. If the cause is external (poor food, sickness, etc. when those feathers formed), a leucistic bird may look totally different if it survives to molt under better conditions. If the cause is internal (genetic mutation), then the white will appear again in the next molt.

Male Merlin, Shirley’s Bay, Tony Beck. Tony says: “Slightly bigger than Blue Jay, this small falcon is powerful enough to take prey larger than itself including Rock Pigeons and Pileated Woodpeckers.”

Herring Gull, Britannia Point, Alan Short.

Carolina Wren, McCarthy Woods, Richard Rowlee.

American Tree Sparrow, Hilda feeders, Alan Short.

White-throated Sparrow, Dewberry Trail, Mer Bleue, Tony Beck. Although rare at this time of year, the Ottawa District can expect a handful to linger through almost every winter. When present, they typically come to bird feeding stations.

Female Common Merganser, Ottawa, Alan Short.

Green-winged Teal – Halmont Drive, Ottawa.

Ring-necked Duck –  Jan 03, Route 500 E, Casselman3, Prescott and Russell. Jan 01, Baie Simard, Gatineau.

Harlequin Duck (2) – Intermittent reports from Bate Island to the Deschenes rapids.  At least one sighting of 2 Harlequin, one of which is a male beginning to show adult plumage features

Lesser Scaup (5) – Jan 02, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Red-breasted Merganser (2) – Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa. Jan 01,  Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Great Blue Heron – Jan 03, Richmond, Ontario, Ottawa.

Turkey Vulture – Jan 02, Aylmer, Gatineau.

Golden Eagle – Dec 31, Carp & Kinburn area, Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Jan 03, Trail Road Landfill, Ottawa. Jan 01, Dick Bell Park, Ottawa. Dec 31, Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Jan 04, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Jan 02, Chemin Steele, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Brown Thrasher – Continuing Hilson Ave and neighbourhood, Ottawa.  Jan 03, 2024  Manion Heights, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Wood Thrush – Continuing, Champlain Park Woods-Remic Rapids Loop, Ottawa.

Chipping Sparrow –  Continuing Connaught, Gatineau.  Jan 02, Florizel Avenue, Ottawa.

Eastern Towhee – Continuing, Stony Swamp (Sarsaparilla Trail), Ottawa. Allegedly.

Western Tanager  – Continues McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.  After hearing from the local community around the Western Tanager that they are getting frustrated with people looking towards their homes, we have come up with a new plan for managing people around the site.

  1. Yellow tape and signs have been put up requesting that people not approach the feeders near the homes.
  2. New feeders have been erected about 30m north of the ‘sunshine feeder’ where people had been focussing their attention.

Here is what we would like from you:

  1. Be mindful of the impact that optics have in the eyes of folks unfamiliar with binoculars and cameras when they are pointed in their direction. Please do not bird within sight of people’s homes, and encourage others to do the same 2. Please add to the feeder array. We would like to have a table feeder like the one on Hilda Road if anyone has the skills to make one. We would love to have people bring food for the bird, including mixed seed with a lot of white millet in it, fruit, suet rendered with mealworms in it.
  2. If someone is willing to bring a metal garbage can that we can put donated bird seed in that would be awesome.
  3. If you have time to volunteer, we need ambassadors on site the next 2 or 3 days to help inform people of the changes and get them used to the new plan. Please dm, message or email Jeff Skevington or Aaron Hywarren if you want to volunteer.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 28 December 2023

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Cooper’s Hawk, Bel Air, Gillian Wright. Even from this angle you can separate this juvenile from the similar Sharp-shinned Hawk: the thick(ish) band of white at the end of the tail, the orange-buff head instead of Sharpie brown.

Cooper’s Hawk, Bel Air, Gillian Wright. The bird shifts the tiniest bit, and the tail now assumes the classic rounded Cooper’s look. Never trust a single id marker. Always try for multiple identification points.

Male Mallard, Mud Lake, Alan Short. The brown, black and yellow beak and feathers are colored by pigment, but the blue and green are cast by special reflective structures on the feathers.

Eastern Towhee (female-type), Sarsaparilla Trail, Janet McCullough. Towhees are tough, short-distance migrants, so one sticking around for mild weather with ready access to food isn’t surprising.

Common Mergansers, Mud lake, Alan Short. These are the largest ducks to nest in tree cavities in North America.

Male Hairy Woodpecker, Hilda Feeders, Alan Short. Looking svelte.

Herring Gulls, Alan Short. Flying West up the Ottawa River. Notice how every bill is slightly different.

Northern Shrike, Upper Dwyer Hill, Janet McCullough. This classic exposed pose from the top of a tree or big shrub is classic Shrike, and makes them easy to spot and id from a moving vehicle.

Male Common Goldeneye, Mud lake, Alan Short.

Mourning Doves, Sarsaparilla Trail, Janet McCullough. Another species that commonly puffs themselves up to fight the cold.

Snow Goose – Dec 27, Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.

Common Loon – Dec 23, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Green-winged Teal – Dec 23, Halmont Drive, Ottawa.

Ring-necked Duck – Dec 24, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Harlequin Duck – Intermittent reports from Bate Island to the Deschenes rapids.

Red-breasted Merganser – Dec 26, Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (up to 4) at all the regular spots: Britannia CA–Filtration Plant/Point, Ottawa. Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa. Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa. Trail Road, Ottawa.

Northern Harrier – Dec 24, Terry Fox Dr, Ottawa.

Belted Kingfisher – Dec 22, Robinson Avenue, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Shirley’s Bay (Hilda Road feeders), Ottawa. Dec 23, Parc de la Gatineau–Relais Shilly-Shallly, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Gray Catbird – Dec 27, Stittsville – Poole Creek, Ottawa.  Dec 25, McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.

Brown Thrasher – Continuing intermittently, Hilson Ave, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Dec 26, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Wood Thrush – Continuing, Champlain Park Woods-Remic Rapids Loop, Ottawa

Chipping Sparrow –  Continuing Connaught, Gatineau.

Swamp Sparrow – Dec 26, Mer Bleue Bog Trail, Ottawa.

Eastern Towhee – Continuing, Stony Swamp (Sarsaparilla Trail), Ottawa.

Brown-headed Cowbird (6) Dec 25, Trail Road, Ottawa.

Western Tanager  – Continuing,  McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 21 December 2023

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

The first confirmed Western Tanager in Ottawa (and only the second in the OFNC circle) is alternately tormenting or delighting ardent birders.

Western Tanager, McCarthy Woods, Gillian Wright. Male from the strongly contrasting black wings and back, but with almost no red on the head, this appears to be a young male. Rarely seen in the eastern 2/3 of North America, what is it doing here in Ottawa? One possibility is 90 degree migration, where a bird that should have been born with a compulsion to migrate south has a mutation and migrates east or west instead. 90-degree migrants are usually first year birds as such birds are often not equipped to survive where they end up. But Western Tanagers are tough birds, and this one has great access to food, so his fate isn’t sealed.

Scaup, Dick Bell Park, Alan Short.

Western Tanager, McCarthy Woods, John King. Note the faintest hint of red on the head. The tanagers we encounter in Ontario – Scarlet and Summer, get their red pigments from carotenoids in plants they eat. The Western Tanager gets the red from a rare pigment called rhodoxanthin, which probably comes from insects they eat. So different birds in the same family evolved different paths to produce red feathers vital to their sexual selection and reproduction. (Info from Birds of the World, Derek’s favourite website)

Adult Merlin, Hilda Road, Alan Short. The Hilda feeders supplement the diet of many song birds throughout the winter. And those songbirds supplement the diet of raptors.

Common Mergansers, Dick Bell Park, Alan Short.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Pine grove, Gillian Wright.

American Tree Sparrow, Hilda Road, Alan Short.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, Rideau Canal locks near Fletcher, Gillian Wright. Note the barred tail so unlike the smooth red of an adult bird. The primary flight feathers are so frayed one wonders how well this bird can fly.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, Rideau Canal locks near Fletcher, Gillian Wright. These two photos are really interesting examples of feather wear. The tail and primaries are extremely frayed on this first year bird. The unusual shapes of the feathers covering the wings are created by the complete wearing away of the white tips of these feathers. Note too how distended the crop is on this bird. It is eating as much as it can of the duck. Life is tough for immature birds learning to live on their own.

Cackling Goose – Dec 17,  Piste cyc. Sentier des Voyageurs-Pont Champlain-Parc des Rapides-Deschênes, Gatineau.

Ring-necked Duck – Britannia CA–Filtration Plant/Point, Ottawa.  Dec 17, Rideau River Provincial Park, Ottawa.

Common Loon – Dec 20, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Red-necked Grebe – Dec 16, Ottawa–Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa,

Harlequin Duck – Dec 15, 2023 Stanley Park, Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull –  Dec 21, Dick Bell Park, Ottawa. Dec 19, Trail Road Landfill, Ottawa.

Golden Eagle – Dec 21,  Kizell Pond, Ottawa.

Gray Catbird – Dec 19, McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.  Dec 18, Rapides Deschênes (incluant Parc), Gatineau.  Dec 17,  ch.  Vincent, Chelseal, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, Quebec.  Dec 16, Bell Arena Woods at Bell High School, Ottawa.

Brown Thrasher – Continuing, Hilson Ave, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Dec 16, Old Quarry Trail, Ottawa. Dec 16, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush –  Dec 17, Tennis Cres, Ottawa. Dec 16, Greenbelt off Conroy Road, Ottawa.  Dec 15,  Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Wood Thrush – Continuing, Champlain Park Woods-Remic Rapids Loop, Ottawa.

Chipping Sparrow –  Continuing Connaught, Gatineau.

White-crowned Sparrow – Dec 19, Crystal Beach, Ottawa.  (2) Dec 16, Dealership Dr, Ottawa.

Red-winged Blackbird  (2) Dec 20, McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.

Rusty Blackbird – Dec 16, Parc de la Gatineau–Lac-des-Fées, Gatineau.

Western Tanager – Continuing (apparently since November, under the radar).  McCarthy Woods, Ottawa.  Check for the eBird hotspot.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 14 December 2023

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Expect overwhelming eBird reports this weekend with so many late birds around and 2 Christmas Bird Counts in the OFNC circle.

Female plumage Indigo Bunting, Hilda Rd., Shirley’s Bay, Tony Beck. Tony Says: Ottawa’s first December record for this species.

Wood Thrush, Tunney’s Pasture, Keith Wickens. This thrush should be in Central America by now for the non-breeding season. Wood Thrushes have a beautiful haunting song, enhanced by their ability to sing 2 different notes at the same time.

Northern Flicker, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Gillian Wright. Looking at a range map, it appears all our eastern Flickers should be south of the border by now, but a few seem to overwinter here every year. While a few Flickers will go as far as Central America, most migrate shorter distances.

Female Mallard, Mud Lake, Alan Short. Unlike Thrushes, many dabbling ducks don’t so much have an established non-breeding territory, as they go just far enough to winter in open water with enough food. If that happens to be a sewer lagoon or nuclear power plant outlet, what more could a duck want?

White-throated Sparrow, Hilda Rd., Shirley’s Bay, Tony Beck. Tony Says: A fairly hardy species, a few White-throated Sparrows can be expected to linger in our area through the winter.

Herring Gull, Mud Lake, Alan Short.

Male Common Goldeneye, Mud Lake, Alan Short. Unlike the species above that leave Ottawa for the winter, Goldeneye actually come south to the balmy Ottawa river to last out the winter.

Canada Geese, Andrew Haydon, Alan Short.

Northern Flicker, European Starling, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Gillian Wright. Starlings are disliked by some birders because they displace native cavity nesters (and eat all Derek’s suet). But Gillian watched as the Flicker successfully defended the suet from the Starling. Flickers will in fact create many of the tree cavities that are used by Starlings in subsequent years.

Snow Goose – Dec 12,  Ottawa International Airport, Ottawa,

Northern Pintail – Dec 01, Stittsville–Iber Rd storm pond, Ottawa.

Redhead – Dec 11-12, Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa.

Ring-necked Duck – Dec 14, Britannia CA–Filtration Plant/Point, Ottawa

White-winged Scoter – Dec 09, Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa,

Horned Grebe (3) Dec 10, Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa,

Red-necked Grebe (4) Dec 10, Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa,

Harlequin Duck (2-3) Continuing, between the Deschênes rapids and Champlain Bridge.

Barrow’s Goldeneye (2) Adàwe Crossing to the Hurdman Bridge, Ottawa.

Black-crowned Night Heron – Dec 10,  Britannia, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Dec 14, Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Dec 13, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Winter Wren (2) Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.  Dec 12, NCC Trail 24, Ottawa.

Brown Thrasher – Dec 10 & 14, Hampton Park, Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush –  Dec 12, Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Wood Thrush – Dec 07-14, Champlain Park Woods-Remic Rapids Loop, Ottawa.

Chipping Sparrow –  continuing Connaught, Gatineau.  Dec 11, Crystal beach, Ottawa.

White-crowned Sparrow – Dec 09, Lockhead road and sideroads, Ottawa.

Red-winged Blackbird (2) Dec 09, Akins Rd, Ottawa.

Brown-headed Cowbird (1) Dec 10, Trail Road Landfill, Ottawa,

Indigo Bunting – Dec 08, Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa.  Female.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 7 December 2023

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

The Christmas Bird Count season starts next week, and lots of late birds linger tantalizingly. An exciting Black-legged Kittiwake seen a couple of times on Dec 05 in Gatineau. Is it still around?

White-winged Scoter, Andrew Haydon, Alan Short. This species breeds inland in the northwest, but winters mostly on both coasts, so we see it here only on migration to and from the Atlantic.

Lapland Longspur, Experimental Farm, Clifford Rostek. “Longspur” refers to the extra long toe and talon on the toe pointed backwards of each foot. This feature is shared by many grassland species, and is believed to help them walk on uneven ground and vegetation.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, P19, Gillian Wright. Why does a bird that mostly eats arthropods still hang around here after the snow falls? They glean conifers for over-wintering micro moths. If you are small enough, your niche can be tiny too.

Herring Gull, Billings Bridge, Alan Short. As noted on this week’s eBird tip, by the middle of the month, this is the default gull in the region. Anything else merits a second look.

Common Merganser, Dow’s Lake, Gillian Wright. Imagine the number of small fish it takes to support over 100 mergs from the water draw-down until ice-up each fall at Dow’s Lake.

Great Black-back Gulls, Billings Bridge, Alan Short.

House Sparrow, Billings Bridge, Alan Short. Does it seem like some years there is a never-ending stream of juveniles at your feeders? Successful pairs may have 4 clutches a year. Despite that, this species is in world-wide decline.

Ross’s Goose (3) Dec 01, Embrun Lagoons, Prescott and Russell.

Snow x Ross’s Goose (hybrid) (1) Dec 02, Embrun Sewage Lagoons, Prescott and Russell.

Northern Pintail – Dec 01, Fox Run storm water ponds, Ottawa.

Green-winged Teal – Dec 04, Etang Grimes, Gatineau.

Harlequin Duck (2-3) Continuing, between the Deschênes rapids and  Champlain Bridge.

Barrow’s Goldeneye (2) Adàwe Crossing to the Hurdman Bridge, Ottawa. Dec 06, Dick Bell Park, Ottawa.

Black Scoter – Dec 05, Grandview Road at Ottawa R (Crystal Beach boat ramp), Ottawa. Dec 05, Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa.  Dec 02, Rockcliffe Airport Woods, Ottawa.

Pied-billed Grebe – Dec 04, Shirley’s Bay (boat launch), Ottawa.

Wilson’s Snipe – Dec 02, Etang Grimes, Gatineau.

Black-legged Kittiwake – Dec 05, Marais nord, Lac Leamy, Gatineau.

Red-throated Loon – Dec 05, Dick Bell Park, Ottawa.  Dec. 05, Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa,

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker –  Dec 03, 2023 Central Experimental Farm Arboretum, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Britannia CA (general location), Ottawa.

Belted Kingfisher – Dec 03,  Old Riverside Drive, Ottawa.  Dec 03, Jock River Landing, Ottawa.  Dec 01, Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Reported Dec 04: Chemin du Sumac, Luskville, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.   Dec 01 Rapides Deschênes (incluant Parc), Gatineau.

Hermit Thrush – Dec 04, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Wood Thrush – Dec 07, Champlain Park Woods-Remic Rapids Loop, Ottawa.

Chipping Sparrow –  late birds continuing at: Crystal Beach, Ottawa.  Connaught, Gatineau.  Bd Lionel-Émond, Gatineau.

Savannah Sparrow – Dec 03, Cedar Crest Dr, Lanark.

Rusty Blackbird – Dec 04,  Etang Grimes, Gatineau.

Common Grackle – Dec 01, Whitney Road, Kemptville, Ontario, CA, Leeds and Grenville.

Common Grackle – Dec 02, Water St, Almonte, Lanark.

Yellow-rumped Warbler –  Dec 07, Elmvale, Ottawa.


eBird tip: By mid December most if not all Ring-billed Gulls have left the region, with Herring Gull becoming the “default” species, particularly at the dumps. Any smaller gull should be carefully scrutinized.


Earlier sightings from 2023

Sightings from 2022

Sightings from 2021

Sightings from 2020