Rare Birds & Bird Brains - Wilderness North

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  –          

Rare Birds & Bird Brains

Dr. Jeff Wells, Senior Scientist at the Boreal Songbird Initiative brought his high tech recording gear for recording bird songs in the boreal forest to our Miminiska Lodge in 2008. When he left he said warmer temperatures would soon impact bird populations, making the Ontario wilderness even more important in saving bird species. He is beginning to see that happen, and tells Wilderness North’s Wayne Blackmon – who guided him 2008 – more. Listen to the podcast:


In other birder news:

Two ivory gulls, rarely seen in the contiguous U.S. states, spent last weekend hanging out in Duluth’s Canal Park, drawing far-flung birders for a chance to see this very rare twosome.

Laura Erickson host of public radio’s “For the Birds” radio program said:

“Ivory Gull has been one of my most yearned-for birds since I started birding. It belongs in the high arctic, where it seldom leaves the pack ice even in winter, though an individual will wander south every year or two to give birders a big thrill.”

One of gulls was photographed at the Duluth Harbour. A second ivory gull was spotted in the area, too, but it was later found dead on Park Point. It may have been killed by a falcon.

Also, Brian Ratcliff, a wildlife biologist in Thunder Bay says there were some interesting sightings in this year’s Christmas bird count.

Sightings of more rare species included the ruddy duck and the eastern towhee, said Brian Ratcliff.

He believes global warming is behind some southern species becoming more common sights in the area, like the northern cardinal and the red-bellied woodpecker.

“These are southern species that are now pushing farther north,” Ratcliff said.

“We’ve got a population of northern cardinals that are staying in Thunder Bay now, versus 20 years ago, [when] they were a really hard find here.”

The Christmas bird count has been held in Thunder Bay on Boxing Day since 1939.

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