The summer months have a reputation for not being very birder friendly. Leafy trees may obscure views, migrants are gone, weather can be hot, muggy and buggy. Trying to locate a a tiny bird hidden among an expansive pattern of green leaves may seem like you’re trying to complete one of those Where’s Waldo book pages for kids, but don’t let that stop you! You’ll find lots of birds, all you have to do is look and listen!
Walking along the roadside near my cottage in the Quebec Laurentians last week-end, I first heard then identified a bay-breasted warbler I saw moving high up in the trees. Granted, it was a fleeting glimpse thanks to a photo snapped as the bird momentarily stood conveniently on a branch between two leaves. The resulting image is less than evocative, but trying to identify the partially obscured bird in a “Waldo style” photo just adds another element of fun!
I also had the pleasure of sneaking quietly into a wooded area on my property where I know some yellow-bellied sapsuckers nest, locating the right tree by following the sound of the squeaking I could hear. I watched nearby as both parents flew back and forth to the nesting hole with food; a nestling would pop its head out of the tree trunk, calling as it waited for its meal then quickly duck its head back in as the parent approached with a tasty insect. Watching this bird family go about their day was a lot more fun than sitting in the house complaining about the heat and black flies! A little bug spray goes a long way, or at least it would have had I bothered to put it on that morning! Still, watching the birds in action was worth serving as a bug buffet and thankfully I had on my hiking boots, long pants etc. which minimized the chances of any tick encounters and too many bug bites.
So don’t let summer stop you from enjoying the birds and the outdoors! If you are wondering about which birds you might find in the Montreal area during the summer, you can download the complete BPQ Bird Checklist. You can also access a number of other locality specific bird lists for the Montreal area by clicking on the “Birding” menu of our website and then selecting the “Checklists” submenu.
Bird Protection Quebec continues to offer field trips throughout July and August as part of the Summer Birding Series. Sheldon Harvey has been leading these summer trips for several years now and his groups never fail to see a variety of species (last week’s trip counted 43). Weekly Saturday trips are planned at the last minute to take advantage of any potential rare sightings. The BPQ Facebook page as well as the weekly e-newsletter provide details of the destination by the Wednesday or Thursday before a trip.
You can also find out which birds are likely to be seen in an area by checking the e-bird website. The e-bird challenge for July is all about getting you inspired to get out this month. If you are really keen, there’s even an opportunity to win a pair of binoculars – perfect for the next round of ‘Where’s Waldo” style birding!