Urban Wildlife : Birds of Spring 2018

baby sparrow


There's a window in our kitchen through which we get an unhindered view of a big tree. My camera, equipped with a telephoto lens, is always near it, ready to go, especially in the spring and fall when migrating birds are flying through Toronto on their way to and from their breeding grounds up north.

While I enjoy the novelty of spotting a travelling visitor, I also appreciate the ones who set up nests and have their babies right here in the city.

We'll start with those that were just passing through ...

This pair of bright yellow, tiny birds -- they're only 2 to 3 inches long, are "Yellow Bellied Flycatchers". I saw them a couple of afternoons during the last week of April.

(I usually catch a sight of this species every year, and there are more photographs of them here.)

male yellow bellied fly catcher bird in toronto


↑ The male ↑

yellow bellied fly catcher in toronto male


female yellow bellied flycatcher toronto bird watching


↑ The less colourful but still lovely female ↑

This next one is a new one for me. He's a "Thrush" and hung out for about a week in late-May. He seemed to be on his own. I say "he" because, from what I've ready, the females are more brown than this one. Maybe she was here too, but I searched and didn't see her.

thrush bird in toronto


bird watching in toronto thrush


migrating birds in toronto thrush


↑ So handsome. ↑

I only got this single, admittedly unspectacular, shot of a "Brown Creeper", who was only around for one afternoon in April. This tiny bird seems to scurry up and down the tree trunk and branches, looking very much like mouse. In fact, when I first spotted one a few years ago, I was able to identify it immediately by Googling "small brown bird that moves like a mouse". The species visits every spring and fall. If you'd like to see better pictures, I was able to get some the first time I noticed him (her?), posted here.

blurry photo of a brown creeper bird seen in toronto


And, so I remember, as far as migrating birds go, this spring I also got a couple of quick glimpses of the "Ruby Crowned Kinglet" but wasn't able to get a picture. I have been able to photograph these before though, seen in this post.

I also got one very brief look at a "Downy Woodpecker", which I've posted photos of before, here.

That's it for the "rare-in-these-parts" bird sightings this spring, and now for the ones who live here year 'round, (except when/if they have to move in search of food during the coldest winter months).

We'll begin with the Cardinals. I'm not sure what changed around our neighbourhood that caused these beautiful birds to decide to nest here, but something happened four years ago. Prior to that summer, when a pair nested right within the branches of a tree beside our home, I'd spotted only two in the 15 years that we'd lived here. Since that pair came, we've seen them every summer. (If you'd like to see that first pair and their adorable baby, I got some good shots which are posted here).

adult male cardinal bird in toronto


bird watching in toronto male cardinal springtime


male cardinal bird in toronto


What was out-of-the-ordinary this spring was the terrific sightings of the female -- usually she is a lot more elusive than her flamboyant partner.

female cardinal bird in toronto


female cardinal bird toronto


bird watching in toronto female cardinal springtime


portrait of a bird female cardinal seen in toronto


These photos were taken last week. Based on the twig gathering activity going on, I think (hope!) they're building a nest nearby.

birds in toronto female cardinal


female cardinal bird in toronto twig for nest


female cardinal bird holding a twig in toronto


Next we have the House Finches, with their charming song and pretty red plumage on the males. (There are more photos of this species from three years ago, in this post, if you'd like to see.)

male house finch eating forsythia buds birds in toronto


While we see this species regularly, I was quite pleased to catch the mother feeding her baby, something I've never seen before.

female house finch feeding baby birds in toronto


The robins were quite active around here at the beginning of spring, but we haven't seen them this week. Seems they've gone somewhere else to nest. They did have their babies nearby in 2012, when I was able to photograph their little family, shown in this post. Fun fact : that previous post was done when I'd just begun blogging, and the photos were the first ever taken with what was a brand new camera lens at the time. Seems I'm still a bit bird obsessed!

bird watching in toronto robin


And last but no least, the sparrows. I know people have a love/hate relationship with these little brown birds, that choose to nest a little too close for comfort. Regardless of their commonness I still very much enjoy watching them. They're characters, for sure.

Around here, they set up homes right inside people's vents. They were our "guests" a few years ago, photographed in this post, but since then, a balled up piece of chicken wire stuck in the opening of the vent has caused them to go elsewhere. They sure tried their very best to pull that chicken wire out before they moved though!

We can see where they've gone, into the vents of our neighbours. We'll have to tell them about the chicken wire trick!

house sparrow in toronto


So, they're still close enough to have brought their babies to our tree as soon as they were able to fly. We've been enjoying their company out there for about a week now.

There are two babies in particular, that we see out there together often. We call them the twins. They're so cute!

young sparrows in toronto


mother sparrow feeding baby bird watching in toronto


↑ Mama brings them food. ↑

mother sparrow feeding baby bird toronto


baby sparrow in toronto



Thank you kindly for sharing in my love for our little feathered friends.
xo loulou
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2 Responses to Urban Wildlife : Birds of Spring 2018

  1. Lisa says:

    Beautiful pictures Louise! Love the shot of the babies being fed! Great captures!

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