My First Bird Count
On December 8, I participated in my very first bird count here at Winton Woods and boy was it a blast! The start of my day was actually one of the best moments. When I pulled my car out front of Winton Centre, and a Cooper ’s Hawk took off by the building. Then I heard a Great Horned Owl calling off in the distance. These two magnificent birds of prey are very strong hunters. The Great Horned Owl is one of the only predators of skunks while the Cooper’s Hawk is a great stalker of flocks of small birds. Birds of prey are birds I always look forward to seeing, and despite the weather, I couldn’t believe that the count was off to such a great start.
This was such a great opportunity for me to meet people and get to know the park better since I only began working here in August. From going on and off trail, to visiting the golf courses, the day was one big adventure! I had the opportunity to see a Barred Owl and two great horned owls, along with many others. The Barred Owl was spooked out of the pines on the golf course. I bet most people who go to the golf course don’t even know that they are that close to a unique bird of prey. Most owls are nocturnal, but sometimes if you are lucky you will see a Barred Owl out during the day. At another location the Great Horned Owls were perched high up in some pines resting for the day and trying to stay dry from the weather. I spotted a few very vibrant Fox Sparrows and our first Pileated Woodpecker of the day. Keeping track became crazy due to the high numbers, but the program was still a lot of fun.
At the end of the day when it was time to tally all the parks, I was very impressed with the number of species that was seen all throughout the park district. It is incredible to have such a great diversity of species living and/or visiting our parks. I look forward to the bird fest here at Winton Woods on April 27, 2013.
Jenn Wallace, Naturalist