Birder's Guide

JAN 2019

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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50 Birder's Guide to Travel | January 2019 I t used to be birds that brought us together. Lately, though, spending time with my growing son, Finn, has become difficult. At nearly 12, he isn't as in- terested in watching birds with Mom as he is in playing with online friends on Fortnite, a game so addictive that the slow-natured pace of birding doesn't stand a chance. Somehow, however, I convinced him to join me on a birdwatching trip along Can- ada's South Coast Birding Trail in Ontario. For four glorious days during the height of migration, we'd experience bird bliss in one of North America's premier birding destinations. I took it as an opportunity to reconnect with my growing-up-too-fast- moody-technology-obsessed-pre-teen, who was once joined at my hip. To start, l should explain that the South Coast Birding Trail isn't an actual trail—rath- er, it's a network of hotpots that can be ex- plored in various ways. Visitors can celebrate the arrival of all the spring visitors to Canada by hiking, biking, walking, or driving. A few airplane stops from the prairies land us in Windsor, a city of 217,000+ situ- ated across the river from Detroit. We start at Ojibway Park, part of the Ojibway Prai- rie Complex. Spread out over 105 hectares (260 acres), the complex features diverse flora and fauna in natural areas that include wetlands, tallgrass savanna, prairie, and oak woodlands. An orchestra of sound hits us as we step out of the car and head toward the Nature Centre. Once inside, we beeline to the floor-to- ceiling windows, where a variety of feeders hang on the opposite side of the glass. At- tracting flashes of bright red, yellow, and or- ange, we are in awe as a Baltimore Oriole, several House Finches and goldfinches, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a Red-headed Woodpecker fly in to eat. A Downy Wood- pecker, unafraid, eyeballs me through the glass only inches away. Tom Preney, a naturalist at the Nature Centre who has been guiding at Ojibway for 15 years, greets us with a small Midland painted turtle in his hand. Finn is pretty excited by this, and others are excited by the turtles, too. The park is home to sev - eral turtle species, including endangered

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