Birder's Guide

MAR 2017

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.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/799689

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Birding Algonquin Park 28 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 20 17 gizzards. Otherwise, search treed sections of bogs dominated by black spruce by walking systematically and slowly with fre- quent stops. Stopping may cause the birds to move because they sense they have been detected, giving you a cue to their pres - ence. Constantly scan for movement by the birds from the ground up into the trees. They seem to perch most frequently below about 20 feet (7 m). They can be found year-round, but from April to May and September to October seem to be best. • Boreal Chickadee. These birds are much more elusive than Black-capped Chickadees, with which they often travel during winter. They normally stay hidden in dense spruce and rarely vocalize, even when other nearby birds are out in the open. Listen carefully for their distinctive nasally chick-a-day-day calls, and become familiar with their little-known song-like call. They are most vocal from February to April. These birds are not typically found at feeders. However, they have been regu - lar visitors to a suet feeder maintained by park staff near the entrance of Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail in recent winters. • Gray Jay. Unlike the secretive northern specialties, individuals of this inquisitive species are apt to find you before you find them. These birds are attracted to people because they often get fed along Highway 60, a practice that has been shown ex- perimentally to boost their reproductive success. If they disappear with food, just wait a few minutes, as they will return and find you for more after they have cached the food. Remarkably, they will likely re- call and successfully retrieve the stored food months later. Long-term research on color-banded Gray Jays in the Highway 60 corridor has shown that numbers of this species have declined by more than 50% in the park during the past 35 years, appar- ently due to climate warming causing their stored food to spoil during winter warm spells. The species is holding out more in black spruce habitats compared to mixed forests, most likely due to chemicals in the trees contributing to better cached food preservation, so concentrate your efforts in black spruce if the jays haven't managed to find you yet. Despite the decline, there are still at least about 25 active territories be- tween Wolf Howl Pond and West Rose Lake on Mizzy Lake Trail and along Highway 60 east of km 30. They are easiest to find from September to April, sometimes being very inconspicuous in summer. Warblers As many as 19 species of breeding war- blers can readily be found along Highway 60 by visiting coniferous forests (Nashville, Magnolia, Cape May, Bay-breasted, Northern Parula), mixed forests (Yellow- rumped, Black-and-white, Canada), broad- leaf forests (Ovenbird, Black-throated Blue, American Redstart), hemlock stands (Blackburnian, Black-throated Green), white pine stands (Pine), open or disturbed areas (Chestnut-sided, Mourning, Yellow), wooded swamps (Northern Waterthrush), and open bogs (Common Yellowthroat). Bat Lake Trail (km 30.0 on Highway 60) visits nearly all of these habitats, so it may produce most of the species. The loca - tions described above for northern special- ties are good for coniferous forest, mixed forest, and open bog species; Hemlock Bluff Trail (km 27.2) for hemlock stand species; Lake Of Two Rivers (km 31.8) and Pog Lake (km 36.9) campgrounds for Pine Warbler; Hardwood Lookout Left: n Fall foliage at Algonquin Provincial Park. Photo © Michael Runtz Right: n Boreal Chickadee. Photo © Justin Peter n Red Crossbill. Photo © Mike McEvoy Continued on page 30

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