2022 winter bird recap

With the end of winter in the north, I have seen decent success with observing birds.

Here’s my list. It excludes the house sparrow (Passer domesticus), Indian mynah (Acridotheres tristis), White-eared bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis), Rock dove and domestic variants (Columba livia), Eurasian collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto), and the laughing dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)

January 5th

-Great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor)

January 15th

-Crested lark (Galerida cristata)

February 14th

-White wagtail (Motacilla alba)

February 19th

-Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

-Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

February 26th

-White wagtail (Motacilla alba)

-Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

-Common sandpaper (Actitis hypoleucos)

-Great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

March 12th

-White wagtail (Motacilla alba)

-Greater hoopoe-lark (Alaemon alaudipes)

-Desert lark (Ammomanes deserti)

March 18th

-Grey francolin (Ortygornis pondicerianus)

-Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)

What birds have you found this winter?


This year I didn’t visit popular wintering spots, so lack lot of waterfowl for now, here’s the list. Last year I saw first actual migrants from my balcony on the 29th, and last two days finally we had +6-7C at day time, so I’m waiting to see those birds!

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For the past few winters, I’ve created a project to track bird species seen during the winter reporting period (December 1-February 28) in my neck of the woods (Northwestern Ontario, Canada). The 2021-22 project collected 54 species, a good haul. I found 31 species this season, which is about average. Unexpected critters for me included this White-throated Sparrow - not normally here in winter - and a Barred Owl. Notable misses for me included Red Crossbill and Pine Siskin…though both species are irruptive. They can be present in huge numbers one season and absent the next.

Have to add: in relative terms, we’ve had a ridiculous amount of snow here this winter…and it’s not done yet, up to 20 cm forecast for the next two days. While very cold temperatures (-40C or lower) are just another Tuesday for us, the Rainy River Valley does not normally see heavy snow accumulation. Until a recent melt, the closest weather station was still reporting 61 cm of snow on the ground. For non-metric users, that’s two feet. I’ve heard comments that this is the most snow we’ve had here since the 1950s, and I would believe it.


I accidentally found out that a pond behind a Taco Bell of all places had some kind of aspirator in it, and thus was highly attractive to waterfowl all throughout the winter. Over the course of a couple of trips I managed to see a whole bunch of birds in addition to the typical mallards and Canada geese, some of which were the first records for the area.

  • Redhead (Aythya americana)
  • Northern shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
  • Green-winged teal (Anas carolinensis)
  • Northern pintail (Anas acuta)
  • American wigeon (Mareca americana)

If I had been more attentive there would have probably had been more, as I had noticed that some of the ducks didn’t seem to be the right color for mallards when passing by earlier.

Was also lucky enough to see:

  • belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
  • cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
  • American kestrel (Falco sparverius)
  • two pairs of bald eagles (Halaeetus leucocephalus), one of which produced a a really pretty picture
  • a northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
  • and a brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
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