Sunday 5 February 2012

Band-tailed Pigeon and a friendly beaver!

Yesterday Al Sinclair had the good fortune to find a Band-tailed Pigeon at his feeders outside of Bracebridge so, naturally I decided to give it a try this morning.  Lucky for me, it wasn't too far from our place and I got to enjoy counting ravens and Blue Jays along hwy 118.  I also had a flock of 22 Bohemian Waxwings en route just outside of Cardiff.  When I arrived, Kevin Seymour and Greg Stuart were waiting outside and informed me that, as usual, "it was just here".  Apparently they had just missed it too...After waiting about half an hour I spotted it fly into a stand of hemlocks where we watched it for the next half hour mostly eating snow.  More details about the bird and other birds at the Sinclair's are on my ebird checklist.

Here are some of my photos which I phonescoped.  Al got a great shot of the bird yesterday which you should have a look at here. Josh Vandermeulen has also posted some photos.

For those of you who are probably wondering why I would drive to Bracebridge to see a pigeon, here's the ebird range map for Band-tailed Pigeon, which should explain it.

This is the first twitchable Band-tailed Pigeon since one over-wintered in London during 2003/2004.  That one almost didn't make it through the winter because it hit a window while being chased by a Cooper's Hawk! After some rehab it was released and was last seen in April 2004.  Here are the other Band-tailed Pigeon records for Ontario (accepted by the OBRC):
12-27 October, 1978 - Dorion, Thunder Bay District - unknown finder
18 December 1979 - Presqu'ile Provincial Park - found by Doug McRae
30 August 1980 - Long Point - found by Jeff Skevington, P. Hogenbirk, and J. Thompson
26 October - 5 November 1988 - Wabigoon, Kenora District - found by Janette and Herman Johnson
16-17 September 1994 - Dillon Cove, Parry Sound District - found by Jean and Eric Niskanen
25 April 1995 - Kenora - found by Eva Baier
26 May - 1 June 2000 - Moosonee - found by John Walker, Andrew Jano, and Ken Ross
6 - 26 November 2000 - Kingfisher Lake, Thunder Bay District - found by Jody Allair
13-16 September 2001 - Rock Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park - found by Eric and Linda Moss
26 September - 2 October 2003 - Westree, Sudbury District - found by Al and Frances Brethour
27 November - 7 December 2003 - London - found by Gerry Meacham (released 21 December and last seen 10 April, but these dates the bird no longer "countable")

Anyways, it was nice to finally get one in Ontario! Thanks to the Sinclairs for being gracious hosts.  If anyone is in the market for a Black or Yellow Lab, the Sinclairs may be able to help you out, they had lots of cute puppies!

On my way home I noticed a beaver sitting beside the road, just west of Cardiff.  I turned around and managed to get a few pics of the little guy nibblin' on a stick :)


  1. Your experience with nature is amazing & helpful for further experiments.

  2. Mike, congratulations on being e-birder of the month! A couple of years I asked a friend why Ontario was not really into the e-bird thing, but looks like you have done your part to get the province into it. Thanks! I am another birder that came out of Ontario, and became a biologists at Long Point - good times. We used to have a cottage not that far from Bancroft, between Fishtail and Elephant lakes, it was a wonderful place to bird. I will be following your blog! Take care - Alvaro.