Category Archives: General

Birding in the Toronto Ravines

Last week we got up very, very early (5am!) to go out birding at all four of the ravines in our study, Burke Brook, Moore Park, Park Drive and Rosedale Valley. We were joined by two expert birders, Mark Peck an Ornithology Technician (what a great title) at the ROM and Daniel Riley from Birds Study Canada: Watching them in action was impressive, they were able to identify most birds just by their calls and Mark had an eye for finding nests. In Moore Park he found a Red-eyed Vireo-Vireo olivaceus nest which was being monitored by the Brown-headed cowbird-Molothrus ater a blackbird that only lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. In total they found a total of 46 bird species in the four ravines, the species composition was fairly consistent across the ravines though interestingly they found more migrant Neo-tropical birds in Rosedale Valley, the only ravine with a road running straight through it. The most exciting sighing was a pair of Great Horned Owls in Park Drive; watching the large creatures fly  among the trees in the middle of downtown Toronto was thrilling!

Photo: By Art Siegel ( [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons