13th Annual Winter Bird Count in the Rouge

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If you are interested in birds, you might want to volunteer to count them. See details below how to sign up.

Dig out your mittens and thermos – the 13th Annual Winter Bird Count in the Rouge will be held on Sunday January 10, 2016 led by Parks Canada and the Toronto Zoo.

What is a Bird Count?
Thousands of birds call the Rouge home during the winter months, and we want to know who’s around. Volunteers, along with brilliant bird experts, venture out to forests, meadows and wetlands in the park to count all birds seen and heard.

There’s lots of ways to get involved:
New to birding? No worries, no experience needed. Please be 13 years of age and over and happy to spend much of the day hiking in any weather.
Are you a birding expert? We can use your help. A group leader shares their knowledge on the importance of birds and their habitats. Come discover the resident birds of the Rouge.
Prefer to stay warm? If you’re a Rouge Park neighbour, you can tally up bird visits at your backyard bird feeders. Connect with us to see if you’re in our bird count zone.

What does the day look like?
Bundle up, this is a rain, shine or snow event. You’ll meet up with your team and travel to your assigned counting zone in the park. Generally, the count will go from 8am to 1pm, but your leader will be in touch to work out the details. Then, we all gather together to see the results of our count. Who will find the bald eagle this year? The suspense is unbearable!

What’s in it for me?
You will get to spend the morning in the Rouge with a very knowledgeable birder who can teach you interesting bird facts such as recognizing calls, or identifying features. We’ll reward your efforts with a delicious meal and warm drinks.

I’m in! How do I sign up?
This is a popular event and space is limited, so connect with us early. Drop us an email at rouge@pc.gc.ca to register (please do not reply to this email).

In your email to rouge@pc.gc.ca, please include:
-Name(s) and age(s) of participant(s):
-What is your birding experience: novice, intermediate or expert?
-If you need to take public transit:
-If you have a preferred birding area in the park:

I have children 12 and under, can they tag along? What if I can’t commit for the full time?
The Winter Bird Count can be a long day for little feet; therefore, we’ve limited the event to people 13 years of age and older. If you have someone 12 and under, but are still keen to participate, we’re offering birding hikes. These hikes are handy too if you can’t stay for the allotted time, or would find 4 to 5 hours of hiking a challenge. Learn more here:

Just how fabulous is the Winter Bird Count?
Over the years we have averaged seeing over 6,500 birds in just one day, which can consist of 50 to 70 different species! Here are some of the highlights we have seen over the years: several birds of prey and hawk species including the Bald Eagle and Rough-legged Hawk; owl species like the Great Horned Owl and the Barred Owl; some more elusive and colourful winter bird species like the Eastern Bluebird and Common Redpoll.

Spread the word!
Please feel free to forward this information to any family or friends you think would be interested in participating in this event.

Need more info? Send a note to rouge@pc.gc.ca and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Your winter bird count team,
Parks Canada and Toronto Zoo

Rouge National Urban Park Initiative / Initiative du parc urbain national de la Rouge
Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada
Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada