As the Artist in Residence of Haliburton Forest, birding has given me countless hours of adventure through every season of the year.
Winter brings many changes to the Forest, there may be fewer birds around in the winter, but you might find them easier to see. The leaves are gone, the temperature has dropped and the days are shorter. These remarkable little creatures are all around us. With unique abilities and features they survive our sometimes harsh and cold winters. Feathers are complex structures made of the same material as our fingernails, which keeps our feathered friends well insulated against the cold. Some may have as many as 25,000 feathers.
Birds also have a much better sense of sight than us humans. Hawks and owls have very large eyeballs, in some the eyeballs meet in the middle of the skull, dwarfing the brain. All birds have both monocular vision (seeing independently with each eye) and binocular vision (seeing with both eyes together). Their hearing is generally very acute. Although birds do not have a cartilaginous external ear, their ears are similar in structure and sensitivity to our own.
Observing birds in the wild can reveal such behaviours as cache retrieval, a talent for mimicry, or even play (such as raven tag, which can be observed at our Wolf Centre) and lead us to wonder the possibilities of variance intelligence.
Birding at the Haliburton Forest can start with your next visit. All you need is a field guide, notebook, and binoculars (if you are old school, like myself). Others choose a point and shoot camera and a good internet connection. If you are an active person who enjoys nature and the outdoors, what are you waiting for?
With over 8,600 species of birds in the world, the possibility of 30 plus species in the Haliburton Forest during the winter include – Ruffed grouse, Spruce grouse, Barred owl, Great Gray owl, Northern Hawk owl, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Common Raven , Blue Jay, Cark-eyed Junco, Pine Grosbeak, Pine Siskin, Evening Grosbeak, Black-capped Chickadee, Gray Jay, Pileated Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Black – backed Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, American Goldfinch, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Northern Shrike, White-winged Crossbill......
Good luck and cheers!
Your Artist friend,
David Alexander Risk