Snow Geese migration in Ottawa Valley

We renew our nature-guided tour schedule after a one-month vacation. The next trip is planned that to see snow geese and other waterfowls around Ottawa.

The current population of Snow Goose in Ontario is evaluated in more than 15 million birds. It increased significantly last decades due to improved farming technics. Snow geese nest far north, on lakes, rivers and other water-reservoirs in tundras. In the autumn seasons, all geese from tundras migrate to wintering sites in the southern United States or even to northern Mexico. However, during migrations, large flocks of geese stay to rest and feed on agricultural fields in Ontario. Usually, they appear near Ottawa in late October – November.  This Saturday we still have a chance to see snow geese around Ottawa in Prescott and Russel county.

Place and Subject of the Excursion:

At this time large flocks of snow geese stay on the agricultural fields and on wetlands for feeding and rest. According to recent observations, up to 5,000 – 7,000 geese can be found in some known stopover places. We plan to go to one of such places, which is called the Embrun Eastern Sewage Lagoons, one of the well-known “hot” birding places. We hope to see not only snow geese but other interesting bird species, including other geese species, birds of prey, ducks, gulls, and passerines.

We’ll meet in the middle of Milton Rd. at 9:00 am on Saturday, November 20. There is an opportunity for carpooling from west Ottawa (2 places). The duration of the guided hike is 4-5 hours until 1-2 pm.


It is expected that there will not be rain or snow on Saturday. However, the maximum day temperature is predicted as +4C. Therefore, it is important to have warm jackets, gloves, or mittens. Waterproof shoes will be appropriate to walk around wetlands after abundant rains in the last week. Take your sandwiches and water with you.

Bird migration in Ottawa Valley (in English and Russian)

In the spring, the surrounding forests, meadows, and wetlands around Ottawa and Ottawa Greenbelt are filled with the rustling of wings, singing, and parenting concerns of a wide variety of migratory birds, many of which have traveled outstanding distances from Central and South America to reach their nesting sites in Canada. Such species are called long-distant migrants. Many North-American Warblers from Parulidae Family belong to long-distant migrants. Already in late July – early August, with the end of the nesting period, these birds begin to gather in small flocks often from different species and move forward to their wintering grounds in tropical countries. During this time, many of them can be seen in parks and around rivers and lakes in the Ottawa area. Migrating birds usually follow specific routes called migratory corridors. There are several such places in Ottawa. The bird migration has already started this year but has not yet reached its peak. During an excursion to one of these places in a few hours, it is possible to spot about a dozen species and from several dozen to hundreds of individuals flitting from branch to branch in search of available food such as insects and other invertebrates. However, many passerine birds at this time are not averse to eating ripe berries that abundantly dot the bushes. Many birds have not yet molted and during this period it is difficult to identify some of them and distinguish them from other similar species.

Весной окрестные леса, луга и водоемы вокруг Оттавы и в зеленой зоне самого города наполняются шелестом крыльев, пением и родительскими хлопотами большого разнообразия пролетных птиц, многие из которых преодолели большие расстояния, чтобы добраться до своих гнездовых мест в Канаде из Центральной и Южной Америки. Такие виды называют дальними мигрантами. К ним относятся многие лесные певуны, ласточки и трупиалы. Но уже в конце июля – начале августа с завершением периода гнездования, эти птицы начинают собираться назад – к местам своей зимовки в теплых странах. В это время многих из них можно заметить в парках и вокруг рек и озер в районе Оттавы. Пролетные птицы обычно перемещаются по определенным маршрутам, которые называются перелетными коридорами. В Оттаве есть несколько таких мест. Пролет в этом году уже начался, но еще не достиг своего пика. При экскурсии в одно из таких мест за несколько часов можно увидеть около десятка видов и от нескольких десятков до сотни особей, перепархивающих с ветки на ветки в поисках корма – насекомых. Однако, многие воробьиные птицы в это время не прочь полакомиться и созревшими ягодками, обильно усевающим кустарники. Многие птицы еще не перелиняли и в этот период их трудно определить и отличить от других сходных видов.

Место проведения и предмет экскурсии:

Мы начнем нашу экскурсию на озере Mud Lake в центре города , но потом переместимся еще в пару мест, чтобы полнее охватить места, где наблюдается наибольшее обилие и разнообразие птиц в этот период. Мы будем учиться отличать взрослых воробьиных птиц от молодых, а также мы будем учиться определять виды в осенний период при помощи аппликации на сотовом телефоне и планшете по внешнему виду. Кроме этого, мы узнаем много интересного о видах, которые гнездятся вокруг нас или же появляются здесь лишь на короткий период – на пути из тундры и тайги в тропические леса. Также Вы сможете познакомиться с книгой “Птицы вокруг нас” – о птицах Онтарио – на русском. Сейчас уже печатается вторая часть, которую Вы можете заказать.

Форма одежды и оборудование:

Удобная одежда и обувь. Спрей от комаров уже не нужен, а вот крем от солнца может пригодиться. Не забывайте бинокли и камеры. Мы возьмем подзорную трубу для наблюдения за птицами, но в это время птиц легче всего увидеть именно при помощи бинокля. Можно также взять подкормку для птиц, для местных видов, у которых уже начинает проявляться эффект попрошайничества при виде людей с биноклями.

Регистрация на тур:



Bird Migration on Mud Lake in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada)

A very common Song Sparrow near Mud Lake during fall migration

In Ottawa there is an amazing place called Mud Lake. Mud Lake is located not far from the central part of the city, close to the Ottawa River. This area is truly unusually rich in a variety of all kinds of animals: from amphibians, snakes and turtles to a remarkable diversity of mammals. The lake is also part of a protected area called the Britannia Conservation Area. It is managed by National Capital Commission (NCC).

But this territory has become special fame as a transit corridor for a great number of birds that make regular migrations from their breeding habitats in the northern forests to wintering sites in the southern hemisphere. Mud Lake is part of the Lac-Deschenes – Ottawa River Important Bird Area (IBA). This important bird area is really exceptional because it serves as a stopover place for a very intensive migration of birds nesting in the Canadian taiga, both in spring and autumn.

Throughout the year, naturalists love to visit the Mud Lake area as a place to observe many types of wildlife in a city setting. But especially many people – naturalists, birdwatchers and photographers – gather here during the periods of bird migration: in spring – from April to early June, and in autumn from mid-August to October. Thousands of naturalists come to Mud Lake to watch one of the most amazing natural phenomena – the seasonal bird migration.  

Now one of the migration peaks of small passerine birds is observed – when long-distant neotropical migrants which fly from the northern forests into the jungles of Central and South America to spend time there, when the northern forests will be covered with winter frosts and sheltered with dense snowdrifts. Migratory birds have not yet molted and wear unsightly faded plumage, but some of them are already sporting mating attire.

The small ridge separating the lake from the Ottawa River is exactly where many waves of migrating birds stop. For an hour of observation, on some days, you can see from 30-40 to 70-90 bird species. The birds hide and feed in the bushes growing on the slopes of the ridge that rolling to the banks of the Ottawa River, in the crowns of tall trees, as well as among the needles of pines, firs and spruce trees growing around the lake. There are especially many birds after rains and winds, when harsh weather push brave migrants wait out the bad conditions in the bushes. Birds are not only wait they inspect all vegetation around searching for diverse insects and other invertebrates hidden in the branches and under the bark of trees.

Every naturalist will be “rewarded” with unique moments of observation of migratory species, gathered in one place… Hurry up to say goodbye to the brave passengers flying away for the winter and wish them all to come back to their breeding grounds in spring …