Fly by Night

Songbirds are heading south, and in a few weeks, many will have left the province.

Already most of the swallows have moved on, Eastern Kingbirds and Baltimore Orioles are on their way.  Flycatchers, vireos and many species of warblers like the Northern Parula have begun a mass exodus, with millions of birds heading for their winter homes far to the south. Some will reach the other end of the world.

Most of the songbirds are night travelers, using the earth’s magnetic field, the stars and the moon to guide their internal compass, even those that have never made the trip before. When the night is clear and calm, you can hear night sounds over the countryside, cities and towns. There are peeps, tweets, zeets and a host of second-long call notes meant to keep the flocks together. Sometimes you can even identify a particular species in the dark, like the distinctive vheeu of the Veery, a common woodland thrush.

Happy Birding!

Brian Morin

Publisher of Ontario Birding News

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