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Got a backyard and some time on your hands? Birdwatching might be for you (6 photos)

Learn their songs and you might hear them before you see them

Bored? A local expert says this time of year can be a great time to take up bird watching.

SooToday spoke with Carter Dorscht of Dorscht Birding and The Kensington Conservancy who gave us some suggestions about feeder watching and birding in the coming days and weeks.

"Bird migration is just starting to heat up. From your house, you may be able to see Canada Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and various raptors such as Red-tailed Hawks and Bald Eagles migrating overhead. Besides the obvious returnees like American Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds, keep an eye out sparrows in your yard, such as Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Junco. If you learn their songs, you might actually hear them before you see them!" said Dorscht.

"If you are on or near water, or even a flooded field, ducks will soon be returning. There is a wide variety of species you could see, but some examples are American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, and Hooded Merganser. You might also see some Tundra Swans as they head up to their breeding grounds!"

"After the first wave of migrants come through, we'll start to see neotropical migrants come through in May. Warblers are a favourite of many because of their beautiful plumages and songs. Some example are Chestnut-sided Warbler, Backburnian Warbler, and American Redstart. We'll also start seeing species like Great Crested Flycatcher, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks arrive back in May!"

There are many online resources for learning those bird songs. "Really, the best way to learn is to get out and observe the birds actually make those calls," said Dorscht. One example would be Cornell's All About Birds, and you can also network and learn from other birders by joining Algoma District Birding Facebook group. This is a great way for all people to learn about the local to Algoma birds and is excellent for children.

In addition, the trails for snowshoeing at the Kensington Conservancy remain open for use but the office is closed.

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About the Author: Violet Aubertin

Violet Aubertin is a photograher and writer with an interest in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma's great outdoors
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