Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

June 27, 2020

Backyard Bird Species #80

We just had our 80th backyard bird species today. A Great Crested Flycatcher! The bird was sitting on one of our hummingbird feeders for a moment and then flew to the ground way down at the back of the yard.

Angie mentioned catching a glimpse of a different looking bird the other evening but it disappeared before she got the bins on it. What she described sure points to this bird. So maybe this is it's second visit? How to cool to have one stick around for the summer since we don't bird anywhere else other than home really.

June 26, 2020

Gray Hairs

While the actual peregrine falcon fledge watch at the nearby Etobicoke nest site is officially over, we still like to keep an eye on the family and monitor the young birds. With the kids out and about, you never know what you may see and there are times where you won't see anybody. That is what happened for Angie and I on Sunday afternoon. We were in the area and decided to have a look out for them and we saw no falcons at all. It was a very hot and humid afternoon so they all could have been hiding out from the heat for the time.

The next morning I drove Angie down to Islington subway around 6:15 am and decided to have a quick peek in the area, hoping to spot some of the birds. Quick peek? HA! Ya, right. Read on...

As I got to the intersection at Islington and Bloor, a juvenile peregrine falcon flew right over my car. I could tell it was a young bird by the colour and the frantic flapping of the wings as how the young birds often fly. It landed on a condo roof at the southwest corner. I parked in the first available spot on a side street that I could find. Then I got my camera and binoculars out, and went for a walk towards that condo. I was happy to see two of the young birds (there are four young this year) sitting close to each other on top of this building.

I could also see a young bird high atop the glass towers on the northeast corner.

It was great to see three juveniles so quickly. My friend Lucie who also helps watch this family told me she was only seeing three young the last few days. She told me she hadn't seen "blue" which is referring to the tape colour on the one bird's leg. "Blue" happens to be Nino, the bird I recently rescued from an alleyway. See that blog here.

Unfortunately I wasn't seeing any of the bird's legs from my angle, so I couldn't see any bands or tape colours. Knowing "blue" was missing made me sad. I rescued him. I held him. I had a soft spot for him because of that. I know it's a hard wild world out there for the young birds and things can happen; often we never know what. But I wasn't going to let my mind go to such a dark place.

I walked around the area for a bit. My ears tuned into the screams of a young falcon. It was across the street from the beer store which is next to the condo where the two birds above were hanging out.

I followed the screams. I soon also tuned into a lot of very angry House Sparrows. Okay, where is the falcon? Suddenly I see it. It is on a one story building, which is a selling office for soon to be built condos in the area. I have concerns for this bird because he is very low to the ground. I also have concerns for this bird because he is quite wet and we haven't had rain in over a week. We get wet pigeons at home on occasion and they are wet from foreign oily substances so my thoughts went to this possibility.

I wish I could see his legs!

I think the bird realized that I was observing him and decided to make a break for it. It took flight out over Bloor Street, low I might add, and headed towards the glass towers where the nest is. I've seen way too many young falcons hit that glass, flying in at such a low level. I lose sight of this bird as he goes in between a couple of the towers. At least he didn't hit. But where did he go? He didn't get a lot of height. I head over to where he went and keep my eyes and ears open for him.

There's some screaming sparrows again. Is the falcon nearby? Nope, it's a Red-tailed Hawk just hanging out.

Now this is where things get pretty crazy.

After walking about the ground level of the glass towers, I make my way to an upper level garden area on the northeast corner. I can see the two juveniles still on the roof of the condo across the street. Suddenly there's a lot of screaming and in comes an adult, mom I believe, and she has a pigeon in her talons. She lands on a hydro pole right outside the subway and starts to prep the pigeon to feed to the kids.

Now in comes two young falcons. Both birds go for the condo roof, where the other 2 siblings still are, and one misses it by a couple feet. It hangs onto the wall for a moment. In comes dad right under the bird, trying to bump it up. I saw dad (Lucky) do this a few times during the 2019 watch. It is something to see! Anyway, all of that was unsuccessful and this young bird jets off the wall and heads towards the glass towers. I lose sight of him. The good thing is that I have confirmation of all four kids still alive and well; though one may be struggling by what I have witnessed so far. I just wish I knew which one.

Then one of the kids comes down from the condo and lands on a power line near mom. He's screaming his head off as he wants the food.

I was very happy to see it was "blue" who I really should start calling Nino.

Watching Nino and how spazzy he was, and right over the morning rush hour traffic was a bit concerning. It was one thing to be screaming but he was hopping around a lot, from wire to pole, back to the wires, to another pole. Then he made a few jumps at or even on top of mom to try and get at the pigeon. All I could do was stand there, watch and wait to see if I had to intervene.

"Feed me! Feed me!" as the feathers fall.

Mom continues to work on the prepping.

Nino is getting very impatient.

Now he starts trying to get on the pole with mom and hopefully eat.

I'm not even looking at my settings or shots despite how overcast it became. I was too in the moment of watching things here.

I'm glad Darcy (mom) didn't drop the pigeon or Nino might have went down to the street after it.

Nino lands in another spot but only for a moment.

He's really trying to get the pigeon now!

Again he comes up empty and then flies to the southwest condo to join his siblings and wait to be fed.

It's pandemonium now with screaming kids when the meal finally arrives. They all disappear on the roof. I hope everyone living in the top floors of that condo were awake by this time. If not, I'm sure they were now.

I think this still is mom but am not 100% certain. Whoever, this bird sat on this pole at the intersection and let out some serious stress calls.

I went on a search for the young bird.

I hear a lot of screaming and see a young falcon coming out from between two of the towers. It's trying to make it to the roof top. It doesn't quite make it. One of the adults is racing in, trying to bump the young bird up. Unfortunately the kid hits the glass before the parent could get to it. I let out a big "FUCK!" as I watch it go into a spiral towards the ground. About halfway down it regains it's composure and quickly jets off and away from the building, again disappearing around the back. I give chase which is futile but I try to keep up running up the sidewalk. No luck in spotting the bird when I got around to the other side of the building.

I do see two of the young now on a roof top of a building just to the north of the nest tower. I see another on a ledge of the nest tower. Come on, where is the fourth?!?!

After checking every nook and cranny, using some of the reflective glass to look to the upper mezzanines if the bird landed there, and even walking to the north subway parking lot where I could get a better view of the roof tops all had me not find the last bird. I decided to go back to the front, out along Bloor and maybe see it there... somewhere.

I tuned into a very angry Robin up by the A&W restaurant. Angry birds mean something is around that is upsetting them. Perhaps a missing juvenile falcon? In this case, YES!!!!! The bird is in a small tree right out front of A&W. I can see him clearly but it's too dark to get any views of the legs for a band or tape colour.

Photo of the spot taken days later, without a falcon in the tree, just for this blog.  Trying to give you a better visual...

The bird senses me watching it and takes flight, fleeing the scene, flying low and disappearing like the other times, going in between the towers and out the back.

You know I stopped taking photos at this point. I had a towel with me and was prepared to do a rescue if need be.

I was going on 3 hours of being on site. That was a lot longer than what I wanted or expected of my visit.

My phone was completely dead now. I should add that I was updating a couple of my watcher friends throughout. I was quite sweaty from the humidity. I was dying of thirst. I had to get some groceries for the week soon as well as get ready for work.

I walked the perimeter of the towers two more times, looking for the bird, either high up, low like the other two spots earlier this morning, or grounded and needing rescued. I got nothing. After telling myself it's okay, he's almost definitely okay, I left.

I use these reflective angled pieces of glass to help me see to upper floor levels that aren't always accessible to the general public.  They have unfortunately assisted me in finding missing young falcons who unfortunately turn out to be recoveries instead of rescues as the birds struck the glass with such force, instantly breaking their necks.

Thankfully CPF's Tracy who is a good friend of ours was already getting me some relief from a man named Bruce that some of you may know. Bruce is one dedicated guy to the falcons year after year. When I got home, I quickly made contact with Lucie who volunteers at the watches and lives down the street from us and this nest site. She was soon on her way to help Bruce locate all four young again. It took a while but they did get them all, and high up on the towers. YAY!

I wanted to call this blog "SHIT SHOW" or maybe "A Moment with Nino" but I think Gray Hairs is rather suiting because a morning like I had with these young birds surely put a few on my head.

I wonder what my next spot check on them will bring?

UPDATE - today, Friday June 26th I decided to have a quick look around.  Quick turned into one hour but that's okay.  I saw nothing for the longest time.  Finally when I searched the other side of the towers, I spotted both adults sitting and looking to the north.  A short bit later 2 of the young falcons flew in.  I have been on a cat sitting gig all week and couldn't stick around.  I searched all around the towers and all the nooks and crannies to be certain no one was in trouble or "not with us anymore".  Here's why I really posted this update.

I spent some time in the alleyway across from the towers which is where we can view the nest ledge.  I can walk up and down this alley and view all the towers and nearby condos at all angles except the very north side.

As I went through the alleyway, I passed a couple folded up, rather weathered lottery tickets on the road.  Other than noticing them, I kept on walking.  Now about 30 minutes later I am passing this spot again.  Those lottery tickets are still laying there, having been run over a couple more times.  I decided to pick pick them up and check them out.  Maybe just a couple loser tickets someone threw out their car window?  Most likely, right?  Both didn't have any claimed prize stamps on them which happens when someone cashes in a winner.  I thought "what the hell, I might as well scan them".  The 649 was a loser.  The Max ticket had the winning song go off from my phone and look what the winning amount is!

If anyone was with me, I would have said "breakfast is on me!" Oh well, the money can come in handy. It's like I actually got paid for my time down there this year. Or rewarded after the chaotic morning earlier this week. Whatever. How cool is that to end this blog?

If you are new to my blog and/or unfamiliar about Peregrine Falcon fledge watches, you may want to give this blog of mine a read... it's all you need to know.

June 20, 2020

Falcon Rescue 2020

Hello! I hope anyone reading this is doing well as we are still in this pandemic. Blogging for me is not coming so easily what with Angie working from home so much and tying up our computer station. Then there's been the falcons recently, the fledge watch as I participate in every year.

Covid 19 certainly added to our struggle in 2020 with so many closures including easily accessible restrooms; something needed when spending hours at a watch and drinking coffee. A lack of people interested in volunteering to watch over the nest sites throughout the Toronto area was nothing new but I am sure less people wanted to come out during these trying times. The young birds weren't able to be banded early on made keeping track of the young at the watches a challenge too. With so many people working from home, there was a plus side being far less traffic in the area.

I helped out a little bit early on at the Mississauga Executive Centre with the 2 chicks there. One went missing for a few days which prompted me to get out there and help look for him. The night I found out about his disappearance, I couldn't sleep. I think I slept maybe 4 hours total. I was at MEC for about 5:30 am the next day and began my search. Almost 4 hours later I gave up. The other bird had not fledged yet and wasn't going to that day either.

I returned the next morning and still had no luck. I believe it was the following day the missing chick appeared, all high and safe, not needing to be rescued. Yay! Unfortunately the bird's sibling lost her life in one of her first flights, colliding with that damn reflective glass. Ugh!

Then it was on to my regular site to monitor at Islington and Bloor, the site we call Etobicoke Sunlife. Four young birds here. None banded either. One chick fledged on the Tuesday if I am not mistaken and was flying around like a pro, as if he had been flying for years. I missed that as I was at work. The next day I arrive first thing in the morning and I could not locate him. His 3 siblings were still on the nest ledge.

A short bit later in he comes from the west. He does a great landing on the nest tower. Seconds later he takes another flight only this time it didn't go so well. He missed the roof, and thankfully the reflective glass as well. He clung to the side of the building near the top for a short bit. I stood on the sidewalk below and waited to see what would happen. In came one of the adults who tried to push him up but was not successful. The young bird now took another flight, trying to gain altitude but he lacked the strength to do so and flew south across Bloor Street. I quickly followed on foot. I watched him head west across Islington Avenue. Ring-billed Gulls were not pleased with the sight of this falcon and caused him further grief. I lost sight of the bird and could not locate him with my search. I decided to head back over to stand where I could watch the other 3 on the nest ledge and maybe this one would show up.

The remaining 3 young birds all fledged in a very short time frame. It got pretty silly with them all out of the nest. One did the most amazing thing I hadn't seen before at such an early stage of flying; he left the nest ledge, flew to the condo roof east and then about 10 minutes later he flew back to the nest ledge. It was a perfect landing. In the past I have seen young falcons attempt this and miss the ledge, either hitting the glass (even lightly) or the wall. It would be weeks into the summer before we would see any of them back on the nest ledge.

I left to start my day and get ready for work.

I learned later on that the missing kid ended up on someone's porch and had to be rescued. Another kid ended up stuck on someone's balcony and also needed rescuing. So grateful for the couple watchers present to help these 2 young falcons.

The next morning I arrive on scene. I don't see 4 chicks during my head count. I decide to go for a walk and search the perimeter like I do, hoping I do not find a dead falcon on the ground anywhere after a window strike. Minutes later there's a guy flagging me down on Bloor Street. Long story short, he had come into work to find one of the falcon chicks sitting in his parking spot at the Bell building which is across Bloor from the nest tower. The bird had moved since and was in the alleyway behind the building. Luckily for me, he was in a narrow fenced off section and while he had some distance to run away from me, he eventually would corner himself.

The finder stayed on the other side of the fence in the alley. He took some photos and videos but was ready to help if need be. One of his coworkers followed me, holding the carrier for me, and also being ready to be a blockade if the falcon got past me when I tried to catch him.

This was going to be my 4th rescue ever of a peregrine falcon chick. It was very early in the morning. So I was a little shaky initially. Having an audience was making me nervous. Deep down I knew I would get this bird though. It would only be a matter of time and opportunity.

My first attempt to towel him failed. I was slow and the bird got away on me. He ran from me. I kept my slow walk towards him only because I knew he wasn't going to get far. He motored along and this was kinda funny... he hopped up on a small rock and then just glared at me. Why? Did he realize he wasn't getting much further? Did he think "okay, I gotta fight this monster" and those couple inches in elevation gave him the confidence? Only he knows for sure. But this is where I finally caught him. The whole ordeal took less than 2 minutes but it sure felt a lot longer while it was happening.

The finder took a video of the rescue which you can see here.

After many thank yous to the finder and his coworker for helping me, I brought the bird in my carrier to the car and let him have a time out. I went and got a coffee, and watched the other birds including the adults. I never really looked at the bird I rescued, to make sure he was okay, not bleeding or anything. He ran like a champ so I was sure he was alright but I decided to have a peek. You know, see him in a moment of clarity. I took this photo and then covered him back up.

He wasn't happy with me and gave me a hiss.

He was later banded and finally released back home with his family. He was named Nino and his band is C 13. He has blue tape which is a temporary thing but really helps us during watches, seeing tape colours instead of looking for band numbers.

Here's hoping Nino does well and maybe we'll find out about him being somewhere on territory in a couple years. That would be amazing to me.

Hopefully this blog reads well. I've been up for about 18 hours now. I really need to get some sleep.

Thanks for stopping in to give this a read, and not forgetting about Rob and the Animals.

May 29, 2020

500... WOW!

Well it has been over 6 years in the making but I finally hit a big milestone with my volunteer work at the Toronto Wildlife Centre; I released my 500th bird!

When I finally signed on as an official volunteer with TWC, I started keeping a log book of my goings on be it rescues, releases, grocery shopping and anything else. I kept track of the count with my releases as I found it interesting how they added up.

It is never a competition, not even for myself. It's just been something of interest to me. Sometimes it was just one bird to be released, like a pigeon, somewhere in the west end of the city which is where I live. Sometimes it was one, five, maybe eight migratory songbirds either needing a drive north of the city in the spring or west of the city in the fall. I prefer to not go too far out of range especially since I work a 40 hour week, Monday to Friday. I do what I can, when I can. I wish I could do more but other volunteer gigs require more structure like doing an actual 4 hour shift. If Angie and I worked the same hours, then perhaps I could give up a couple weekend mornings each month (she might join me in this too); but we don't so our weekend time together is pretty important to us.

I should add that I am thankful for Angie's support with my volunteer work. She comes along with me on occasion when possible and if something happens to interrupt our weekend, she'll say something along the lines of "What are you waiting for? Go to it! Text me when you are on your way home and I will start lunch (or dinner)".

This spring I figured I would hit #500. I slowly inched my way to that number with a couple robin releases, a few early migrants being some White-throated Sparrows.

This robin I released back in one of my old high school stomping grounds in Rexdale. Driving though an old neighbourhood near Albion Mall sure brought back a lot of memories.

I was at 494 a couple weeks back when the an opportunity arose to help once again. It was a pigeon and a some more WTSP. I picked up the birds, unsure the total until I got there. Was my 500 here? Nope... five birds... so here I was at 499. Oh man, what a tease! I laughed about it and really wondered after the fact on when and what will be the 500th release because that was next.

Here is the pigeon that was almost #500. He's a bit fancy, isn't he?

Unlike migratory birds who go to proper green spaces outside the city during migration, pigeons need to go back to where they were found, which is their home. Their community is there, their family and friends. Yes family, as many are paired up with another. This pigeon was rather freaked out come release time. Who can blame him? He doesn't know what is going to happen to him next. So he spent a lengthy amount of time just cowering in the back corner of the box. I leave the flaps open for him to see the outside world. I stand to the side or behind so he cannot see me. Then it's a waiting game until he's comfortable enough to come out on his own. It sure does help if he can see his own kind which is what happened here. I do prefer them to fly off to higher ground but he plopped right down there near this other bird. He looked around for a while and then began to preen. He was relaxing now, knowing he was back home. After I grabbed the box, got in the car and started it up, both he and the other bird took flight to a nearby roof top. Now I could leave. That's just me of course. He was deemed releasable but I prefer not to leave any birds on the ground like this. Knowing he was high and safe made me feel better.

I'm no hero in this but honestly, it is sad to say, that I know a lot of people who wouldn't drive across the street to release a pigeon. I still get a lot of flack from some about how the centre will rehab pigeons.

I know, "Okay Rob, let's get on with this. Where's #500?" Hey, I have to build up the story just a wee bit.

Moving ahead some days later, a few more birds are ready to go. I was grinning the next 15 hours about #500 coming up. What will the species be? My first bird was a White-throated Sparrow. My 50th bird was a Red-tailed Hawk that someone shot with a pellet gun. My 100th bird was a White-throated Sparrow. My 150th was a Black & White Warbler. My 200th bird was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. My 250th was a Black-throated Blue Warbler. My 300th was a Chestnut-sided Warbler. My 350th was a Swainson's Thrush. My 400th was a Northern Parula. My 450th was an Ovenbird.

Yes, I am still dragging this out.

A few people at the centre knew of my upcoming milestone bird because I told them so. It wasn't bragging rights but just my own excitement to the occasion. They were kind enough to mark the release bags for me, giving species names. It doesn't always happen but I do appreciate it when it does. I don't always see the releases because they can happen so fast, and depending on how the bird takes to the release, some disappear in the blink of an eye, getting lost in the leaves of the nearby trees.

I will admit that a few of my milestone releases I hand picked when there was a few birds to choose from. Other times I just looked the other way and let my hand pick. What was I going to do here? There was a Northern Flicker, a Northern Parula and a couple White-throated Sparrows. As I left the centre, driving along, I pondered this.

Fortunately Angie was able to meet me on her lunch break for this moment. She too had time to think about me, the bird species and what #500 will be. She even said I know what you want to pick and I know what I think you should pick.

The Flicker is a big bird that we could probably get a photo of without too much challenge. Then there's that beautiful little Northern Parula, such a colourful little warbler. NOTE: at the time, I even thought that this was going to be my first Parula to release. Now that would be something! Then there's the White-throated Sparrow who has made it to a couple of my milestones.

In the end, my choice was a White-throated Sparrow. Now why would I pick such a common bird like that? A bird that many barely bat an eye at during migration because they are plentiful. Well the reasons are many...

This sparrow was the first bird I ever banded. Yes, I have banded a few birds in my day.

It is as mentioned my first and 100th bird release as well.

The White-throated Sparrow is a highlight for me during migration. It is an early spring migrant so when I start to hear their song, I know winter is truly behind us even though I can find overwintering WTSP some years. I get excited to hear that call even if I cannot see the bird right away. The White-throated Sparrow adds a soundtrack to our backyard periodically for a week or two every spring. It can be just one bird, sometimes 3 or 4. Then come the fall, they return for another stopover. Their call is rather broken in the autumn season, sounding like a teenager going through puberty. I am happy to see and hear them once again. Of course there is some sadness as well, knowing the warm weather is rapidly coming to an end. Lastly, I can relate to the White-throated Sparrow. Just one of many, an average being, not flashy, and just trying to get through life.

A backyard WTSP from this spring. Well, he is a little flashy, isn't he? HA!

Here is #500. I wish he would have stayed for a better photo opportunity.

Here is me at the release in my usual position to let them fly out. Posing for the camera is not my thing either.

Here is a much better photo of another White-throated Sparrow that was ALMOST 500.

I look forward to many more years of volunteering with the Toronto Wildlife Centre in any way that I can.

If you have time for one more read, not quite as long as this one, you might find this one about my 50th bird release interesting. I'm always saddened that there are people who find joy in hurting animals. Someone shot this Hawk with a pellet gun. BLOG HERE.

Before I go, I should add that there is more to a release than just releasing the bird. There's the driving. Being in a busy city like Toronto, going anywhere takes time, and sometimes a lot of it. The centre is 11 km from our home and 30 minutes to get there is not unheard of. Then to get out to Mississauga or Vaughan as examples for the migrants, maybe mid-town for a pigeon, you're gonna hit some traffic and depending on time and where, it can be a lot. I've had easy drives. I've had unexpectedly long drives due to construction or an accident. It's all a part of the gig. I've had people just assume I am taking all these birds to our backyard. Simply put "NO!" When I explain the finer details, some are rather deterred. You don't stand in front of a release. You don't let your friends stand in front. You do not chase the animals once they are free. They've been through enough. If you want to take photos, take them from where you stand.

May 8, 2020

Thrush Releases

I was fortunate enough to be the driver and release person for a few migratory songbirds this week. Two of which were my favourite Thrush species, the Wood Thrush. Beautiful birds with beautiful songs; but that can be said for so many bird species, right?

Anyway, it was a great distraction for me to help get these birds back to a wild life.

These guys were pretty stressed out come release time. Understandable because they have no idea what is going on. "Why am I not outside? Why are there these big monsters around me? Why did I just get put in the dark (a wax free paper bag)?" These are things they must wonder while at the rehabilitation centre. The paper bag is what they travel in on their way to release. They won't damage their feathers as they flutter and struggle inside. It's the best we can do for them during this time. We like to think that all the animals know we are only trying to help them, but that isn't so. I have found that warblers are rather quick to going back to business as I call it, forgetting about the past in seconds. Some of the bigger birds, not as fast. Once again, it is understandable to me. They are released and are confused. They cautiously take in their surroundings before flying off.

You see can see in these photos of how the bird is upon initial release to a few minutes later when it realizes it is once again a wild and free bird.

Look how this one stands up straight and narrow.

A few minutes later, he relaxes a little bit. His head feathers still show that he is not completely at ease just yet.

I was hoping to get another photo of him but he flew off. With any releases that I do, I leave it up to the birds on how it plays out. I will not chase any for a picture. If they hang around, okay cool. If not, a silent wish of safe travels as they go on with their life.

This guy wasn't as freaked out upon release as the first but you can see the display of the head feathers that he isn't relaxed. The feathers went up, they went down, they went back up and then down again. He made a funny grunting kind of call in the near 10 minutes he sat on this branch. That's another thing for me with releases; I tend to hang out in the spot until they fly off.

He eventually flew to another shrub nearby. He was starting to relax.

A few more minutes passed and he then flew well off and out of sight.

I don't know if you see what I see in the photos and my attempt to describe what was happening. Maybe you just have to be there? And maybe this was just my attempt at putting out a blog again? I really do have some sort of writer's block going on. The pandemic and everything that goes with it certainly is a factor. The wild ones around me sure do help me though; more than what some people will ever understand. I could never imagine a world without wildlife.

Being a volunteer at Toronto Wildlife is something that I am very proud of. I do wish I had more time to spare than what I do. One day...

April 27, 2020

Look Who's Back!

I had quite the surprise on Sunday afternoon. I was in the backyard and in flew a male Hairy Woodpecker. He was in our lilac tree and looking at me like he knew me. You know, just looking at me rather intently, head bobbing up and down. Instantly I thought is that you Harry? We call all the male Hairy Woodpeckers "Harry" but last summer we had a unique one some of you might recall. We had a hand feeding Hairy Woodpecker.

Luckily I had some shelled peanuts in my pocket. I pulled them out and extended my hand to the bird. There was no hesitation, he went right for them.

How cool is that?

Harry disappeared early in the autumn season like what happens every year for us and having this species of woodpecker for the most part. We may get random visits through the winter but nothing frequent and he wasn't coming around. I suspect they go off to the nearby woodlot, Lambton Woods. It's also known to some as Woodpecker Woods. Really I don't know but that makes sense to me.

I'm thrilled he is back. He showed up again this morning.

It's this kind of stuff that makes our backyard a very special place. It also makes it a lot easier to stay home like health officials plead all of us to do.

Hopefully Harry shows up with his kids again this summer. They are fun to watch.

Stay tuned.

April 25, 2020

Robin Kinda Day

While practicing physical distancing as much as possible, I can still volunteer with Toronto Wildlife when the need arises and my schedule is open. Today was one of those times. It was a simple task, pick up a successfully rehabbed American Robin and drive it back to the area where it was found. Funny is it was in one of my old, on occasion, stomping grounds back in high school. Some of my friends lived up in this part of Rexdale. Seeing the old buildings, recognizing some of the side streets and even passing my old high school on the way home was good for a few memories.

The Robin was certainly happy to be free. He burst out of the box when I had barely gotten the top opened.

I get home and spot a robin on our front lawn. As I got out of the car, a robin flies out of one of our hedges at the front of the house. Hmmmm? I suspected a few weeks back that they were looking to build a nest in this hedge. Then at one point I thought they changed their mind(s) and moved to a neighbour's tree across the street. I even looked for a nest a couple times but never saw one. Now, seeing the female jet out of the hedge today, I figured it was time for another look.

I'm unsure the actual species of bush it is but it is a conifer and tightly grown if that makes sense. The branches are firm and close together but there are some openings and the robins chose one to build within. They have a good canopy of foliage above to shelter them from the elements. It's well camouflaged. It's about 5 feet above ground. I'd like to think the nest is quite safe where it is. My only issue is that it is right along the side with our walkway to the front door. I know in the coming weeks, especially after work, I will be entering the house from the back door so as to not disturb them.

Here is an over the nest photo I took with my phone. This is the only way to see what is going on.

I will be sure to update in the coming weeks on how things are going. Let's wish them well.