May 24, 2018: Exit Overwintering Cooper’s Hawk; Enter Frogs and Spring Birding.

May 24, 2018: Exit Overwintering Cooper’s Hawk;
Enter Frogs and Spring Birding.

By Robert Alvo.

Early in this series, I discussed my own path for connecting to nature, which started with shooting birds and recently ended up with the “Being A Bird in North America” approach, a unique combination of science and humour.

Now we’re well into spring, and it’s time to get outside! As I write (May 1), three frog species are singing their distinct songs in various parts of Ottawa: Spring Peeper, Wood Frog, and Western Chorus Frog.

As you read, however, in late May, those three species will have stopped singing (Wood Frogs go for only 10 days in their explosive breeding season) and will have been replaced by American Toads, Leopard Frogs, and perhaps the high-climbing bubbling-sounding Gray Treefrog.

In the meantime, spring migration has begun. The numbers of warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and other “dicky” birds will have peaked on their way northward in the second week in May.

If I had to name the best place in Ottawa to bird that is reachable by public transit (Bus #16), it’s Mud Lake in the Britannia Conservation Area in the west end.

Finding good birding areas in Ottawa is easy via the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club which offers many outings, monthly meetings with presentations, and a newly redesigned website with more birdy information for the Ottawa area; also, there is .

For birding spots across the river, check le Club des Ornithologues de l’Outaouais (COO), at, which published a small book called, “Guide to Birdwatching Sites of the Outaouais” in French AND in English. That book contains a histogram showing the probability of seeing that species in each week of the year. Kudos to that club. I saw copies of the book being sold at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre.

Next time we’ll look at how the frogs and birds are doing in June and continue with some surprise topics.

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