Saturday, May 16, 2009

Backyard Mystery

Spent most of the day in the garden, getting my hands dirty, digging holes and moving plants around. It was raining off and on but I didn't mind, it saved me the trouble of bringing out the hose for translplanting.

At one point a flock of about 30-50 very small birds came by. It was just after a strong downpour and the rain was still falling gently. The birds were darting and flitting about. I've never seen anything quite like them.... small, about 2" - 3", eating bugs from the underside of leaves. They were about the size of this red-breasted nuthatch. The males had red and yellow on the wing and the females were mostly grey with a bit of black. The song was quite musical. I've been hunting all over to see what might be migrating but haven't had any luck. They were absolutely gorgeous! I stood in the rain for about half an hour, looking up and trying to spot them in the branches. Rob and Alex popped their heads out for a bit and the three of us enjoyed the view together. The tiny birds were hard to see since they didn't stay stationary for very long, so we didn't even try to get a photo. Busy birds. When the rain stopped they flew off en masse.

I searched through some field guides and bird sites but no luck. Maybe it was an irruption from the boreal again?

Found some great birding sites - even if they weren't able to help me identify this particular flock. takes you through the steps of identification (location size, primary/secondary colour/ bird call). This was a fun site and you are able to download software to your BlackBerry or handheld.

Then I thought I would check local sightings and found Outdoor Ontario Toronto Reports but didn't see any news about flocks passing through.

Oh well. I may not ever know the name for the type of birds I saw but they were amazing and I was so happy they stopped by - even briefly!

1 comment:

The Clever Pup said...

Weird eh?

Sometimes over in the west-end we get a smorgasbord of birds at once. Flickers, starlings, sparrows, robins,cardinals and then poof they're all gone. Two falls ago I had 100 monarch butterflies at one time on my Japanese Knotweed (that awful bamboo stuff)Lasted for 2 days. Then never again unfortunately.