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You may be wondering why an article about wildlife has the title “Lifer”. It has nothing to do with prison but rather refers to seeing a bird species for the first time. Birders are always keen to find a bird they haven’t seen or photographed before. Sometimes they will go great distances to achieve this. 

This past summer when I was in Europe almost every bird, I saw was a lifer. Closer to home I recently have seen several birds that are new to me. 

I had to do a bit of a road trip to find the Tufted Titmouse. It is a cute, quick little bird that is like a chickadee.  I found out that this bird could be found near Cambridge, so I packed up my gear and headed out to try and get a picture.   Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t very cooperative but despite the rain I managed to get a few photos of this adorable bird. The Tufted Titmouse hasn’t been a common bird to find here, but the range seems to be expanding. They are happy to feed at bird feeders and where I saw them, they were eating seeds left on railings along a trail. Like the chickadee they build their nest in a cavity. They do not travel in flocks, and you will usually find a pair of them or a small family. I’m hoping that the range will continue to expand and one day I’ll have them at my feeders in Caledon. 

Recently I also travelled to Algonquin Park. The Red Crossbills and the White -winged Crossbills were being seen in largenumbers. I wasn’t disappointed, I saw males and females of both species. It was snowing and the light wasn’t great but with persistence I managed to get some pictures of the Red Crossbills. I did see the White-winged variety, but they stayed high up in the trees so another time maybe I’ll get a good image of one. The Crossbills are finches, and they have an interestingbeak. They eat the seeds from Pine, Hemlock, Spruce and Douglas fir. The crossing of their bill allows them to get the seeds out of the cones. Here is a pair of Red Crossbills.

Closer to home in Caledon I heard there was Ross’s Goose. I went in search of this black and white goose and found it among a lot of Canada Geese in a neighbourhood pond. It looks very similar to a Snow Goose, but it is smaller and has a shorter bill and neck. It is not a common goose in this area, and it spends summers in the Arctic. It was challenging to get a picture of it without a Canada Goose in the way. 

It was a good start to the year to add three new birds to my lifer list and hopefully as the year continues, I’ll find many more.

Note: If you are interested in purchasing any of Marilyn’s photography you will find her contact info on the right sidebar.

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