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4 April 2022

Ways To Experience Ontario’s Spring Bird Migration

Barn Swallow, Rondeau Provincial Park. Photo by Pilar Manorome/Ontario Parks

The chirping of birds is often the first sign that spring is on its way! Spring and fall migration seasons are some of the best times for birdwatching in Ontario.

Last fall, we wrote about some amazing spots for birdwatching in Ontario’s Southwest so check out that post if you are looking for places to head out on your own or with a group.

For such tiny creatures, migrating birds sure do travel a lot! It is fascinating to see these birds start to show up to enjoy Ontario’s summer and then leave again as winter sets in.

Don’t miss your chance to spot these little travellers as they welcome the start of warmth in our province. Here are a few ideas on how to experience the Spring Bird Migration from April through to June.

Rondeau, Emeleg/Ontario Parks

Take a Hike

Hiking through Ontario’s many southern parks is a fantastic way to spot birds of all varieties as they make their way through the area during spring. The best parks to head to in early spring for birdwatching are those along Lake Erie that have sandbars that jut out into the lake — a welcome landing spot for birds crossing the Great Lakes. From west to east, you can try: Point Pelee National Park, Rondeau Provincial Park and Long Point Provincial Park. Be sure to check operating times before heading out. For more hiking ideas, check out the birdwatching trails guide for Southwestern Ontario.

Treat yourself to an overnight stay in beautiful Tillsonburg and enjoy a guided hike through the Long Point World Biosphere to spot migrating birds and experience the magic of Canada’s most biodiverse ecosystem.

Lake Erie. Photo by Caitlin Sparks/Ontario Parks

Combine Culture & Nature

If you’re looking to combine birdwatching with other cultural activities, we recommend a stay in Chatham. This southwestern Ontario town is a perfect jumping off point for adventures in Point Pelee or Rondeau but also has access to great restaurants and shops.

Our 3-Day exclusive Retro Getaway combines two nights at the boutique Retro Suites Hotel with a 3-hour authentic Ojibway cultural experience. That leaves plenty of time to discover the beautiful boardwalks and shorelines of Canada’s southernmost tip. This is a great family getaway!

Point Pelee

Party with Other BirdWatchers

Spring migration festivals are a fun and festive way to get outside and look for birds with other likeminded individuals and experts. Although most festivals had been put on hold over the last two years, some are returning for the 2022 season! The popular Point Pelee National Park Festival of Birds is on from April 30 until May 23 and offers daily birding hikes — both in the mornings at at twilight —  as well as daily presentations at the Visitors Centre Theatre on a variety of bird-related topics. Click here for more information and to pre-register (which is required).

Point Pelee is also hosting the 100 Species Challenge, which asks visitors to spot 100 species of birds during their visit to earn an exclusive pin featuring the Least Bittern.

Another fun festival to check out is the Huron Fringe Birding Festival, which runs from May 27-30 and June 2-5. You may register starting on April 15 at 6 am. Click here for more information on this festival that runs out of MacGregor Point Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Huron.