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Toronto’s Best-Kept Bird Watching Secrets

The green spaces of downtown Toronto are atwitter with a thriving population of feathered friends—if you know where to look for them.

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Bird watching in TorontoPhoto: Scott Reeve

Bird Watching in the City

Through curiosity and exploration of Toronto’s 1,500 parks, I discovered a vast variety of bird species. Many can be found right in the heart of the downtown core. Some common varieties such as the Canada goose, mallard duck and rock pigeon can be found right alongside hooded mergansers, black-crowned night herons and snowy owls.

Many bird species call Toronto’s parks home year round, while others such as the snowy owl and snow goose use these and many of the wooded areas as a rest or stop-over on their way to more southerly destinations.

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Orange and red birdPhoto: Scott Reeve

Where to Bird Watch in Toronto

I am constantly amazed at the variety of feathered aviators available in Toronto’s green spaces, such as the Evergreen Brick Works, Humber Bay Park and Tommy Thompson Park. Within ten minutes of arriving at these locations, I usually encounter eight to ten different species and those are just the ones that I have come to readily identify. All these spots are within Toronto’s city limits and are easily accessible by the city’s transit system. There is plenty of parking for personal vehicles, many bike trails and, in one instance, a free shuttle bus that will pick you up and drop you off at one of the downtown subway stops.

While the species may vary somewhat from location to location, and it depends on the time of year, the enjoyment of observing and photographing a variety of birds is always present. With each excursion, it seems I find new species as well as enjoy the inhabitants that I have come to recognize. I always arrive open to discovering something new—I never know what I might encounter next. The diversity of the bird population is similar to that of the cultural diversification that the city itself experiences.

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Originally Published in Our Canada