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Winged Wonders of Ontario: Unveiling the Beauty & Behaviors of 10 Common Birds

You can observe beautiful birds in Ontario, Canada. Their melodic songs and aesthetic appearance will bewitch you. Some common birds in Ontario include the Blue Jay, the American Robin, the Northern Cardinal, the Downy Woodpecker, the Canada Goose, the Common Loon, and others.

10 Most Common Birds in Ontario –

1. The Blue Jay

The blue jay is a beautiful bird with a white underbelly, blue feathers on its wings, back, and tail, a distinctive blue crest, a black collar, and a black beak.

Blue jays are very intelligent and resourceful; they often hide nuts for later consumption.

They are well known for being extremely talkative birds, using various calls and sounds to communicate. Blue jays are common birds in southern Ontario.

1.1. Favorite Food:

Blue jays eat various foods, including nuts, acorns, seeds, and sometimes insects.

1.2. Interesting Facts:

  • The average lifespan of a blue jay is around seven years, although they can live for 17 to 26 years in captivity.
  • Its clutch normally contains 3–5 eggs, which are then incubated for 2–3 weeks.

1.3. How to Attract:

  • Attract blue jays from the tree branches by hanging gleaming objects like ornaments and foil wrapping paper.
  • You can also keep bird baths and bird feeders in your yard. They enjoy clean and shiny things.

2. The American Robin

The American robin has red breasts, a white belly, and a darkish head with a white throat, chin, and black tail.

It is also well known as the songbird. These birds are known for singing early in the day.

They mostly eat earthworms, beetles, and caterpillars. But in winter, they eat fruits and berries.

The American Robin
Photo by Skyler Ewing / Pexels

2.1. Favorite Food:

Different robins may prefer other foods, but common foods that blue American robins may enjoy include insects, earthworms, berries, and fruits.

2.2. Interesting Facts:

  • The American robin is the official bird of Michigan.
  • It belongs to the thrush family and is related to the bluebird. The American robin is a member of the thrush family and is closely related to the bluebird, hermit thrush, and wood thrush.
  • It was once known as the Robin Redbreast.

2.3. How to Attract:

Some good methods to attract American robins include placing a bird feeder in your yard and creating a bird-friendly environment by planting native plants and trees such as dogwoods, elderberries, hawthorns, hollies, and serviceberries.

3. The Black-capped Chickadee

This cute bird is loved for its cheerful “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” melody. It has a black bib and cap and white cheeks. Their back and wings are dark greys, and their belly is white.

Black-capped chickadees are small, are common in Ontario, and are mostly seen in backyards in southern Ontario.

The black-capped chickadees are well-known for their bravery. They can stand up to larger birds like jays and crows to protect their territory.

They are also known for their smartness; they use their beaks to peck at food and their feet to hold on to branches.

8 Black-capped Chickadee Calls EXPLAINED

3.1. Favorite Food:

The black-capped chickadees consume a wide range of foods because they are versatile feeders.

They also consume other invertebrates like insects. However, they enjoy sunflower seeds.

3.2. Interesting Facts:

  • The black-capped chickadees are not migratory birds but will move to lower elevations in winter in search of food. It is a friendly bird that enjoys a flock of 10 to 15 birds.
  • These birds are renowned for their wit and capacity for solving challenging issues. In the wild, the lifetime of black-capped chickadees can reach nine years.

3.3. How to Attract:

  • You can attract these friendly birds by providing them with food. Thus, a bird feeder filled with sunflower seeds will undoubtedly draw many of them to your yard.
  • Chickadees are attracted to areas where there are mostly insects. By providing dead trees or dense shrubs to nest in, you also provide them with a safe place to find food.

4. The Downy Woodpecker

The house sparrow-sized downy woodpecker is the tiniest in North America. It features a black and white body and black wings with white lines. It has a black tail with a white ring at the end.

It is well-known for its boisterous and unusual calls, frequently audible in wooded regions.

Downy woodpeckers in Ontario are the most prevalent bird species and are not considered to be in danger of going extinct. It can be found in parks, forests, and the margins of woodlands.

The Downy Woodpecker
Photo by Karen F / Pexels

4.1. Favorite Food:

It primarily consumes spiders, insects, and other tiny animals for food.

4.2. Interesting Facts:

  • The downy woodpecker is a social species and often forms small flocks outside the breeding season.
  • It has two white stripes on its skull. One stretch to the eye and the other to the bill.
  • It is a primary predator of the destructive emerald ash borer.

4.3. How to Attract:

  • Offer a small pond or water feature in your yard, as downy woodpeckers enjoy bathing and drinking.
  • Place a log or wood in your yard for the hairy woodpecker to use as a perch or nesting site.
  • You can create a brush pile in your yard for the downy woodpecker to use for shelter or nesting.
  • Additionally, you can put sugar water in the hummingbird feeders to draw them.

5. Mourning Dove

If you’ve ever had the good fortune to hear one, you can appreciate how unique the mourning dove is from other birds. Its coo is unlike any different sound, and it can immediately elicit feelings of tranquillity.

One of the most sought-after birds to hunt is the mourning dove. If you don’t know how to hunt, just appreciate this bird’s beauty.

5.1. Favorite Food:

Sunflower seeds and cracked corn are favorites of mourning doves, but they will also eat insects.

5.2. Interesting Facts:

  • The mourning doves are a few bird species that can drink by sucking up water through their beaks.
  • In exceptional cases, they have a maximum lifespan of over 30 years, but the average lifespan is around 1-5 years.

5.3. How to Attract:

  • One of the best ways to draw mourning doves is to provide a water supply. Setting a small birdbath or even a water dish on the ground is sufficient.
  • A small amount of seed for the doves to consume would also be appreciated. Put some seeds in a feeder low to the ground or scatter them throughout the land.
  • Giving these lovely birds a place to nest is another method to draw them in. The doves will have a spot to build their nest in a tree or pole if a tiny platform or nest box is placed there.

6. The Northern Cardinal

The northern cardinal is a stunning bird inhabiting various regions of North America. The female cardinal is more reddish-brown than the male, blazing red.

Northern Cardinals are territorial during the breeding season and do not form cohesive winter flocks. While they are socially monogamous, extra-pair fertilizations occur, and the degree of sociality varies with the season.

A black mask covers the eyes of both sexes. There are not many birds more recognizable than the northern cardinal. With their vibrant red feathers, they are easily identifibable.

Photo by Brian Forsyth / Pexels

6.1. Favorite Food:

Although the northern cardinal is known to eat a range of foods, sunflower seeds are undoubtedly one of its favorites.

6.2. Interesting Facts:

  • Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia all have the northern cardinal as their official state bird. They are among the most common backyard birds.
  • Northern cardinals’ male and female appearances differ due to sexual dimorphism. You can find them in forests, marshes, and also in cities. Northern Cardinals are super adaptable.

6.3. How to Attract:

  • Be sure to have enough trees and shrubs for nesting.
  • Cardinals eat sunflower seeds as a favorite snack. So, place a bird feeder outside and fill it with these sunflower seeds.

7. American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch has a yellow body, black wings, and a white tail. It is small, like a sparrow. These are North American birds.

The female has a brown head, and the man has a black one. These are common backyard birds in Ontario. They frequently appear in big groups and feed on thistle seeds. These happy little birds have a cheery song that is delightful to hear.

The American goldfinch is an extremely active bird frequently spotted soaring or hopping around. It has excellent flying abilities and frequently forms formations. It is a common bird and often appears in groups.

They inhabit open forests, farms, and gardens all over North America. Because they are gregarious creatures, goldfinches frequently move in groups. These common birds are well recognized for their upbeat songs, which they often perform while flying.

American Goldfinch
Photo by Aaron J Hill / Pexels

7.1. Favorite Food:

Goldfinches will eat a variety of little creatures and insects. But they are seed eaters and are especially fond of thistle seeds. Some favorite foods of American goldfinches include thistle seeds, sunflower seeds, and various berries.

7.2. Interesting Facts:

  • The American goldfinch can alter the color of its plumage. The males’ golden color will become more vibrant during the breeding season.
  • The American goldfinch is the state bird of New Jersey and Iowa.

7.3. How to Attract:

  • Grow local plants and flowers. By growing native plants and flowers, which goldfinches adore eating, you’ll be giving them a natural food source.
  • Set bird feeders outside, especially those offering thistle or nyjer seed, are particularly attractive to the goldfinches.
  • Give out water. Goldfinches require a place to drink and frequently bathe, so a small birdbath or another water source will provide that. Use a feeder with yellow accents to attract goldfinches drawn to yellow.

8. Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker is larger, comparable to an American Robin, and is common throughout Ontario.

The adult Hairy Woodpecker is black with white markings on its back and wings and a white belly. The male Hairy Woodpecker has a red patch on its head, and the female does not.

Hairy woodpeckers are one of the most interesting and unique from other birds. Their great size, distinctive red crest, and habit of pecking at the trees of these birds make them well-known—red crest.

Hairy woodpeckers are typically aggressive. However, they are quite timid toward people. These birds don’t enjoy human interactions; they take off when you get close.

8.1. Favorite Food:

Hairy woodpeckers tend to favor insects and other tiny creatures despite eating various foods.

8.2. Interesting Facts:

  • The hairy woodpecker is a primary woodpecker, which means it digs holes in trees to build nests. Other animal species, including bats, owls, and squirrels, use these nesting cavities afterward.
  • These birds are also well-known for their loud, peculiar call-like “laughing” sound.

8.3. How to Attract:

  • Trees with numerous deep cracks and insects are attracted to hairy woodpeckers. If you want to draw them to your yard, consider hanging a suet bird feeder or a birdhouse made especially for woodpeckers.
  • Plant hairy woodpecker’s favorite trees and shrubs like maples, birches, and willows.
  • You might also try erecting a dead tree or stump to give the birds a decent site to nest and forage.

9. The Common Loon

The loon of northern Ontario is your best bet for a great birding experience. These creatures are superb; you must experience their haunting calls to believe them.

The northernmost parts of Ontario are the greatest places to see them. They fly overhead for food and breeding on lakes and rivers.

Northern Ontario is home to the common loon, a stunning bird with a long black and white neck and a sharp beak. You will be in awe of these birds’ beauty – a charming creation of nature.

The Common Loon
Photo by detillybert / Pixabay

9.1. Favorite Food:

The common loon’s favorite food is fish. But it will also eat insects and small mammals.

9.2. Interesting Facts:

  • The common loon can dive to depths of more than 60 meters and is a skilled diver.
  • It is a particularly well-liked bird, frequently appearing on Canadian coins and postage in Ontario. It is Minnesota’s official state bird.
  • It is most active at night when it can be heard calling out its distinctive “loon” call.

9.3. How to Attract:

  • The best technique to draw common loons is to create an environment that suits their requirements. This comprises a sizable body of water, abundant fish, and a secure location to build their nests and rear their young.
  • You can play a recording of loon calls near a body of water where they are known to live and put a decoy loon on the water.

10. The Pileated Woodpecker

This fascinating bird is one of North America’s largest woodpeckers. You are up for an amazing performance if you are lucky to observe these shy birds.

Large size and a prominent red crest make pileated woodpeckers the easiest to identify. They are black with white lines on the back and have a white belly. They are renowned for their piercing, powerful call as well.

The pileated woodpecker
Photo by MiniMe-70 / Pixabay

10.1. Favorite Food:

The diet of the pileated woodpecker typically consists of insects, fruits, and nuts. Its favorite food is ants.

10.2. Interesting Facts:

  • The pileated woodpecker has been featured in many works of popular culture.
  • It is one of North America’s majestic woodpeckers.
  • It is one of the largest members of the clan of woodpeckers in North America, second to the likely extinct ivory-billed woodpecker.

10.3. How to Attract:

Dead trees help attract Pileated Woodpeckers because that’s where they search for food.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do the birds of Ontario adapt to the changing seasons?

The birds in Ontario migrate to the south in the winter and north in the summer to adapt to the changing seasons. They also change their diet to match the availability of food. They eat more seeds and berries in the winter but more insects in the summer.

2. What birds stay in Ontario all winter?

Birds like Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Crows, Pigeons, Doves, and Sparrows stay in Ontario all the winter. These birds can withstand the cold weather and find enough food to stay alive until spring.

3. What bird is the largest in Ontario?

The Trumpeter Swan is the largest bird found in Ontario. It is a large white bird with a long neck and a black bill. It can be found all over the province’s northern areas.

4. Which bird in Ontario is the rarest?

The Kirtland’s warbler is the one that sticks out the most among the several contenders for the title of rarest bird in Ontario. It is a special experience to see one! Only a few little areas of the province have this tiny bird, and its population is in decline.

5. What is the smartest bird in Canada?

The Common Raven is Canada’s most intelligent bird. Ravens are famous for their smartness and bravery. They have been observed utilizing tools and are among the few creatures who can acknowledge themselves in a mirror.

End Note

There are numerous bird varieties, and each has distinctive special qualities. Some birds are small and delicate, and some are large and powerful. Some birds can fly, while others cannot.  In short, there are numerous types of birds that you can observe.

There is always something unique about viewing a bird in its natural home, regardless of the season. So look for any of these feathered buddies if you’re ever in northern Ontario.

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