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By Olivia Carvalho, Urban Program Lead, Birds Canada

With migratory birds journeying north and nesting well underway, the 2022 Toronto Bird Celebration has come to a close for another year. This year’s theme was “The Great Return”. As the first Celebration with in-person activities since 2019, this year saw many new birders of all ages flocking to events throughout the GTA. 

The 2022 Toronto Bird Celebration included more than 40 events! Our Celebration began with the Dawn Chorus, where 65 people – 30 of whom were new to birding – made their way to High Park to experience the early morning calls of spring. Feminist Bird Club, City of Brampton, Rouge Valley Conservation Centre, Black Canadian Hikers, and Toronto Botanical Gardens provided opportunities to learn more about the birds of Toronto, where to see them, and how to protect them. 

 

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Focus on Female Birds Walk at Humber Bay with Feminist Bird Club, Toronto Chapter Photo:  Olivia Carvalho
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Weekend at Royal Ontario Museum with Shadowland Theatre Photo: Olivia Carvalho

During the Celebration, there was no shortage of chances to catch migratory birds in action! Mark Peck led the series “Lunch with Birds in Queen’s Park,” seeing more than 40 species on the best day of the week and attracting new and experienced birders alike; Justin Peter held the first ever “Urban Big Sit” in Woodbine Park; Toronto Ornithological Club hosted “Whimbrel Watch” at Colonel Samuel Smith Park; Toronto Field Naturalists took Junior Naturalists to the banding station at Tommy Thompson Park; Downsview Park invited participants to learn about Killdeer while visiting a nest on site; and Toronto Island SUP led “Paddlebirding” adventures around Ward’s Island. At Moss Park, Birds Canada’s own Natasha Barlow educated participants about Chimney Swifts and aerial insectivore conservation, and over 600 people attended the Spring Bird Festival in Etobicoke.

Events this year also reached participants beyond the GTA through the magic of the internet. Aranya Iyer invited attendees to consider closeness and connection in her online lecture “Birding and Loneliness”. And Gurdeep Pandher of the Yukon danced us into the peak of migration season, teaching an online Bhangra lesson to 200 people from across Canada and as far away as Scotland and Colombia! The Celebirdy Contest brought people together to share sightings in the region on social media, and four lucky winners took home prizes from Fjallraven, Firefly Books, and Passerina Bird Connection! A special thank-you to the talented team at That’s A Good Story for bringing the Celebirdies to life. 

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Online Bhangra dance lesson with Gurdeep Pandher
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Swift Night Out led by Natasha Barlow from Birds Canada Photo: Olivia Carvalho

The Celebration would not be possible without the incredible support of Armstrong Bird Food, Pattison Outdoor, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Kowa, Toronto Ornithological Club, and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Thank you to the Roberta Bondar Foundation, Alex Miller, Joe Pitawanakwat, and Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton for joining us as Celebration Ambassadors and championing the conservation of wild birds across Canada. The team at Birds Canada is grateful to the Toronto Bird Celebration Steering Committee, whose support and advice keeps the Celebration on track, and tuned us into the voices of the GTA throughout our planning season. 

It is with deep enthusiasm that we thank each and every person who attended, “Zoomed” in, watched, and experienced the Toronto Bird Celebration in some capacity – you brought community, joy and happiness to urban birding this spring. It was indeed a great return!

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Chimney Swifts Photo: Olivia Carvalho
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