High Park Bird Sanctuary, Toronto

We had a marvy time at the bird sanctuary last Saturday.  The creation and maintenance of feeders and birdhouses (someone estimated 50) plus a water station is truly a labour of love.

Ben's Bruno's Wally's & Brenda's Bird Sanctuary at High Park in Toronto, ON

Ben’s Bruno’s Wally’s & Brenda’s Bird Sanctuary

We met Bruno. He’s an absolute gem. He visits every day to top up the feeders and check on the birds.   I asked if he accepted donations. He said no.

Below are some of the species we photographed.  We also saw a red-bellied woodpecker, a brown creeper, house sparrows, mourning doves, downy woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, and a cooper’s hawk.

Female Hairy Woodpecker at High Park in Toronto, ON

Female Hairy Woodpecker

Female-type Evening Grosbeak at High Park in Toronto, ON

Female-type Evening Grosbeak

Common Redpoll eating nyger with American Goldfinch at High Park in Toronto, ON

Common Redpoll

Pine Siskin at High Park in Toronto, ON

Pine Siskin

White-Breasted Nuthatch eating suet at High Park in Toronto, ON

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Male Northern Cardinal eating sunflower seed at High Park in Toronto, ON

Male Northern Cardinal

American Goldfinch on a nyger feeder at High Park in Toronto, ON

American Goldfinch

Female Red-Breasted Nuthatch at High Park in Toronto, ON

Female Red-Breasted Nuthatch

This park bench sign piqued my interest.

Ben The Bird Man Holloway memorial plaque at High Park in Toronto, ON

Ben The Bird Man Holloway memorial plaque

A bit of online research confirmed the sanctuary was created by Ben Holloway.  Sadly, Mr. Holloway passed away on September 4, 2014.  The following was extracted from an online tribute:

“It would be remiss in this message not to mention his passion of later years: his love of wildlife and, in particular, birds. In some ways he was like St. Francis of Assisi who was a lover of birds and animals… There is a legend of St. Francis that tells of when he saw a young boy with caged birds. He convinced the boy to give him the birds and brought them back to the monastery where he built nests for them all and fed them everyday. They were free to fly away but always remained in their sanctuary. Like St. Francis, Uncle Ben created his own sanctuary and for years travelled to High Park to feed his creatures. We are pleased and proud that two summers ago we got to visit Uncle Ben at his sanctuary although we had to share our time with the birds, squirrels and chipmunks! St. Francis also left the crowds to talk to his “little sisters, the birds.” Uncle Ben regularly left the hustle and bustle of the city for the quietude of his sanctuary and to talk to his feathered friends.”

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