High Park’s Red-Tailed Hawks and Song Birds

January 24, 2015

Our morning started with breakfast at High Park’s Grenadier Cafe. Afterwards we visited the Bird Sanctuary, returned to the restaurant to warm ourselves then commenced our exploration of the Grenadier Pond area. En route a golden-crowned kinglet caught our attention.

Golden-Crowned Kinglet at High Park in Toronto, On

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

This day, the stars of the show were two red-tailed hawks. The first was encountered in a tree along a very busy path. The bird perched on the branch with not a care in the world. In fact, but for the hedge below the branch it would have allowed us to stand right under it.

Red-Tailed Hawk eats squirrel at High Park in Toronto, On

Red-Tailed Hawk

We found this most curious. We watched the bird for about 15 minutes. Once it stood we assumed it would take flight.

Red-Tailed Hawk eating squirrel at High Park in Toronto, On

Red-Tailed Hawk prior to the big reveal

We were wrong. All along it had a squirrel in its claws.

Red-Tailed Hawk consuming squirrel at High Park in Toronto, On

Red-Tailed Hawk consuming squirrel

Numerous pedestrians, joggers, and two groups of University of Toronto students stopped to watch as it consumed a squirrel. The hawk was oblivious to all. The U of T professor advised his students that squirrels were the prey of choice, particularly in the winter months.

We still don’t know what to think of this squirrel.  It was on a branch adjacent to the hawk watching as it consumed its catch.

Grey Squirrel watches as hawk consumes another squirrel at High Park in Toronto, On

Squirrel watches in horror

As we left the park we were treated to an excellent view of a second red-tailed hawk near the roadway.

Red-tailed Hawk on branch at High Park in Toronto, On

Red-tailed Hawk

February 14, 2015

The first bird of the day was a northern mockingbird atop the hedge of a lawn at Lakeshore Drive and Twelfth Street, in Etobicoke.

Northern Mockingbird at 12th street and Lakeshore Drive in Toronto, On

Northern Mockingbird

I headed to High Park to do a bit more exploration. The first stop was the zoo.

Reindeer at High Park Zoo in Toronto, On

Reindeer

Llamas at High Park Zoo in Toronto, On

Llamas

I thought kinglets were difficult to photograph. This emu was more of a challenge. You know the kind of challenge where you attempt to telegraph your thoughts to the bird – “Buddy, please stay still for 30 seconds!” And if that doesn’t work I pull the pity card, “Do you know how far I’ve travelled to see you?” I fought hard for and was surprised I even got this photograph!

Emu at High Park Zoo in Toronto, On

Emu

I missed photographing two coyotes on the hill behind the bison cage.

Next was a check on the bird sanctuary. All five evening grosbeaks appeared.

Male evening grosbeak at feeder at High Park in Toronto, On

Male evening grosbeak at feeder

Male evening grosbeak at bird sanctuary at High Park in Toronto, On

Male evening grosbeak at bird sanctuary

The presence of a female red-bellied woodpecker was equally delightful.

Female red-bellied woodpecker at High Park in Toronto, On

Female red-bellied woodpecker

Of course, I had to photograph a red-breasted nuthatch.

Red-breasted nuthatch at feeder at High Park in Toronto, On

Red-breasted nuthatch

After breakfast, a visit to the Grenadier Pond area was in order. I didn’t see any hawks but got marvy looks at northern cardinals, dark-eyed juncos, a male red-bellied woodpecker, a song sparrow, a downy woodpecker, a black-capped chickadee, and a white-throated sparrow courtesy of a kind soul’s gift to the birds.

Male Northern Cardinal rests at High Park in Toronto, On

Male Northern Cardinal

Male Northern Cardinal at High Park in Toronto, On

Such a flirt!

Female Northern Cardinal at High Park in Toronto, On

Female Northern Cardinal

Brown Dark-eyed junco on branch at High Park in Toronto, On

Dark-eyed junco

Dark-eyed Junco on branch at High Park in Toronto, On

Dark-eyed Junco

Male red-bellied woodpecker at High Park in Toronto, On

Male red-bellied woodpecker

Song Sparrow at High Park in Toronto, On

Song Sparrow

Downy woodpecker at High Park in Toronto, On

Downy woodpecker

Black-capped Chickadee at High Park in Toronto, On

Black-capped Chickadee

White-throated Sparrow at High Park in Toronto, On

White-throated Sparrow

And finally, there was a coin toss. Heads dictated a trip to Romni Wools, my favourite yarn store on Queen Street West. Tails was a visit to Humber Bay. Heads won! The yarn store was hopping. I headed home with 8 balls of yarn! Woo hoo!

So, a little bit of this plus a little bit of that made for a rocking awesome day out and added more yarn to my stash!

Here are some short videos from our first visit.







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