A list of 128 bird species, observed in the area of interest from June 1998 to the present. This table lists bird species seen in Seymour township, 1998-2019. It includes all parts of the township, although the majority of sightings were made in the streets, parks and gardens of the town of Campbellford, in adjacent Ferris provincial park (east of the Trent river) and in the Trout Creek drainage immediately west of the town. Town location: 77°48'W, 44°17'N. The list is currently being upgraded to indicate sightings in Ferris Provincial Park (1998-2016), a work still in progress. The sightings in the Crowe Bridge Conservation Area will also be marked here, so watch for the F and C flags in the "list" column.

Canada geese [61 kb]

Geographical Setting

Seymour township includes Campbellford town and a Z-shaped reach of the Trent river, over 30 km long, winding through rolling hills and ridges of glacial deposits. It incorporates:

The township boundaries run about 16° west of north and north of east, and the township is elongated along the N.N.W. axis, 19x16 km in size, total area roughly 304 km2. The south boundary runs along the Percy Reach of the river Trent, and includes a 2.4-km hiking trail between Percy Reach and Meyer's Lock (Locks 8 and 9). South of the Reach, in Brighton and Murray townships, is the 48.5 km2 Murray Marsh, the largest undisturbed area of marsh and swamp forest in southern Ontario. For the record, Seymour and Percy townships are now amalgamated in a larger municipal unit known as Trent Hills, area 511 km2. Politically, the area forms the northeast corner of the wedge-shaped Northumberland-Quinte West federal riding, a sprawling area of 2,652 km2 with 93,293 registered voters (October 2008).

The Bird List

The list currently includes 128 species. The true total of species which live, breed or fly over the region each year is quite probably 200-250 or more, and it is likely that expert "birders" ("twitchers" in the U.K.) might find 100 species in the township on a single well-chosen day. The original bird observations summarized here are associated with notes on other aspects of natural history, such as local animals, trees, plants and fungi. Fresh topics may be profiled here as more information becomes available. Note that other species of birds, animals and vegetation certainly occur here we have yet to observe them personally (e.g., bald eagle; snowy owl; purple finch (seen, Feb. 2016!); wood duck; black bear; and fisher, all seen by others in Seymour township in 2002-2008). We have also seen other birds both east and west of Seymour but not yet in the township, for example the bobolink. The discrepancy in sightings is explained by several factors, such as a) sporadic observations, b) incomplete geographic or seasonal coverage of key areas of the township, particularly for some woodland species and water birds, and c) insufficient expertise in bird identification, particularly bird calls.

In late 2016, Canadian Geographic magazine announced that its preferred candidate for a Canadian National Bird was the grey jay. While the blue jay is well-known to almost everyone in southern Ontario, the grey jay has a wider distribution than its brash and noisy cousin, especially towards the north and west of Ontario. The grey jay occurs in at least part of every Canadian province and territory, and is at home foraging in the boreal forest, and across the Canadian shield. To date, I have not seen a grey jay in Seymour township. Since 1998, I have enjoyed seeing these smart and inquisitive birds on a dozen or more occasions to the north of Thunder Bay, on field trips to that region in 2006-2013, between October and April, and generally in the depths of winter. Closer to Campbellford, I recorded seeing 3 individuals at Petroglyphs park in Peterborough county on 01 September 2006, and two pairs in the same fine park, north of Upper Stony Lake, on 30 September 2000. The grey jay is also known as the Canada jay or whiskey-jack (gray jay, Perisoreus canadensis, geai gris, mésangeai du Canada).

Some of the information has been compiled for 63 of the 128 listed species, for anything from five to twenty complete calendar years from January 1999 to (at the maximum) December 2018, actually from mid-1998 to early 2019. Two histograms for the blue jay appear below, to illustrate the ongoing gathering of data on each species. An even better example can be found in the pages on the slate-coloured junco.

You may access each entry by clicking on the underlined bird names in the table below. NOTE that the histograms record the number of days on which a particular species has been recorded in each month during the observation period, and not the number of individual birds seen! The list reflects the birds likely to be encountered on local dog walks and other casual outings: a focused birding expedition would probably detect other species.

The latest compilations, updated to dates between 2011 and 2018, started with the waxwings, hairy woodpecker and white-breasted nuthatch and feature 39 species. These are in an updated presentation with the html text file linked to a spreadsheet file in .pdf format (the free Adobe Reader will open these), providing a more detailed view of the source data, and the latest histogram of bird occurrence. The data for these 39 species are derived from more than 3,800 observations on specific days over 16-20 years.

blue jay [75 kb] blue jay [109 kb]

Bird Species of Seymour Township, southeast Ontario

Bird Species of Seymour Township
English Latin French Alternative Names List
Common Loon Gavia immer Huart à collier
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus Grèbe cornu
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps Grèbe bec Water-witch, hell-diver
Double-crested Cormorant 1998-2014 Phalacrocorax auritus Cormoran à aigrettes F
Great Blue Heron 1998-2013 Ardea herodias Grand héron
Black-crowned Night-HeronNycticorax nycticorax Bihoreau à couronne noire
Little Blue HeronFlorida caerulea Petit héron bleu
Green-backed Heron Butorides striatus Héron vert Butorides virescens; Green heron
Mute Swan 1998-2013 Cygnus olor Cygne muet Cygne tuberculé
Snow Goose Chen caerulescens Oie des neiges Blue goose; l'oie blanche
Canada Goose Branta canadensis Bernache canadienne F
American Black Duck Anas rubripes Canard noir Black Duck
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Canard colvert Canard malard F
Gadwall Anas strepera Le canard chipeau
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors Sarcelle à ailes bleues
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula Garrot à oeil d'or Garrot commun
Bufflehead 1998-2013 Bucephela albeola Petit garrot
Hooded Merganser 1998-2014 Lophodytes cucullatus Bec-scie couronné
Common Merganser 1998-2014 Mergus merganser Grand bec-scie Bec-scie commun
Red-breasted Merganser 1998-2014 Mergus serrator Bec-scie à poitrine rousse
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Urubu à tête rouge Vautour à tête rouge
Osprey 1999-2008 Pandion haliaetus L'aigle pêcheur Balbuzard F
Northern HarrierCircus cyaneus Busard Saint-Martin Marsh hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus Épervier brun
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii Épervier de Cooper
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus Buse à épaulettes rousses
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Petite buse
Red-tailed Hawk 1999-2013 Buteo jamaicensis Buse à queue rousse
American Kestrel Falco sparverius Crécerelle américaine Sparrow hawk
Merlin Falco columbarius Faucon émerillon Pigeon hawk
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Faucon pèlerin Duck hawk
Ruffed Grouse 1999-2013 Bonasa umbellus Gelinotte huppée
Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo Dindon sauvage
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus Pluvier kildir
Greater Yellowlegs 1998-2014 Tringa melanoleuca Grand chevalier à pattes jaunes Totanus melanoleucus (Gmelin)
Lesser Yellowlegs 1998-2014 Tringa flavipes Petit chevalier à pattes jaunes Totanus flavipes (Gmelin)
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia Chevalier branle-queue Maubèche branle-queue
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla Bécasseau minuscule Erolia minutilla
Common Snipe Capella gallinago Bécassine ordinaire Wilson's snipe
American Woodcock Scolopax minor Bécasse d'Amérique Philohela minor; bécasse américaine
Ring-billed Gull 1998-2013 Larus delawarensis Goéland à bec cerclé F
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia Sterne caspienne Hydroprogne caspia
Feral Pigeon Columba livia Pigeon biset Rock dove; Domestic pigeon F
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura Tourterelle triste
Black-billed Cuckoo 1998-2014 Coccyzus erythropthalmus Coulicou à bec noir
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus Grand-duc d'Amérique
Great Gray Owl Strix nebulosa La Chouette cendreé
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor Engoulevent d'Amérique Engoulevent commun
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica Martinet ramoneur
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1999-2013 Archilochus colubris Colibri à gorge rubis
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon Martin-pêcheur Megaceryle alcyon F
Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus Pic à tête rouge
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus Pic à ventre rouge
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius Pic maculé
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens Pic mineur Dendrocopos pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker 1999-2011 Picoides villosus Pic chevelu Dendrocopos villosus
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus Pic flamboyant Yellow-shafted flicker; Pic doré F
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus Grand pic F
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1998-2013 Contopus virens Pioui de l'Est Eastern pewee
Least FlycatcherEmpidonax minimus Moucherolle tchébec
Eastern Phoebe 1999-2013 Sayornis phoebe Moucherolle phébi F
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus Tyran huppé Moucherolle huppé
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus Tyran tritri
Purple Martin Progne subis Hirondelle noire Hirondelle pourprée
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor Hirondelle bicolore Iridoprocne bicolor
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia Hirondelle de rivage Hirondelle des sables
Cliff Swallow Hirundo pyrrhonota Hirondelle à front blanc Petrochelidon pyrrhonata
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Hirondelle des granges
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Selgidopteryx serripennis Hirondelle à ailes hérissées Selgidopteryx ruficollis
Bohemian Waxwing 1999-2011 Bombycilla garrulus Jaseur boréal Jaseur de Bohême
Cedar Waxwing 1999-2011 Bombycilla cedrorum Jaseur des cèdres
House Wren Troglodytes aedon Troglodyte familier
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis Moqueur chat Moqueur polyglotte
Brown Thrasher 1998-2013 Toxostoma rufum Moqueur roux
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis Merle-bleu de l'est Merle bleu à poitrine rouge
Wood thrush Hylocichla mustelina Grive du bois
Veery Catharus fuscescens Grive fauve
American Robin Turdus migratorius Merle d'Amérique Merle américain F
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea Gobe-mouches gris bleu
Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa Roitelet à couronne dorée
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula Roitelet à couronne rubis
Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus Mésange à tête noire F
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1998-2013 Sitta canadensis Sittelle à poitrine rousse
White-breasted Nuthatch 1999-2012 Sitta carolinensis Sittelle à poitrine blanche F
Brown creeper 1998-2014 Certhia americana Grimpereau brun Certhia familiaris americana
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis Cardinal rouge
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1998-2013 Pheucticus ludovicianus Cardinale à poitrine rose Gros-bec à poitrine rose
Pine Grosbeak 1998-2013 Pinicola enucleator Dur-bec des pins Gros-bec des pins
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea Passerin indigo Bruant indigo
Rufous-sided Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus Tohi à flancs roux Tohi commun F
American Tree Sparrow 1999-2018 Spizella arborea Bruant hudsonien Tree sparrow; Pinson hudsonien
Chipping Sparrow 1999-2018 Spizella passerina Bruant familier Pinson familier, hair-bird
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla Le pinson des champs
Song Sparrow 1998-2014 Melospiza melodia Bruant chanteur Pinson chanteur
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis Bruant à gorge blanche Pinson à gorge blanche
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys Bruant à couronne blanche Pinson à couronne blanche
Slate-coloured Junco 1999-2018 Junco hyemalis Junco ardoisé Dark-eyed junco; snowbird
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis Bruant des neiges Plectrophane des neiges
Nashville Warbler Vermivora ruficapilla Paruline à joues grises Fauvette à joues grises
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia Paruline jaune Fauvette jaune
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata Paruline à croupion jaune Myrtle warbler; fauvette à croupion jaune
Parula Warbler Parula americana Fauvette parula
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia Fauvette noire et blanche
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens Paruline verte à gorge noire Fauvette verte à gorge noire
American redstart 1998-2014 Setophaga ruticilla Paruline flamboyante Fauvette flamboyante
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica Fauvette à flancs marron
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia Fauvette triste
Common Yellowthroat 1998-2013 Geothlypis trichas Paruline masquée Fauvette masquée
Warbling Vireo 1998-2014 Vireo gilvus Viréo mélodieux
Philadelphia Vireo 1998-2014 Vireo philadelphicus Viréo de Philadelphie
Red-eyed Vireo 1998-2014 Vireo olivaceus Viréo aux yeux rouges
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus Carouge à épaulettes
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna Sturnelle des prés
Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus Mainate rouilleux
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula Mainate bronzé Bronzed grackle F
Brown-headed Cowbird 1998-2013 Molothrus ater Vacher à tête brune
Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus Roselin pourpré
House Finch 1998-2013 Carpodacus mexicanus Roselin familier
White-winged Crossbill Loxia leucoptera Bec-croise à ailes blanches
Common Redpoll 1998-2015 Carduelis flammea Sizerin à tête rouge Acanthis flammea; sizerin flammé
Pine Siskin Carduelis pinus Chardonneret des pins
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis Chardonneret jaune Spinus tristis
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Moineau domestique English sparrow
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris Étourneau sansonnet F
Northern Oriole Icterus galbula Oriole du Nord Baltimore oriole
Blue Jay 1999-2007 Cyanocitta cristata Geai bleu F
American Crow 1998-2013 Corvus brachyrhynchos Corneille américaine Common crow F
Common Raven 1998-2013 Corvus corax Grand corbeau Northern raven

Wild turkey [69 kb]

Nineteen wild turkeys on a cold, sunny Saturday afternoon, near Campbellford, 15 January 2005.
Photo (c) F.T. Manns, 2005.


Why these notes? How about the dictionary definition of phenology? I finally encountered the term via the Woodland Trust (U.K.) at Christmas 2001, and found out that it was a practice I'd adopted and maintained continuously, in an amateur capacity, since 1970...

Phenology, the study of natural phenomena that recur periodically, as migration, blossoming, etc, and of their relation to climate and changes in season.

For a monthly almanac of the year in nearby Peterborough county, with details on the changing weather, night skies, birds and animals, see a fine recent book by Drew Monkman, illustrated by Kimberly Caldwell (Monkman, 2002).

The following professional sources of bird information are especially recommended. LaForest (1993) details the year-round occurrence of birds at Presqu'ile provincial park, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, roughly 40 km south of Campbellford. Sadler (1983) wrote another excellent local reference, detailing the birds of Peterborough county, lying immemdiately north and northwest of Campbellford. A few notes on the wider region can be found in Goodwin (1995). For information on birds across Canada, see Godfrey (1979).

For an authoritative view of a particular species in the region, or anywhere else in southern Ontario, see Cadman et al. (1987, 2007), who compiled data from thousands of observers across the province, in two periods 1981-1985 and 2001-2005. Seymour township, apart from small areas in the northeast and northwest corners, comprises the majority of four 10-km squares in the Ontario Atlas. The 2x2 area of squares is approximately divided east-west by the first southward reach of the Trent downstream of Rice Lake, as seen on the atlas index maps. Two squares on the north side cover the area from Allan Mills west to the hamlet of Trent River, while a seventh square to the west covers the small area upstream (southwest) from Trent River. The geography of the area is covered in detail by NTS 1:50,000-scale map sheets 31 C/5 (Campbellford) and 31 C/4 (which includes the southwest corner of the township). Lastly, see Austen et al. (1994) for an informative review of the history and recent status of 58 species of birds across Ontario.

A short history of birdwatching in Ontario has recently been published by long-term birder Fred Helleiner. Nowadays a Brighton resident, nearby Presqu'ile Park is inevitably one of his favourite haunts. This is an interesting read for birders, though as much concerned with the people as with the subject of their passion (Helleiner, 2013).

Geological note: Helleiner's book mentions geologists Jack Satterley (pp.17,31) and Ian Halladay (pp.26,34). Satterley is credited with the 1940s invention of "pishing", a rapid repetition of syllables which often succeeds in attracting the curiosity of small birds, and which is a mainstay of keen North American birders. Jack Satterley was a geologist with the Ontario Department of Mines (now the Ontario Geological Survey). He did a range of work in Ontario, including a 1942 survey of mineral occurrences in the Parry Sound district. The Jack Satterley geochronology lab, which began at the Royal Ontario Museum and is now at the University of Toronto, is named in his honour.

Great gray owl [81 kb]

A great gray owl on 11th Line West of Seymour township, circa 16:30 hours, Friday 25th February 2005. The winter of 2004-2005 was notable for a sustained irruption of these large owls from the far north, and the intermittent appearance of other winter birds such as slate-coloured juncos, cedar waxwings and pine grosbeaks. Jan Wybourn photo.


AUSTEN,MJW, CADMAN,MD and JAMES,RD (1994) Ontario Birds at Risk: Status and Conservation Needs. Federation of Ontario Naturalists / Long Point Bird Observatory, 165pp.

CADMAN,MD, EAGLES,PFJ and HELLEINER,FM (1987) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario. Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Long Point Bird Observatory, published by University of Waterloo Press, 617pp.

CADMAN,MD, SUTHERLAND,DA, BECK,GG, LEPAGE,D and COUTURIER,AR (editors) (2007) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Bird Studies Canada,Environment Canada,Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Nature, 706pp.

GODFREY,WE (1979) The Birds of Canada. National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, 428pp.

GOODWIN,CE (1995) A Bird-Finding Guide to Ontario, revised and expanded edition, University of Toronto Press, 477pp. [Peterborough, Victoria and Northumberland counties are described (pp.208-225) and a few local sites mentioned, such as the Murray Marsh and Goodrich Loomis conservation area].

HELLEINER,F (2013) For the Birds: Recollections and Rambles. Brighton, Ontario, 2nd printing, revised, 71pp.

LaFOREST,SM (1993) Birds of Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Friends of Presqu'ile Park / Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 436pp.

MONKMAN,D (2002) Nature's Year in the Kawarthas: a Guide to the Unfolding Seasons. Natural Heritage / Natural History Inc., Toronto, 338pp.

SADLER,D (1983) Our Heritage of Birds: Peterborough County in the Kawarthas. Peterborough Field Naturalists / Orchid Press, Peterborough, ON, 192pp.

TOZER,R (2011) Checklist and seasonal status of the birds of Algonquin provincial park. Algonquin Park Tech.Bull. 9, 34pp. [ first printed in 1990, updated and reprinted five times since].

Graham Wilson, last updated 06 May 2019

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