Eastern wood-pewee (Contopus virens) - local seasonal appearance

Based on 59 observations in Seymour township, Northumberland county, southeast Ontario, 1998-2013.

The eastern wood-pewee, often detected by its distinctive call, is widespread along the southern Great Lakes, e.g., at Point Pelee, Rondeau, Selkirk, Presqu'ile and Prince Edward Point. In our township, it is found from May to early September, with extreme dates of 19 April and 13 September. In 2014 a bird was noted just west of Campbellford on 24 April. Locally, the pewee may be found at such localities as Ferris park, the Seymour and Crowe Bridge conservation areas, and along the Trout Creek drainage.

View the complete 15-year (1999-2013) monthly data summary (433-kb pdf file).

At Presqu'ile provincial park, roughly 40 km to the south, the eastern pewee is a common migrant and summer breeding resident, from mid-May to late September (LaForest, 1993, p.234). In Peterborough county, to the northwest, the pewee is typically found between 1 May and 3 September (Sadler, 1983, p.106).

The pewee (Cadman et al., 1987, pp.252-253) is, like the phoebe, a relatively common flycatcher in southern Ontario. Woodland clearances have increased suitable habitat. In the revised Bird Breeding Atlas (Cadman et al., 2007, pp.340-341) the pewee is widely found across our region, from southern Georgian Bay east to the Frontenac arch. It prefers forest margin settings.


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.

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

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

Graham Wilson, posted 28 May 2014

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