Wednesday 19 April 2017

The Hardest Week in Birding

You heard of the Biggest Week in American Birding? Well, this is nothing like that. It is around this time of year that birders get antsy knowing that all those neotropic migrants are so close, but still so far away. Every small movement in the brush results in the binoculars snapped up and the user frantically scanning for the culprit....only to realize it was once again a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Ruby-crowned, but around the time I see the 500th one when it could have been a warbler.....well, you know.

In order to help birders with the pain of waiting for the neotrops to start showing, I've come up with some ways to cope with the long, 7-ish day ahead of us.

1. Learn to live with the Ruby-crowned Kinglets

This one works until the 499th bird. After that, try another tactic.

2. Put down the binoculars and wait out the week inside watching TV

This may work for newer birders who have yet to experience the miracle of spring migration, but for the seasoned ones (and the addicted-to-birding ones), this may be like torture.

3. Spend your time looking at butterflies

I find myself looking at butterflies when the birding is slow, so this one may be a good one. The number of butterflies out at this time of year is minimal, so new observers wouldn't be over-whelmed.

4. Learn to identify plants

Like the butterflies, the amount of wildflowers right now is minimal, so it wouldn't be over-whelming. I'll start you off:


Fig Buttercup


5. Travel 

Whether down to Point Pelee, or down to Florida, maybe a change of scenery and a few FOY (first of year) bird species might help you. WARNING: Travel to Point Pelee might trigger nostalgia of past spring migrations, making you long for the neotrop migrants even more.

6. See the beauty in the birds around now

After all, isn't that why we started birding in the first place?

7. Spend hours each day looking at eBird checklists for Rondeau, Point Pelee, Long Point, and Blenheim Sewage Lagoons and start planning all the trips you'll be taking in May.

Just be warned, this may result in hundreds of dollars worth of gas, food, and accommodations.

Whatever you choose to help you, just remember that birding is as much about the NOW as the FUTURE. Try not to let the brightly coloured warblers, tanagers, and vireos ruin the last few days of birding before the craziness of Ontario's (or wherever you live) legandary spring migration.

Yellow Warbler

(If you couldn't tell, I was more or less trying to be humorous...Birds, Bugs and Botany is not responsible for an debt caused by travelling to exotic locations or expensive trips to birding hotspots)


  1. Going to be 14 days for me! I am taking off starting May 4. Oh, the agony.....

    1. I wish you luck on the days ahead...try not to go crazy!

  2. Well done, Quinten....some good advice and humour are always a good combination!

    1. Thanks Allen! It turns out I'm going to Rondeau on Sunday, not Saturday. The opening of the 'Battle of the Atlantic" memorial is on the 29th, and I can't miss it.

      Hopefully that WWDO can arrange to stay that extra day....