As promised, yesterday was rainy, foggy, damp and cold. I had heard about a conservation area only thirty minutes away from a local Flickr contact, so my husband and I drove over for the afternoon.
This reservoir is created by a dam across Bronte Creek, built for flood control in the mid 1960s. Many water birds stop here during migration and others nest in the shoreline. I was surprised to see the water was still completely ice covered and deep snow made access to the edge impossible. My husband was assessing the accessibility by canoe for fishing, as pike, bass, perch and catfish are in the water.
There is a Raptor Rehabilitation Centre here as well, and no one could read Susan Gets Native's blog without becoming a teeny bit interested in birds of prey. I know a lot about rehabilitation from a physiotherapist's point of view, and I would have called this a chronic care centre as several of the birds will never be released due to the severity of their injuries.
These birds were all found regionally. The Barred Owl has one eye. The Peregrine Falcon has an injured left wing. There were two Snowy Owls who barely opened their eyes and I was impressed with the beauty and grace of the American Kestrel. A Barn Owl was indoors as a "Raptor Lady" gave a talk to a group of children. There were two Bald Eagles in an enclosure. Their wounds are now healed, but the damage suffered will prevent them from flying again. Larger versions of these pictures are on my Flickr page.
With the exception of the American Kestrel, I doubt I will see any of these birds in the wild. Places like this, and people like Susan (see her new blog here) are needed to educate the public about these vulnerable birds. We encroach on their land, water and air space and are pushing them to extinction in some areas. Two of these birds were found injured on the Toronto International Airport runway.
There was plenty more to see at Mountsberg and in a month, many more native birds will be around. I hope to return as well!