Ten Northern Birds Hoped For: December 2021

As I was inspecting the website for the Québec Club des ornithologues de l’Outaouais, I read about a bird feeder at Lac Beauchamp which is always loaded with seed in winter.

Eager to see some more northern bird species which do not frequent my Toronto feeder, I headed to Lac Beauchamp and thought about the ten northern species that I would love to see.

Gray Jay Nicknamed “Whiskeyjacks”, these friendly birds seldom come south of Algonquin Park.

Gray Jay (photo: cottage life)
Gray Jay (photo: medium.com)

Evening Grosbeak

My grandmother adored these colourful birds and had a stuffed one in her home.

Evening Grosbeak (male) photo: allabout birds
Evening Grosbeak (female) photo: Britannica

Some years ago, I received these photos of grosbeaks from Quebec City.

Pine Siskin

I occasionally see Pine Siskins in Toronto but have never had one at my feeder.

Pine Siskin (photo: national audubon society)
Pine Siskin (photo: birdcoo.com)

Pine Grosbeak

These large birds are almost as large as Robins.

Pine Grosbeak (photo: allaboutbirds)
Pine Grosbeak (photo:allaboutbirds)

Red Crossbill

These reddish sparrow-sized birds with crossed mandibles are found in coniferous forest. They will come to birdfeeders in the north. I once saw one during a Breeding Bird Survey near Smooth Rock Falls.

Red Crossbill (photo: birdcoo.com)
Red Crossbill (photo: borealsonginitiative)

White-winged Crossbill

These birds occasionally show up in the Toronto area in winter.

White-winged Crossbill (photo: blogspot.com)
White-winged Crossbill (photo: blospot.com)

Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwings are larger than Cedar Waxwings and have no yellow on the belly. They are occasionally seen in Toronto on the coldest days of winter. When we found one during a TDSB walk, an wag exclaimed “You can identify them because they drink so much coffee”.

Bohemian waxwing (photo: ebirdr)
Bohemian waxwings (photo: allposters.com)

Boreal Chickadee

I have seen and heard these brown-capped and shy chickadees during northern surveys.

Boreal Chickadee (photo: queticosuperior.org)
Boreal Chickadee (photo: birdwatchingdaily.org)

Black-backed Woodpecker

These three-toed (most birds have four) woodpeckers inhabit the cold forests of the north.

Black-backed Woodpecker (photo: oregonwild)
Black-backed Woodpecker (photo: pinterest)

Northern Hawk Owl

This is a medium-sized, hawk-like, daytime-flying owl found in northern boreal forests.

Northern Hawk Owl (photo: nationalparkservice)
Northern Hawk Owl (photo: blogspot.com)

After an hour observing who was coming to the Lac Beauchamp feeder, it was time to wake up from my reveries.

Here is what I found:

Black-capped Chickadee
Downy Woodpecker (female)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red Squirrel


Hope shines forever pure and bright,
It never fades away;
It is a ray of heavenly light
Unyielding to decay. – Prudence Curtis

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “Ten Northern Birds Hoped For: December 2021

  1. Patricia Lund

    Miles, I love your reveries and think many of us share them and its what keeps us filling up our birdfeeders all winter, every winter!


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