Tommy Thompson Park holiday hours

Don't be left out in the cold!  Plan your winter visit to Tommy Thompson Park carefully.  
TTP is a wonderful destination during the winter.  The heavy snow weighing down the bows of Pine trees on Peninsula B, the bright morning sun glistening off the ice of Cell Two and the crisp cold air from across Lake Ontario certainly create the ideal winter experience.  Yet there are some hazards to keep in mind during your visit to the park.  The weather can change suddenly and ice forms quickly and unevenly.  For your safety, do not walk on frozen bodies of water.  Also keep in mind that very strong and cold winter winds blow off the lake, so be sure to dress warmly before venturing out to the lighthouse.


Migration monitoring totals - TTPBRS closed for the season

Fall migration monitoring is now officially over. A great big thank you to Nigel and his amazing team of volunteers!! They certainly had their work cut out this year. Have a look at the extensive list of birds they banded in 2013.


Last week of fall migration monitoring

The last day of fall migration monitoring is November 10, 2013. Bad weather and unfavorable conditions has delayed migration and has hampered banding efforts at the station.  With so many late migrants, we are anticipating banding significant numbers right to the last day.

The owl migration is still in full swing although numbers haven't reflected that.  This trend is also mirrored at other banding stations.

The American Pipit banding continues, with 62 individuals banded to date.

Dunlins, a familiar shorebird, are slowly making their way to Tommy Thompson Park from their Arctic breeding grounds.  One was banded earlier this week.  We are hoping more will make an appearance before next Sunday!

Incoming weather patterns are promising disturbances from the south.  We anticipate Cave Swallows and hopefully some western birds to fly through the park.  Fingers crossed!

Stop by the TTPBRS this weekend for a last chance to see fall migrants in hand.  Sunday November 10 is also your last chance to join the Sunday Morning Guided Bird Walks at TTP.  Meet the guide at the entrance of the park at 8:00 a.m. for an intimate tour highlighting the best spots for bird watching.


American Pipit pilot monitoring project

The American Pipit is a lovely songbird, often associated with shorebirds because of similar life histories.  Like its shorebird counterparts, the American Pipit summers among the moss-covered, rocky hills on the bleak coast of Labrador, along the Arctic tundra to northern Alaska, and on the west coast of Greenland.

As soon as the young birds are able to care for themselves the Pipits gather into flocks and begin to migrate, leaving their breeding grounds before the end of August.  The American Pipit winters in the mid United States and along the Gulf coast.

A pilot monitoring project was initiated by Nigel Shaw, TTPBRS coordinator.  Although there were many observations of Pipits in previous years, this curious little bird has only been recorded in small numbers at Tommy Thompson Park.  Nigel is hoping to capture and band a good sample of the birds that are passing through, and hopefully learn a little more about the species.

To date, the Pipit Project has been a success.  Volunteers at the research station have witnessed 100's of American Pipits flying through the park during this fall migration.  Tommy Thompson Park is on a significant migration route for this species.  41 individuals have been banded since the project began.


Sunday Morning Guided Bird Walks

Discover the beauty and diversity of bird life at Tommy Thompson Park. Join experienced birders who will lead you through the best birding spots, helping to point out and identify many of the resident and migratory birds that rely on this urban wilderness. End the walk with a visit to the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station to see bird banding demonstrations and learn about the important monitoring and research being done to conserve migratory birds.

Participants will meet at the entrance to the park, at the foot of Leslie Street at Unwin Avenue. The walk will begin promptly at 8:00 a.m., so make sure to get there early! There is no potable water or food at the park. Bring plenty of fluids and snacks. Long pants and boots are strongly recommended to protect you from biting insects. Finally, don’t forget your binoculars and field guide!

Happy birding!

Kinglet is king

The team at the TTP Bird Research Station are seeing good migration numbers, despite the wet weather. On October 3, 195 birds were banded, with Kinglets taking over the total.  Monitoring resumed on October 8, with a staggering 300 birds banded - 67% of the total were Kinglets.

If you're out bird watching this long weekend, watch for the tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet plucking small insects from clusters of needles, high up in conifer trees.

Happy birding!


Update: New addition to the family at TTP!

See how well our Trumpeter Swan family is doing at TTP.  Here they are in Embayment D, checking out the new coastal wetland.

Warblers and more...

Here's a glimpse of the banded birds so far (including the raptors and shorebirds).  From top, left corner:
First year American Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Canada Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Group picture (Nashville Warbler, American Redstart, two Northern Parula, Black-throated Green Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Tennessee Warbler and Cape May Warbler), Tennessee Warbler, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpier, Semi-palmated Plover.

The change in the weather has many bird watchers excited.  Mixed flocks of Warblers, Vireos and Sparrows are expected to moved through the park in good numbers today.  This is a great time of year to visit Tommy Thompson Park! Bring your binoculars and field guide for fall migration in Toronto's Urban Wilderness.

Fall migration update

Here is an example of the banding efforts done in one day.
Great work TTPBRS team!


Shorebird monitoring - Semipalmated Plover

Hot humid weather usually is not the best weather for fall migration.  Luckily the slower days have allowed to focus on shorebird monitoring and banding.  So far this season, 115 individuals have been banded, with Lesser Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpiper being station firsts! Also observed were White-rumped Sandpiper and Baird's Sandpiper.  Least Sandpiper lead in numbers with over 40 being banded.


Pack your bags, it's time to head south

Fall migration monitoring at TTPBRS begins August 5. Sunday morning walks also pick up on August 11. Come down for 8:00 a.m. and meet at the bulletin board for a guided tour of the park.


We're hungry!

These Barn Swallows, photographed at the Outdoor Classroom, are patiently waiting the return of their mother for their next meal.


Oh Baby Baby!

It’s the time of year when TTP is bustling with the arrival of baby birds.  While most chicks have hatched and are learning to fly and forage, late nesters are just starting to lay their eggs. 

If you find a nest (in a tree or on the ground) please quietly observe it through binoculars from a distance.  If you find a chick on the ground please do not approach it.  Like any other juvenile it finds learning tiring and enjoys taking a relaxing recess.  Don’t worry; its parents are likely supervising nearby.

Please do not disturb wildlife.


New addition to the family at TTP!

Trumpeter Swans are a new nesting species for the park.


Countdown to the end of spring migration

Three of nine Dunlins (Calidris alpina) banded this week
There are only 13 days of spring banding left of the season.  It goes by so quickly!

Warblers are still trickling through. The weather is predicted to change from the south and a little unsettled weather could produce another good movement of birds north before TTPBRS closes on June 9th.
Shorebirds are moving through this last week, with nearly 50 banded so far.
These birds are not staying long as they move on to their arctic nesting grounds.


Update from Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station - May 2013

Catch a glimpse of the birds banded at the TTPBRS in May.


Wildlife sightings at the park - May 2013

If you love shorebirds, TTP is the place for you!

Recent observations include Short-billed Dowitcher, Solitary Sandpiper, Least Sandpipers, Semi-palmated Plover and Wilson's Snipe.

New migratory arrivals are Common Yellowthroat, Tennessee Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Scarlet Tanager, and Bank Swallow.


Don't forget to register for hikes and activities at the Tommy Thompson Park Spring Bird Festival happening May 11th, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


TTP Spring Bird Festival

Three more hikes added to the festival.  Register now before they sell out!!
Spring Bird Festival Registration Page


Very cool!

Female Red-winged Blackbirds are generally thought to be plain compared to males, but older birds like this one can show a remarkable amount of red in their 'epaulettes' not illustrated in guides and difficult to see in the field.

Vendors at the TTP Spring Bird Festival

Don't forget to check out the great vendors before your nature hike!  


Recently banded birds from TTPBRS

House Wren

Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Western Palm Warbler

White -eyed Vireo - Picture by TTPBRS bander Amanda Guercio

Brown Thrasher

Wildlife sightings at the park - April 2013

The pair of Trumpeter Swans that have been at TTP since Sept 2011 have begun to nest. This would be the first record for Tommy Thompson Park.

Noteworthy birds: Eared Grebe, White-eyed Vireo and Blue Grosebeak


Gulls of Tommy Thompson Park

Pictures by Ian Sturdee, TTP naturalist (week of April 7th).


More love for TTP!

Tommy Thompson Park gets featured in Ontario Nature blog!
Ontario Nature Blog


Go Birding in the Big City!

Let’s cast away the dreary feelings of winter and turn our thoughts to the warm, sun fill days ahead.  The 13th annual Tommy Thompson Park Spring Bird Festival celebrates the return of our migratory birds.  The festival will be held on Saturday May 11, 2013, 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m, and will feature guided birding hikes (registration required), kids activities, live bird banding demonstrations and great displays.

We will also celebrate the completion of phase I of TTP’s Master Plan.   If you love the park as much as we do, join TRCA partners and dignitaries during the ribbon cutting ceremony, officially opening the new infrastructure.
Check out TTP Spring Bird Festival for more information.

Baillie Birdathon Begins!

Join us for the 2013 Baillie Birdathon, the oldest sponsored bird count in North America, raising money for bird research and conservation.

With the Spring Bird Festival comes the Baillie Birdathon. Join the TTPBRS team to help raise funds or sponsor a team member to show your support!

Join the TTPBRS - click here!

Open for Bird Business!

The Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station began its spring migration monitoring on a frigid morning April 2nd. Catch a glimpse of some of TTP's early arrivals and resident species.

April 2, 2013
Cold start to the first day of banding (it was too windy to open nets yesterday) but this Hairy Woodpecker was a nice surprise.

April 3, 2013
It was a very slow and frosty morning for banding today, with only a couple of American Tree Sparrows banded, but here is a female Northern Cardinal.

April 4, 2013
Bird of the day! Male American Woodcock.

April 8, 2013
We just captured our first Hermit Thrush of the season, a second year bird.

April 9, 2013
After hatch year female American Kestrel.

Early April, 2013 Wildlife Sightings
More birds hanging around Tommy Thompson Park. Pictures captured by Ian Sturdee, TTP naturalist


TTPBRS 2013 Membership

It's time to purchase your 2013 TTPBRS Membership!

Membership benefits are:

- You’ll receive regular migration monitoring updates directly to your email;

- You’ll receive special invitation to TTP events;

- You’ll be eligible for priority registration for Spring Bird Festival and Butterfly Festival hikes and activities;

- You’ll receive a TTP Bird Checklist; and

- You’ll receive a tax receipt for your membership fee.

Visit to purchase yours today!