Birds of High Park

Toronto’s High Park is a year-round birding hotspot, with well over 150 species seen regularly over the year. In the Spring and Fall, High Park is an important stop-over for migrating birds. More than 50 species breed in the park. Christmas bird counts typically turn up 40 to 50 species. The "all-time" list for High Park totals over 260 species, including many rarities and exotic transients.

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Dark-eyed Junco. Photo: Iain Fleming
Dark-eyed Junco. Photo: Iain Fleming

Birding through the seasons in High Park

A wide variety of bird-life can be found in High Park through the seasons. Besides the omnipresent Ring-billed Gulls, Mallards, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Starlings, House Sparrows, Rock Pigeons, Mourning Doves and Crows, there is a wide variety of birdlife in High Park. The Park is active year round. The ‘all time’ list for the park is extensive at over 260 species but that includes many rarities and exotic transients.

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Young Birds in High Park – Feeding Time

What to do if you find a baby bird in distress?

Before acting, observe carefully and then follow these step by step guidelines from Toronto Wildlife Centre: How to help orphaned baby birds.

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High Park Christmas Bird Count

by Bob Yukich

The annual High Park Christmas Bird Count was held on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, a mild but windy day with almost no snow-cover. Our route recorded a total of 49 species and 2,988 individuals.

Our best bird was a Red-shouldered Hawk seen flying west at treetop level over Grenadier Pond, a first ever for the High Park count since at least 1990 (there were 3 other reports  of this species on the Toronto CBC this year). Other notable sightings were a Bald Eagle over Grenadier Pond, a Merlin on the east side of the park, and a Hermit Thrush along Dacre Crescent.

Based on preliminary results, High Park had 3 species not recorded in any other Toronto count sector: Northern Shoveler (40), Great Horned Owl (2) and Pine Siskin (6). We also had record high counts for High Park (since 1990) for 3 species: Wood Duck (6), American Robin (228) and Northern Cardinal (74).

See High Park Christmas Bird Count 2022 and previous years’ results  (Excel, 50 Kb).

The High Park count area includes High Park and vicinity. The boundaries are Parkside Drive-Keele St. on the east, Eglinton Ave. on the north, South Kingsway-Jane St. on the west, and Lake Ontario on the south. The count is coordinated through the Toronto Ornithological Club and Birds Canada.

Find a Christmas Count group near you:

Northern Cardinal female. Photo: Iain Fleming
Northern Cardinal female. Photo: Iain Fleming
Downy Woodpecker. Photo: Mila Ark
Downy Woodpecker. Photo: Mila Ark

Web Resources about Birds and for Birding

Biodiversity Booklet Series

Includes: Birds, Butterflies, Spiders, Fishes, Mammals, Bees, Reptiles and Amphibians, Mushrooms, and Trees, Shrubs and Vines of Toronto. Free copies may be available at your local Toronto Public Library branch. To find out more about these free guidebooks or to download a pdf version, visit the City of Toronto's Biodiversity website.

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