Bird Protection Quebec regularly has guided birding field trips each weekend but, with social distancing and groups being forbidden for the past ten weeks they have organised “virtual field trips” restricted to the birds in our gardens. These have been surprisingly popular with many more people taking part than ever come out in person. This week there has been some relaxation of the restrictions in Quebec and while not yet appropriate to be birding in a physical group, the organizers have let us stray from or our gardens and go up to 5km from home in search of birds. ALL birds seen must be reported to eBird.

Today is/was (depending on when you are reading this) Mid-Summers Day and the temperatures are around 34C with brutally hot sunshine. We birded the garden from a bit after cock-crow/sparrow-fart for most of the morning before setting forth to perambulate 4.2km of the neighbourhood streets. To be honest we didn’t expect much – heat and light like today is not conducive to birds showing themselves but we did manage to charm 21 species into our virtual net and are fairly pleased with that. It helps that our town has a number of parks and many mature trees in gardens.

Highlights? A Baltimore Oriel that inadvertently revealed the location of his nest (that’s it, on the left), a good number of House Wrens, the usual regulars including stunning numbers of Song Sparrows and no Purple Martins. This is the second year that PUMAs have not returned to the nesting unit set up for them on the riverside bey the town hall. A species in serious trouble. Bird of the day? Well, my BPQ friends would be sadly disappointed if I did not nominate the four or five House Sparrows that we located – a small colony that we will be watching now we know where they are.

Here’s the route we walked followed by a list of the birds seen.

Baie d’Urfe, Montréal, Quebec, CA – Jun 21, 2020 7:45 AM – 12:05 PM
Protocol: Combined Static and Traveling
4.175 kilometer(s)
21 species

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) 3
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) 1
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) 5
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 3
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 6
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 4
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) 4
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 14
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 16
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 4
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 2
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 8
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 14
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) 1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 5
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) 5
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) 1
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 6

View this checklist online at

… and now, a calm afternoon beside the air-conditioning.