Thank you for visiting the Winter Birds of Chatham-Kent online guide, where you can discover the fascinating world of birds in our region. Our guide showcases some of the most common winter birds, giving you a great starting point for your birdwatching adventure. While our list is not comprehensive, it does feature many of the birds you’ll likely encounter. Keep your eyes peeled for any unexpected sightings beyond what’s covered in our guide, as they can add an exciting element of surprise to your birdwatching experience.
In Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canadian Geese enchant bird watchers with their versatile habitats, including lakes, ponds, bays, marshes, and fields. These adaptable birds showcase diversity, nesting near water. During winter, their strategic presence in fields adds to the local bird-watching charm. Notably, these geese have become residents in city parks and suburban ponds in recent years, showcasing their adaptability to both wild and urban environments.
These swans are frequently observed gliding gracefully over rural fields in large flocks. During migration and winter, their preferred habitats include shallow lakes, wide slow-moving rivers, and coastal estuaries, particularly those in close proximity to agricultural fields. Notably, these swans can also be spotted foraging directly in rural fields.
These ducks exhibit adaptability to a range of habitats, spanning marshes, wooded swamps, grain fields, ponds, rivers, lakes, bays, and city parks. They thrive in diverse aquatic environments, displaying a preference for fresh water throughout the year. While this duck species is the most prevalent in the region, it coexists with numerous diving ducks that also inhabit the Thames River, Rondeau, Mitchell’s Bay, and the Sydenham River.
Thriving throughout the municipalities within Chatham-Kent, these birds are frequently spotted in large flocks along the river and downtown areas. They flourish in diverse environments, including cities, farms, cliffs, and bridges. In this region, their frequent sightings occur in urban settings, suburban areas, and farms, with occasional appearances in more secluded, wild areas, far from human dwellings.
Thriving in diverse habitats across Chatham-Kent, Ontario, these birds are commonly located in woodlands, farms, fields, river groves, and towns. They show a preference for semi-open spaces, including farming country, open fields, and clearings in the woods. Demonstrating adaptability to urban environments such as towns and cities, they increasingly choose city parks for nesting. Residents of Chatham may be astonished by the sizable population, with at least 100,000 birds roosting every night.
In the diverse landscapes of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, these birds can be easily spotted, especially along roadways during the winter. They thrive in open country, woodlands, prairie groves, mountains, plains, and roadsides. Their adaptability is evident as they inhabit various terrains, seeking areas with both open ground for hunting and high perches. Habitats range from woodlands with scattered clearings to open grassland, each featuring a few trees or utility poles. This avian species showcases a remarkable ability to inhabit a variety of environments within the Chatham-Kent region.
Great Horned Owl
In the Chatham-Kent, Ontario, these birds prefer habitats with trees or dense brush, commonly frequenting forests, waterways lined with trees, and open country areas with woodlots. Notably, a nesting pair was once observed in Paxton’s Bush, but there have been no reported sightings for several months.
In Chatham-Kent, Ontario, one can spot these small white and brown birds in varied habitats like prairies, fields, dunes, and shores. Notably, they become more visible during snowy conditions, engaging in the consumption of road salt.
In Chatham-Kent, Ontario, these birds are commonly found in fields, shores, and open ground. They avoid areas with trees or bushes, preferring habitats like short-grass prairies, plowed fields, stubble fields, and beaches. Resembling snow buntings in habits, these birds stand out with their brown coloring and yellow throat. Remarkably, they make their nests in agricultural fields, bringing a unique touch to Chatham-Kent’s birdlife.
Feeders and Backyard Birds
Not every robin migrates south for the winter; some choose to remain, indulging in the abundance of berries within local neighborhoods, cities, towns, lawns, farmlands, and forests. During the colder months, these resourceful robins form flocks in wooded regions, strategically congregating around trees and shrubs bearing plentiful berry crops. Enhance your winter landscape and attract these resilient birds by planting native berry-bearing bushes. Additionally, consider tossing some leftover berries into your ground feeders to potentially invite robins throughout the season.
During the winter months northern Cardinals exhibit diverse habitat preferences, occupying woodland edges, thickets, suburban gardens, towns, and various semi-open environments. These resilient birds thrive in settings ranging from forest clearings and swamps to city parks, showcasing their adaptability to different environments. In Chatham-Kent, residents can often spot these vibrant Cardinals near bird feeders in suburban gardens, adding to the spectacle of winter birdwatching. Winter serves as a crucial period for these Cardinals, and observing their behavior reveals their remarkable ability to utilize a wide range of habitats during this season.
Within the region of Chatham-Kent, blue jays showcase varied habitat preferences throughout the winter months. These intelligent birds are commonly found in oak and pine woods, suburban gardens, groves, and towns. While they may inhabit fairly low or scrubby forests in the southern part of their range, blue jays are notably prevalent in well-wooded suburbs or city parks. In local backyards, these vibrant birds can often be observed near bird feeders, with peanuts being a favorite treat. This behavior adds an element of joy to winter birdwatching, as blue jays bring their dynamic presence to residential areas while delighting in the offerings provided by bird enthusiasts.
House Finches, recognized by their small brown bodies, feature distinctive reddish heads in males, while females resemble sparrows. Thriving in various habitats such as cities, suburbs, farms, and canyons, House Finches have adeptly adapted to human environments. Frequently observed in cities, towns, and farmland, these adaptable birds are often seen in our local backyards near bird feeders, adding vibrant hues to winter landscapes and highlighting their ability to thrive in residential settings.
Thriving in human-altered landscapes, Mourning Doves have seen a population increase within Chatham-Kent. These versatile birds are a common sight in various settings such as farms, towns, open woods, roadsides, and grasslands. They adapt well to diverse environments like forest clearings, farmland, and suburbs, often preferring edge habitats with both trees and open ground. As Ground feeders, Mourning Doves search for seeds on the ground, particularly beneath bird feeders where seeds accumulate. Their tranquil presence in local backyards is often encouraged by tossing seeds on the ground.
European Starlings are characterized by their purplish-green iridescence and yellow beaks during the summer, transitioning to brown in fresh winter plumage adorned with brilliant white spots. Boisterous and loud, these birds travel in large groups. They are commonly found in cities, parks, farms, open groves, and fields. European Starlings are most numerous in farm country, suburbs, and cities, but their adaptable nature allows them to inhabit almost any disturbed habitat. While typically scarce or absent in extensive wild areas such as forests or scrub, they can be observed around buildings or settlements within Chatham-Kent, showcasing their ability to thrive in a variety of environments.
House Sparrows are commonly found in cities, towns, and farms. Their presence is versatile, with a general preference for manmade structures rather than unaltered natural habitats. These adaptable birds thrive in city centers, suburbs, and farms, as well as around isolated houses or businesses. Notably, they frequent bird feeders, contributing to their abundance in Chatham-Kent. Their ability to thrive in various human-altered environments, combined with their association with feeders, makes House Sparrows a familiar and abundant sight in local communities.
American Goldfinches grace patches of thistles, roadsides, and open woods. Males, distinguishable by their vibrant yellow plumage in other seasons, transform during winter, losing their black caps and adopting a brownish-olive hue. Similarly, females exchange their Dijon-mustard-yellow feathers for a winter plumage dominated by gray. Thriving in all seasons, these adaptable birds prefer semi-open areas with weedy ground, trees, and bushes for shelter, including second growth, roadsides, woodland edges, orchards, and suburban areas. Notably, their presence is enhanced by bird feeders in local backyards, making them a colorful and frequent sight in Chatham-Kent communities. During winter, American Goldfinches may also venture into very open fields, showcasing their versatility in habitat selection.
Pine Siskins are similar in size and colour to goldfinches but distinguished by their striped breast and belly. They frequent found in conifers, mixed woods, alders, and weedy areas. During migration and winter, these small birds can be found in various semi-open areas, woodland edges, and weedy fields. Notably, Pine Siskins are often spotted in yards with shrubs and birdfeeders, contributing to the avian diversity in Chatham-Kent.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker, a fairly large woodpecker about the size of a blue jay, is a distinctive presence in woodlands, groves, orchards, and towns. This adaptable bird thrives in deciduous forests, especially along rivers and in swamps, and is equally at home in various open spaces like forest edges, clearings, and groves in farm country or suburbs.
Noteworthy for frequenting backyards in Chatham-Kent, especially around suet feeders, Red-bellied Woodpeckers contribute to the vibrant avian activity in residential areas. Identified by their red belly and head, these woodpeckers add a splash of color and character to the natural surroundings, making them a delightful and recognizable sight for bird enthusiasts in the region.
The Downy Woodpecker is a common sight in various habitats including forests, woodlots, willows, river groves, orchards, and shade trees. This bird is known for its adaptability and can be found in wilderness areas, second-growth woods, and suburban yards. It’s interesting to note that the Downy Woodpecker is also often spotted in Chatham-Kent backyards, where it frequents suet feeders and open feeders. With its unique black-and-white plumage and small size, this bird is easily recognizable and adds charm to the avian community in residential areas.
The Dark-eyed Junco is a common winter resident. During the winter months, these birds inhabit open woods, undergrowth, roadsides, and brush. Dark-eyed Juncos are frequently seen in Chatham-Kent backyards during this season, engaging in ground feeding and often visiting open feeders. Notably, they have a preference for native flower seeds, especially asters and false sunflowers, adding to their charm as they contribute to our avian diversity.
The Sharp-shinned Hawk is a fascinating bird with impressive flying abilities and a long tail, and it’s not much larger than a blue jay. This species is known for hunting birds around bird feeders and is frequently spotted in rural backyard areas and wood-lined spaces. They typically inhabit mixed or coniferous forests, open deciduous woodlands, thickets, and edges. During winter, they can be found in various forested or brushy areas but usually avoid open country. The presence of these hawks adds an element of excitement to rural communities in Chatham-Kent, where they showcase their agility as they navigate through backyard landscapes in pursuit of their prey.
American Tree Sparrow
The American Tree Sparrow is a winter visitor that favours brushy roadsides, weedy edges, marshes, open fields, woodland edges, and suburban areas. Their presence in local backyards, especially around feeders, adds to the winter avian activity in residential areas. This showcases their adaptability to various environments during the colder months.
In Chatham-Kent, the Carolina Wren is a common inhabitant of tangles, undergrowth, suburbs, gardens, and towns. Flourishing in the undergrowth of deciduous or mixed woods and thriving in thickets along forest edges, this adaptable bird also makes its home in suburban areas where dense low growth and tangles remain undisturbed. Notably, during the winter months, they shift their diet to seeds and berries and can be spotted around certain bird feeders and native plants. This showcases the Carolina Wren’s versatility and contributes to the vibrant avian life in both residential and natural environments.
The Black-Capped Chickadee can be easily spotted in mixed and deciduous woods, willow thickets, groves, and shade trees. It prefers open woods and forest edges, particularly areas where birches or alders grow, and tends to avoid purely coniferous forests. Even in suburban areas, it can thrive as long as there are available nest sites. This little bird’s diet varies depending on the season, with up to 50% being vegetable matter (seeds and fruits) during winter. The Black-Capped Chickadee is known for its adaptability and feeds on insects, seeds, berries, and small fruits during the winter months. Its presence adds to the diversity of avian life in the region, illustrating its ability to survive and thrive in various environments while exhibiting different dietary preferences throughout the year.
The White-breasted Nuthatch is a versatile bird that can be found in different habitats such as forests, woodlots, groves, and shade trees. It prefers mature deciduous and mixed forests with some conifers, and woodland edges along rivers, roads, and clearings. This bird’s diet changes throughout the year in winter months seeds are 60% of their diet. They also feed on suet and peanut-butter mixtures at feeders. The White-breasted Nuthatch’s ability to adapt to different environments and changing dietary preferences adds to the diversity of avian life in Chatham-Kent.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch, commonly found in conifer forests, may also appear in other trees during winter. They prefer habitats with many conifers, such as spruce, fir, and hemlock, in mixed or pure stands. While mature forests are favored, their adaptability allows them to be seen in any wooded habitat during migration and winter, with a consistent preference for conifers if available.
These charming birds are frequent visitors to Chatham-Kent backyards, especially around feeders, contributing to the avian diversity in residential areas. Their ability to thrive in various environments and their affinity for conifers make them a recognizable presence in both natural and suburban settings.