For This Bird, Flying South for a Winter Warmup Means: Toronto?!

Those of us living in southern Ontario usually think of Florida, the Caribbean or Hawaii as destinations for a winter warmup vacation. However, for those who spend their springs and summers in the Great White North, southern Ontario itself if a hot spot. Why in winter it even gets more than 8 hours a day of sun!

Photo of junco peeking through goldenrod leaves
So around this time each year, the flights start rolling in past Pearson and landing everywhere that two grey feet can find a perch. To aid in air traffic control, they flash a V of white at each other upon takeoff. Then, like so many heading south in winter, they start looking for something tasty to nibble on.

Yesterday, despite the rain, my first flight of juncos zoomed in. They will stay here, or at least in the neighbourhood, until sometime next spring, when they will yawn, stretch, and decide it’s warm enough “back home” to leave again.

Photo of Junco
In the meantime, the juncos will provide people like me with a morning smile when we notice them patrolling among the flowers and grasses, snacking on a seed here or there, then zooming off to the trees or fence to reconnoitre. Good thing, too, as my back yard is the closest to the “sunny south” I will be getting this winter.

Join In
Do you have a favourite back yard bird that only joins you for the winter? Or is there some other sign of the changing season you watch for each year? Please share your experiences with a comment.

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