We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
5468 Dundas Street West
Toronto (Etobicoke), ON M9B 6E3
Phone: (416) 233-3558
Fax: (416) 233-3293
Email: Send Message
Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
A short drive west of Etobicoke is a bird and people friendly park called Riverwood. Located in Mississauga on the north side of Burnhamthorpe, east of Miississauga Road and west of Creditview Road. This sixty-hectar park is well looked after by the charitable organization, The Riverwood Conservancy. Well maintained trails allow for easy access throughout the park. Two trails have been enhanced for birding activity through the addition of bird feeders.
Lynda and I made our first journey to Riverwood on Easter Sunday morning. Just outside of the park our birding trip began. Circling above us was our first Turkey Vulture sighting of 2009.
Upon entering the park you have a few choices. A quick left takes you to a parking lot that allows easy access to the Credit River and the main birding trail. Continue straight and you can park in the main parking lot which has a view of the wetland area. You can continue to a third parking lot which allows you quick access to a trail that takes you through a nicely wooded area.
We started our hike from the first parking lot. We chose this hike based on the excellent park brochure published by the Riverwood Conservancy. Copies are available at the store. Amongst other info it includes a list of the birds identified and their seasonal frequency in the park.
We took the Culham Trail which joins into the birding trail, known as the Scotts Wild Bird TREK. The first feeder came into view quickly. There were no birds at the feeder but evidence of their past presence was obvious. The feeder was empty of any preferred seed and there were scattered shells and uneaten grains on the ground. As we continued our hike we came across a number of additional feeders but they were all in the same situation. Probably the Sunday morning of the Easter weekend was not the time to expect to find filled feeders.
We weren’t seeing the birds but we were hearing Chickadees and Cardinals We did see and hear numerous Red-winged Blackbirds. Our next sighting on the trail was not with feathers but with fur, a Red Squirrel. This guy brought back memories of camping in Thunder Bay. Where the birding trail meets the Culham trail we decided to follow the Culham trail back along the Credit River.
Now the lack of bird sightings had a reason. A Sharp-shinned Hawk glided into the woods. With the passing of the Sharpie a small flock of Chickadees arrived and entertained us with their right side-up and upside-down antics amongst the tree branches. A Downy Woodpecker joined in the food search but we were distracted by a new song. On the opposite side of the trail sitting on a slim branch was a Song Sparrow, a common year round resident of the park. The Turkey Vulture now came into view and circled down by the Credit River. Birding activity had picked up and we decided to check out the wooded trail located off of the third parking lot.
As we started this hike, birding success was immediate. A Golden-crowned Kinglet was dashing from tree to tree. According to the brochure a common migrant. This trail was a little more rustic a little less groomed which gave it a nice country feel. We noticed a fairly consistent tapping in the woods. Woodpeckers were definitely in the area. By the end of this trail we had counted six different Downy and one Hairy Woodpecker. We also came across a tree that had obvious Pileated activity.
Returning along the trail we encountered two Blue Jays scouring one of the many oak trees in the forest. Shortly after this sighting we came across a Brown Creeper circling the trunk of a tree and then the branches. The Creeper is considered a permanent but an uncommon sighting.
And now a common sighting and probably a common behaviour, on this trail, we were dive bombed by a Chickadee. Lynda held out her hand (without seed) and he landed. Next time we bring seed!
Returning to the lot we noticed a clump of green and white contrasted against the brown and gray ground. A clump of Snowdrops enjoying the sun. Riverwood is not only a great park for birding but is also the home to one hundred and fifty wildflowers that bloom spring through fall. A super guide, "Wildflowers of Riverwood" is available for $35 at our store or through the Conservancy.
Riverwood is highly recommended.