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
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Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
West Deane Park is located on the west side of Martingrove Road just north of Rathburn Road West. A park Lynda our kids and Karamelle are very familiar with, we live a five minute walk from the park.
A number of years ago the City of Etobicoke decided to allow sections of the park to go wild and encourage the return of local wildlife. It seems the birds have definitely taken advantage of the improved natural aspects of the park. In the spring there were numerous reports of warblers stopping off for a rest during their northern migration. The Toronto Field Naturalists now have guided bird hikes through the park. We thought it would be fun to check out the park our kids used to use as their playground.
West Deane Park consists of open parkland, woods and the Mimico Creek runs through the middle. There are hiking trails in the wooded areas and there is a paved path that follows the creek. The naturalized areas are along the creek and on the east side of the park.
Getting to the wooded trails and the paved path is very easy. Park in the west side parking lot beside the baseball diamond and then walk straight towards the creek. You will come to the paved path and you have the option to take the path north or south or you can cross the bridge and head into the woods.
I went into the woods and followed the trail to the south. I heard Blue Jays and Chickadee’s but I did not see many birds. But I did come across an interesting fungus growing on a tree.
I decided it was time to check out the wooded trails to the north. And it was in this area that the reason for the lack of birds became apparent. A pair of Cooper’s Hawks were active in these woods. Watching them manouver around the tree branches and trunks was really amazing. They truly are adapted to their environment.
It was while following the Cooper’s Hawks that I almost fell into a four feet deep ditch. I avoided the ditch but this guy didn’t. A young skunk was stranded in the bottom of the ditch unable to get out. My birding trip was over. Lynda and I helped the Toronto Wildlife Centre rescue this guy. Luckily everything turned out OK for the young skunk.
A couple of days later I decided to continue my birding hike in West Deane Park. This time I took the paved path and headed north.
It was along this path that the success of the naturalization process in West Deane Park was apparent. The birds would fly from the trees on either side of Mimico Creek and land in the naturalized area. They would forage on the ground, in the shrubs and trees for food.
The call of Blue Jays was constant and I easily counted five in a tree searching for food. The Black-capped Chickadee’s were loud but were remained hidden high up in the trees. As you walk along this path there are some fairly wide areas between the tree lines and the movement of birds back and forth was constant. I counted three Northern Flicker’s in this area. Sitting high in a tree on the west side of the river was a Cedar Waxwing. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture. It was at this point I noticed at least ten hawk’s kettling high to the west. Based on their flight pattern and wing shape I believe they were Broad-winged Hawks.
As I continued I came across a large Birch tree on the east side of the path. In amongst the branches there were many small birds flitting from branch to branch. They were a small flock of Red-eyed Vireo’s. In a large willow on the west side of the path a large flock of American Goldfinch were in constant motion.
At the north end of the trail there were a number of Mountain Ash that were loaded with berries. A family of Robins were taking full advantage of this bountiful natural offering.
In the same area, but using the various trees and bushes along the creek was a family of Cardinal’s. I counted a mother, father and three juveniles. This juvenile could have been a male or female based on the juvenile markings.
Between the two trips I saw ten different species and at least four others which I could not ID, but I believe they were warblers.
It has definitely become a nice park for a bird hike. Just keep an eye out for the resident skunk.