Neil Carleton 2 by Neil Carleton 

 Since the 2009 launch of Bicycle Month in Mississippi Mills, Birders on Bikes has been a successful annual event for many outdoor enthusiasts. Their common interests are the fun of cycling and the adventure of birding. It’s a group event for the young at heart of all ages. The focus of these popular rural rides, where listening and looking comes natural, is on learning and sharing observations. The pace is easy with many stops along the 15 – 20 km route.

 The 6th annual Birders on Bikes ride was on Sunday morning, June 8, under a sunny sky with temperatures in the summer range. An impressive total of 54 species was heard or seen before lunch.

Birders on Bikes
Birders on Bikes was organized again this year by Bob Volks (front left) and Louise Beckinsale (front right) of Gilligallou Bird Inc. in Almonte. Sixteen participants gathered at the store for registration and refreshments before the 9:30 departure.

Looking and listening for birds, just like the number one rule in real estate, is about location, location, location. Food preferences, foraging strategies, and nesting site requirements will determine where a particular kind of bird is most likely to be found. A forest habitat is home for warblers and woodpeckers. Ducks and geese need an open water environment. Stopping by a field makes sense to watch for a meadowlark, a bobolink, or many kinds of sparrows.

Each year the Birders on Bikes ride explores a variety of habitats along the rural routes of Mississippi Mills. There are always surprises. A new sighting is possible at any point during the journey. Observing a particular kind of bird one year doesn’t mean it will be spotted the next time.

This year there was an observation station set up behind the soccer field near the municipal building on Old Perth Road. The final scheduled stop was the viewing platform overlooking Lake Almonte, where a spotting scope from the Gilligallou store was available to use.

If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to take part in a Birders on Bikes ride, here’s a link to a Gilligallou video from the 2012 event.

A Millstone article about the 2013 adventure is available too. 

The list of birds heard and seen during the Birders on Bikes rides continues to grow. We now have 86 species recorded for the first 6 years. This year’s sightings / hearings of 54 different kinds of birds are indicated as well.

  • Blackbird, Red-winged 2014
  • Bluebird, Eastern 2014
  • Bobolink 2014
  • Bunting, Indigo
  • Cardinal, Northern 2014
  • Catbird, Gray 2014
  • Chickadee, Black-capped 2014
  • Cowbird, Brown-headed 2014
  • Crow, American 2014
  • Dove, Mourning 2014
  • Duck, Mallard 2014
  • Duck, Northern shoveller 2014
  • Duck, Wood 2014
  • Finch, House
  • Finch, Purple 2014
  • Flicker, Northern 2014
  • Flycatcher, Alder
  • Flycatcher, Great Crested 2014
  • Flycatcher, Least
  • Goldfinch, American 2014
  • Goose, Canada 2014
  • Grackle, Common 2014
  • Grosbeak, Rose-breasted
  • Gull, Ring-billed 2014
  • Harrier, Northern 2014
  • Hawk, Red-shouldered
  • Hawk, Red-tailed 2014
  • Hawk, Rough-legged 2014
  • Heron, Great Blue 2014
  • Heron, Green
  • Hummingbird, Ruby-throated 2014
  • Jay, Blue 2014
  • Killdeer 2014
  • Kingbird, Eastern 2014
  • Meadowlark, Eastern 2014
  • Merganser, Common 2014
  • Merlin
  • Nuthatch, Red-breasted
  • Nuthatch, White-breasted 2014
  • Oriole, Baltimore
  • Osprey 2014
  • Ovenbird
  • Peewee, Eastern Wood 2014
  • Phoebe, Eastern 2014
  • Pigeon, Rock 2014
  • Redstart, American
  • Robin, American 2014
  • Raven, Common
  • Sandpiper, Spotted 2014
  • Sapsucker, Yellow-bellied
  • Snipe, Wilson’s
  • Sparrow, Chipping 2014
  • Sparrow, Field 2014
  • Sparrow, Grasshopper 2014
  • Sparrow, House 2014
  • Sparrow, Savannah
  • Sparrow, Song 2014
  • Sparrow, White-crowned
  • Sparrow, White-throated
  • Starling, European 2014
  • Swallow, Bank 2014
  • Swallow, Barn 2014
  • Swallow, Tree 2014
  • Swallow, Northern Rough-wing
  • Swift, Chimney 2014
  • Thrasher, Brown 2014
  • Thrush, Hermit
  • Thrush, Wood
  • Turkey, Wild
  • Veery
  • Vireo, Red-eyed 2014
  • Vireo, Warbling
  • Vulture, Turkey 2014
  • Warbler, Black-and-white
  • Warbler, Black-throated Green
  • Warbler, Chestnut-sided
  • Warbler, Pine
  • Warbler, Yellow
  • Warbler, Yellow-rumped
  • Waxwing, Cedar 2014
  • Woodpecker, Downy
  • Woodpecker, Hairy 2014
  • Woodpecker, Pileated 2014
  • Wren, House 2014
  • Yellowthroat, Common 2014