In winter, the Niagara River comes alive with several species of migratory birds that make it their home during this time of the year. Thousands of birds especially gulls and waterfowl flock to the river for overwintering during November, December and early January, depending on weather conditions.
Locals as well as bird watchers from all over the world come to the Niagara River every year with their binoculars and scopes to catch sightings of these birds. On December 5 this year, bird lovers gathered along the Niagara River to witness the spectacular sighting of the birds. The tour was led by John Black, former professor and co-author of the book Niagara Birds, and Dan Salisbury, an avid birder from Niagara. Through the expert guidance of the tour leaders, visitors saw a variety of birds.
Bird Watching on the Niagara River
The Niagara River, designated an Important Bird Area in 1996, has attracted more than 21 species of gulls over the years. A paradise for over-wintering birds, the Niagara River was the first site to be identified jointly by both the Canada and the U.S. as a globally significant Important Bird Area. It has one of the most diverse sightings of gulls in the world and has had counts of over 100,000 individual birds in a day. Other birds that frequent the area include vultures, loons, swans, grebes, bald eagles and peregrine falcons.
The birds migrate from northern Canada, Greenland and the Arctic to the open waters of the Niagara down south. The Niagara River corridor offers these birds food in the form of alewives, shiners and other tiny fish that are found in the free-flowing open water. The river is very important for the survival of these birds and that is why the migration is a ritual that the birds perform year after year.
Niagara Bird Watching Tour
The tour was a perfect opportunity to understand the importance of the Niagara River for these birds as well as spot many different species. Several visitors had brought their own binoculars while scopes also helped to take a closer look at the birds. Several photo opportunities are available of birds in the scenic settings of the river.
These birds can be seen on self guided tours--simply visit the Niagara Gorge during these months and you will be able to see this majestic birds along the Niagara River.