Guelph Bird Day

Come celebrate World Migratory Bird Day with us on May 13th, 2023, at the University of Guelph Arboretum Centre from 9 am to 1 pm. Guelph Bird Day is a fun and educational event with guided bird walks, family-friendly activities, and free bird-themed swag. Participating local organizations include Wild Ontario (with their bird ambassadors!), Wild Birds Unlimited, Nature Guelph, the University of Guelph Sustainability Office, the UofG Biodiversity Inventory, and OPIRG Guelph.

Mid-May is peak migration time here in Guelph, so it’s a great time to experience our local bird communities! Join us for guided bird walks around the Arboretum, leaving at 9, 10, and 11 am, with accessible options.

The theme for World Migratory Bird Day 2023 is Water: Sustaining Bird Life, which aims to highlight the importance of water for migratory birds. All migratory birds rely on water at some point in their lives, for feeding, drinking, nesting, or refueling during migration. Around the world, aquatic ecosystems are facing threats including an increased human demand for water, pollution, and climate change. This year’s World Migratory Bird Day will bring awareness to these threats and what we can do to protect water resources and aquatic ecosystems.

Art by Augusto Silva

Guelph Bird Day 2022

The theme for World Migratory Bird Day in 2022 was light pollution. The majority of birds migrate at night, and artificial light from urban areas is dangerous for birds. Light pollution can attract and disorient migrating birds, making them more likely to crash into buildings. You can help keep birds safe right at home by shutting off or dimming lights at night, especially during migration season. See the list of Thing To Do On Bird Day for more suggestions on how to help. Below are just some of the species that migrate at night that you can help: Burrowing Owl, Black-crowned Night-Heron, the Ruddy Duck, the Baltimore Oriole Lesser, Wilson’s Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, and the Western Tanager.

Art credit Linda Nong
Photo credit Olivera White


Go birding in your neighborhood, or check out a new neighborhood in Guelph. If you can’t make it to the Great Canadian Birdathon, or to the University of Guelph Arboretum, see this list of birding hotspots around Wellington for ideas for where you can venture out to see local and migratory birds. Click here for more resources on birding in Guelph.

Take conservation action for birds. See the following suggestions from Nature Canada to help keep birds safe:
1. Reduce the amount of light outside your home and consider treating your windows. Turn off all non-essential nighttime lights. For essential lights, such as security lighting, use timers or motion detectors to keep usage to a minimum. Always use the minimum wattage necessary.
2. Change the colour of your lights from cooler tones to warm lighting. Studies suggest that green and blue light attracts more nocturnally migrating birds than red, orange, or yellow light. Use light bulbs that emit warm lighting to minimise disturbance to birds.
3. Direct lighting downward. Place lights towards the floor or ground and use lighting shields to prevent escaping light to be emitted into the sky. 
4. Share the message to “dim the lights for birds at night.” Share these messages through social media and with your community to increase awareness of this important issue by hosting a World Migratory Bird Day event 
5. Add your name to help show the federal government that actions are needed to restore healthy and thriving bird populations throughout Canada.

Play Bird Day Bingo. Print out this Bingo sheet and take it with you on your bird walk. Try to complete a row, a diagonal, or even every square!
Click to download!

Bird Word Search.
Answers included on second page! Click here to download!

Bird Colouring Pages.
Click the image to open and print.

Bird dot-to-dot pages
Swallow dot-to-dot
Wild turkey dot-to-dot
Mute swan dot-to-dot
Mallard dot-to-dot
House sparrow dot-to-dot
Blue-jay dot-to-dot

Resources from World Migratory Bird Day, and Artwork by Omar Custodio Azabache. Guelph Bird Day logo by Linda Nong.

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