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Our appreciation  to Paul Jones, Mike V.A. Burrell, Richard K. Cooper, Sumiko Onishi and all the bird photographers who shared their work in these pages.

WELCOME TO THE PELEE ISLAND BIRD OBSERVATORY

The Pelee Island Bird Observatory (PIBO) is uniquely situated on the most southerly island in Canada, nestled in the western arc of Lake Erie, between the mainlands of Ohio and Ontario, but most importantly, in the path of two major migratory flyways for songbirds that winter in Central and South America and breed in Ontario. Among PIBO’s many research and outreach projects, PIBO conducts annual migration counts and bird banding. We also monitor the island’s significant breeding bird communities. Our online newsletter, The Auspice, provides migration summaries, records unusual bird sightings, bird population declines, and other birding news. And our downloadable bird checklist highlights the impressive range of birds that visit Pelee Island, including several Species at Risk and those that have limited breeding ranges in Ontario. Find out more about Who We Are and What We Do—and what YOU can do to help protect birds and bird habitat in southeastern Ontario

Play Video about video-Introduction to PIBO

Did you know?

Although it has long been thought that chickens were domesticated from red jungle fowl some 10,000 years ago, new studies show that domestication was much more recent, taking place around 1250 BCE, on rice farms in central Thailand.

Traders brought the ornamental birds to Europe around 800 BCE, but they weren’t raised as food for another 1,100 years. The first evidence of chicken and egg consumption shows up about 300 CE, when Romans brought chickens to the British Isles to feed their armies.

Upcoming and Noteworthy

Meet the Monitors

Working with PIBO this summer are two University of Windsor students, Dante Bresolin and Andrea Hevia. Dante is a B.Sc. graduate in Integrated Biology, and is interested in the overlap of science and art. As an undergrad, they created a digital art presentation for the Healthy Headwaters Lab called “How a Leaf Becomes a Bird,” showing “the importance of forested streams for supporting several species at risk in Ontario,” including swallows, Louisiana waterthrushes, and Prothonotary warblers.

Andrea is completing a degree in forensic science, and has experience working with animals in labs, performing necropsies and surgeries. She and Dante are assisting PIBO’s Bird Friendly Windsor program, distributing Feather Friendly window kits to downtown businesses, and monitoring the number of bird-window collisions that occur in the city centre. “With my forensics background,” says Andrea, “I have a strong stomach.”

Dante Bresolin
Dante Bresolin

A Pelee Island First

On May 13, a Swainson’s warbler was caught in a mist net at the PIBO banding station, the first to be seen on Pelee Island. Swainson’s warblers are rarely found north of the rhododendron thickets in the Appalatians, from where they mirgrate south to Jamaica and the Yucatán Peninsula. Such unusual sightings are important records for determining the effects of changing weather and migration patterns.

Windsor – A Bird Friendly City!

In 2019, Nature Canada signed an agreement with Environment and Climate Change Canada to certify 30 Canadian centres as “Bird Friendly Cities” by May 14, 2022 — this year’s World Migratory Bird Day. Led by Suzanne Friemann, PIBO and a small committee of staff and volunteers worked hard to put Windsor on the Bird Friendly City map, hosting dozens of events and developing education programs. Their efforts paid off: on June 16, Nature Canada declared Windsor to be Canada’s 16th Bird Friendly City.

Strike Up the Band!

Our spring bird banding begins with the spring migration in the second week of May, and continues until the end of June. During spring migration last year, we monitored 185 species, from Blue-grey gnatcatchers to Sawhet owls to American White pelicans. Our banding station is open to the public, and we encourage visitors to the island to come and watch our staff and volunteers as they work. We’re always eager to demonstrate and explain PIBO’s role in Ontario’s network of bird-protecting observatories.
Photo credit: Paul Jones