Hamilton Halton Brant is the place to walk along escarpment trails to see birds soaring on thermal drafts, traipse along trails to see feathered friends on the banks of a meromictic lake, or spot birds of prey swirling overhead. Bird watching in our region offers a variety of habitats, enabling birders to see a broad range of species. The beauty of birding is that an amateur has just as good a chance at making that rare bird sighting as a professional, and if you bring your binoculars to these six birding hotspots, you’re sure to add to your Life List.

  • 1

    Three Hundred Species at Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington

    The birding experience at Royal Botanical Gardens can be as relaxing as watching nighthawks and swifts during the evening summer music series in Hendrie Park, or as dramatic as a hike out to the Spencer Creek delta to see thousands of swallows and blackbirds. Common species include Broadwing Hawks during Rock Garden tulips, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks during Arboretum lilacs, Baltimore Orioles during Laking Garden irises, and Chimney Swifts during Hendrie Park roses.

    The Gardens’ Cootes Paradise is a nationally designated Important Bird Area (IBA) and provides easy access to some of the most diverse birding in Ontario. Annually about 300 species can be observed, with four of the busiest and most rewarding birding months being April, May, September and October. Its most easily accessible site is Princess Point at the southeast corner of the marsh, while its most spectacular and isolated location is the Marsh Boardwalk Platform overlooking the Spencer Creek delta. Concentrations of birds and species at this location are often awe-inspiring, and lucky watchers might catch sight of the year round resident Bald Eagles. Check RBG’s website for trail maps to guide you along its more than 27 kilometres of nature trails.

  • 2

    Birds of Prey at Mountsberg Conservation Area, Halton

    Native birds of prey are the stars at Mountsberg, where the Raptor Centre is home to 15 different species, including eagles, owls, falcons, hawks and vultures. Many of the birds that call the Centre home have experienced injuries that have left them incapable of surviving on their own in the wild. Birds of Prey shows, held daily during July and August and on weekends and holidays throughout the year, are a chance to see the birds up close. Photography enthusiasts can participate in a one-hour Raptors In Focus workshop to take truly one-of-a-kind photos with the feathered ambassadors, and Raptor Encounters by reservation allow you to get nose-to-beak with some of the resident birds.

    The reservoir at Mountsberg is another birding spot, and an excellent area for waterfowl migration in spring and fall. Species commonly seen in large numbers include American Wigeon, Rig-necked Ducks and Ruddy Ducks. One of the more interesting breeding species in the reservoir is the Least Bittern, a nationally and provincially threatened species. Mountsberg is also a good place to observe migrating warblers in spring throughout its wooded areas.

  • 3

    Turkey Vultures at Mount Nemo, Rattlesnake Point and Crawford Lake Conservation Area, Halton

    At Mount Nemo Conservation Area, the thermal updrafts and air currents off the Niagara Escarpment create a perfect playground for turkey vultures. Hiking the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail between Crawford Lake and Rattlesnake Point Conservation Areas is another spot where you can look up to watch these prehistoric-looking birds that glide on their six-foot wingspan for up to six hours.

  • 4

    Forest Breeding Birds at Hilton Falls Conservation Area, Milton

    With its diversity of habitats, including forest, marsh, swamp, valley and cliff, Hilton Falls provides great birding opportunities. This area of contiguous forest is habitat for forest breeding birds, such as Brown Creeper, Veery, Scarlet Tanager, Pileated Woodpecker, Black-and-White Warbler, and Black-throated Green Warbler. Head to the area’s network of wetlands to spot species like the Pied-billed Grebe, Virginia Rail, Sora, Wood Duck, American Coot, Marsh Wren, and Osprey. The threatened Least Bittern has also been known to breed here, and the deep valleys and fast moving water provide ideal habitat for the rare Louisiana Waterthrush.

  • 5

    Pelagic Birds at Fifty Point Conservation Area, Hamilton

    For years, Fifty Point Conservation Area has been the best-kept secret in the world of birding. The shoreline area provides a perfect spot for nesting, making this one of the best places in North America to view pelagic birds (ocean birds or birds that spend most of their time on large open bodies of water) in a fresh water location.

    This Important Birding Area (IBA) regularly supports globally significant numbers of several duck species from fall through spring, including Greater Scaup, Long-tailed Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, and Red-breasted Mergansers. White-winged Scoters and Red-necked Grebes regularly occur in continentally significant numbers and in some years at globally significant levels.

    The area has a migratory bird lookout platform that gives observers great views of ducks, gulls and shorebirds. Bird watchers “flock” here in November and December, when birds from the Arctic migrate through the area and Long-tailed Jaegers, Pomarine Jaegers, Sabine Gulls and Kittiwakes — birds that are very difficult to find anywhere in Ontario — can be found.

  • 6

    The Grand River, Cambridge to Paris

    There are excellent birding opportunities in the Grand River watershed, where more than 300 bird species have been recorded, including many rare species. Hot spots include an 18-kilometre stretch that runs from four kilometres north of Paris to Cambridge, and includes Pinehurst Lake Park and The Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail. A total of 119 species of birds have been recorded in this area, where Carolinian forests are habitat for yellow-billed and black-billed cuckoo, pileated woodpecker, blue-gray gnatcatcher, wood thrush, ovenbird, and scarlet tanager. Large raptors include bald eagle, Cooper’s hawk, and sharp-shinned hawk.

    An area canoe, kayak or raft outfitter can help you spot great blue herons, bald eagles, egrets and more on guided trips. Grand Experiences, Grand River Rafting and Heritage River Canoe and Kayak Co. all provide expert guidance and the gear you need for a great trip.

Birding is a great way to get out and enjoy nature, and Hamilton Halton Brant is home to some of Canada’s most beloved natural landscapes. Once you’ve hit these hotspots, be sure to get out and explore all of our other natural areas or head out on one of many outdoor adventures in the region.

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Now thru December 31

Virtual Tour – Hamilton & Scourge War Ships

Hamilton Civic Museums

Throughout the City of Hamilton, Hamilton, ON, L8R 2K1

Now thru December 25

ORCHARD EXPERIENCE PACKAGE!

West Avenue Cider House

84 Concession Rd 8 E, Freelton, ON L0R 1K0

Purchase Online

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AGH at Home

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4S8

Some activities are free while others have a cost attached to the link.

Now thru January 3

Victorian Christmas

Dundurn Castle – National Historic Site

610 York Boulevard, Hamilton, ON

12:00 PM to 4:00 PM - Adults: $14, Seniors/Youth: $12, Children: $8, Infants: Free, Family:...

Now thru March 21

Family Weekend Getaway – Nature’s Escape

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Trip available on Friday, Saturday or Sunday November 28 to March 21. Cost: $449

December 19

Family Fun Day: Family Solstice Celebration

Royal Botanical Gardens

16 Old Guelph Road, Burlington, ON

December 19, 2020 at 6:00 pm for approx 2+ hours Fee: $12 Child (4 to...

Now thru November 29

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

Drury Lane Theatrical Productions

2269 New Street, Burlington, ON, L7R 1J4

Evenings 8 PM Oct 30, 31, Nov 6, 7, 12, 13, 14,19, 20, 21, 26,...

Now thru April 30

Nith River Forest Hiking Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Trip offered on Saturday, Sunday or Monday from October 3, 2020 to April 30, 2021....

Now thru December 31

PRIVATE GROUP BEER TOURS – GROUPS OF 8+

Original Hamilton Beer Tours

5 Hamilton St. N; Hamilton, Ontario, L0R 2H0

4 to 9 hours Price: From $105 per person + HST Contact to arrange your...

Now thru December 31

Virtual Tour – Griffin House

Griffin House – National Historic Site

733 Mineral Springs Road, Ancaster, ON, L9H 1A1

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A Night with Nickelbrook

Nickel Brook Brewery

864 Drury Lane, Burlington, ON, L7R 2Y4

Order between the hours of 11am-4pm and your order will be ready for pick up...

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Go Karts and Paintball Fun

Cameron Speedway & Amusements

2633 Upper James St. Mount Hope , ON L0R 1W0

Mon - SUN: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm All prices are per driver, no splitting...

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