Riverwood plays host to approximately 150 species of birds, the vast majority of which are classified as passerines. Passerines are perching birds. Their toes have been modified in such a way that when the birds perches on a branch, the toes lock automatically so that the bird will not fall off. They have three toes pointing forward and one pointing backwards.
Perching birds are some of our more familiar birds. We sometimes refer to the group as songbirds, although some, such as the American crow, hardly sing at all. Some of these birds are more recognizable than others. Robins, blue jays, sparrows, black-capped chickadees, and red-winged black birds are just a few of the species we see almost daily.
Among this group of passerines are some of the more colourful birds at our feeder: northern cardinal, American goldfinch, indigo bunting, and Baltimore oriole. Most passerines are shades of brown and grey. There are more than 5,000 recognized species of passerines alive today. That is a little more than half the known species of birds in the world, and they can be found on every continent – even Antarctica!
Most passerines are small to medium size birds, ranging in size from the chickadee to the raven. A few species have evolved to live closely with humans. The house sparrow and the starling, both introduced to North America from Europe, rely on humans for food. In fact, house sparrows are never found far from human settlements.
Some however are quite wild, and bird watchers will have to work hard to spot them. Others such as the American robin will come readily to our lawns and feeders. But don’t let that fool you; robins can live right up the edge of the tundra in some of Canada’s most remote areas.
The video above features some of the species that make Riverwood their home. All the birds filmed nest here and can be spotted from May to early August, with the exception of warblers that often pass through Mississauga on their migration route, but some do nest here as well.
Have you spotted any of these birds in your neighbourhood? Let us know in the comments.