Riverwood is home to approximately 180 species of resident and migratory birds. No matter the season, you'll find a variety of birds that are worth pausing your walk for. And holding up a bit of birdseed has been known to draw some peckish (get it?) chickadees right into our visitors' hands.
Some of the birds that call Riverwood home include: Wood ducks, mallards, common loons, great blue herons, spotted sandpipers, red-tailed hawks, ospreys, turkey vultures, great horned owls, blue jays, white-breasted nuthatches, dark-eyed juncos, northern cardinals, mourning doves, pileated woodpeckers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and common nighthawks. A full list of common and notable species you could spot at Riverwood is available here.
Many of us have been indoors longer than we’d like because of COVID-19, and there may be a need for that trend to continue, at least in the short term. Connections to nature are vital to our physical and mental wellbeing and that those connections can, and must, continue even when more of our lives are spent in a virtual space. So we created a virtual tour of the park with a focus on birds!
The Riverwood Virtual Birding Tour guides you along the park’s trails to highlight areas where 14 bird species can be found. Each stop on the tour focuses on one species, describing its’ appearance, size, diet, and some fun facts. Pictures, videos, and audio clips of bird calls are also included.
The beautiful bird species at Riverwood often inspire people to care for them. Sometimes, however, efforts to help end up doing more harm than good. Our staff often finds human or pet food placed in the bird feeders. Human food such as bread, noodles, and sugary snacks, or pet food like dog treats and pet bird seed, are unhealthy for wild birds and wildlife in general. It can lead to poor nutrition, spread disease, and create unnatural food-finding behaviours.
One of the things that makes Riverwood so remarkable is that it offers plentiful food sources, naturally, to animals in the middle of the city. We understand the concern visitors have to supporting our wildlife, and we recognize intentions are usually good, but not just anything should go into our feeders – or into your palm if you’re looking to hand-feed a bird.
If you would like to satisfy the hunger of wild birds at Riverwood, please use unsalted black oil sunflower seed. You can learn more about best practices for feeding birds here.
The Riverwood Conservancy is fortunate to have two expert birders, Luc Fazio and Dan Salisbury, routinely volunteer their knowledge on bird hikes at Riverwood, as well as at J.C. Saddington Park in Port Credit. Bird Hikes happen throughout the year and are free for the public to attend. Have a look at our events calendar to register for an upcoming bird hike. Be sure to dress for the weather and bring a pair of binoculars, if possible.
Created in 2017, the Armstrong Wild Bird Trek continues to draw both birds and birders alike. The walk begins at the MacEwan Field Station, continues past a deep water-cut ravine, follows a raised boardwalk, and heads down to the Credit River along established trails. Interpretive signs will help you identify birds that you’re likely to see in the different habitats found along the walk. You can create a loop trail for walking by linking the Armstrong Bird Trek route with the Culham Trail.
Volunteers from The Riverwood Conservancy place bird food provided by Armstrong Milling in bird feeders along the Trek route throughout the year. The best times for birding along the Armstrong Wild Bird Trek are late fall, winter, and early spring. Birds are less reliant on the feeders in summer, but more nesting migrant species of birds can be seen.
Our thanks to Armstrong Milling for their ongoing supports the Armstrong Wild Bird Trek at Riverwood.