Norfolk County offers a wide variety of unique birding experiences.

Some highlights include the Long Point Bay area, which is an important site for many species of North America’s waterfowl, the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site, and a variety of non-coastal locations that provide important foraging and migratory stopover sites. 

Norfolk County is also home to Bird Studies Canada, located in the coastal community of Port Rowan.  Bird Studies Canada has a mission to “advance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, in Canada and elsewhere, through studies that engage the skills, enthusiasm, and support of its members, volunteers, and the interested public.”


Many of the birding sites located throughout Norfolk County are located along hiking trails. The ‘Trail Safety” section provided for hiking trails should be considered for all birding outings to ensure a safe and enjoyable birding experience.  

When to go

  • Visiting Norfolk County in the spring offers birders the opportunity to view impressive warbler migrations and the great hawk flights.
  • The Tundra Swan migration also occurs in the spring.  Large numbers of Tundra Swans can be seen in the Long Point area during a stop over as they make their spring migration.
  • From early April to mid June the Long Point Bird Observatory performs bird banding. Later in the fall, owl banding also occurs.
  • All seasons offer excellent birding opportunities, Long Point also has one of the highest winter bird occurrences in eastern Canada

Birding Tips

  • Birding can be as simple as walking along a trail and noting the birds that cross your path or as complex as setting out to see a specific species in a specific habitat during a particular time. Determining your birding goals ahead of time will dictate the planning and equipment necessary to make your experience all the more enjoyable.  The following checklist can help you determine and reach your birding goals:
  • Identify you birding goal:
    • Some simple research ahead of time can help you decide on a goal that you may wish to reach. Whether it is to see a large number of a certain species, a certain number in a time period, one specific bird or large numbers of different species; by setting a goal or deciding on a purpose for your birding outing, you can ensure that you are prepared ahead of time. 
    • Choose your location
      • Once you have set your goal it will be easier to determine which location might best suit your needs.  The location that you choose for your birding activities will greatly differ depending on your interests. For instance, if you’re interested in spotting migratory waterfowl, it might be best to choose a wetland area for your birding activities. 
      • Gather the necessary supplies:
        • You can easily go on a birding hike or walk without any specific supplies. However, to enhance your birding experience you might want to consider bringing some of the following:
          • Field guide: A field guide is a useful tool to bring along on your birding adventure because it will help you to identify and locate different species. A good guide book is one that is compact, easy to read and navigate, geographically covers the area that you’re interested in and has photographs to help you identify different species.
          • Binoculars: A pair of binoculars can enhance your birding experience by allowing you to observe from a distance. It’s a good idea to consider bringing a carrying case or neck strap for when you’re not using them. Also consider a waterproof lens coating if you are birding in a wet marsh area.
          • Spotting scope: A spotting scope can be a useful tool to bring if you know that you will be observing from a great distance. Spotting scopes offer greater magnification than binoculars and can usually be set up on a tripod. While ideal for birding in more open areas, a spotting scope is not ideal to bring birding in a dense forest setting.
          • Field bag: It’s a good idea to bring along a field bag on any birding hike to store things like your field guide or binoculars and since you have a field bag or backpack why not add a few other essentials while you’re at it, like:
            • Water
            • Cell phone
            • Note book
            • Sunscreen
            • Insect spray
            • Sunglasses
            • Snacks
            • Trail map
  • Timing is everything:
    • Birding doesn’t have to be a game of chance. By doing a little research ahead of time you can determine when you are likely to see the birds that you’re interested in spotting. A number of factors including: season, habitat, time of day and foraging patterns can all play into the timing of your birding excursion.

Are you New to Birding?

Birding can be a very rewarding activity, however if it’s a new hobby it can also be frustrating at times. Keep the following tips in mind if you’re new to the hobby:

  • Patience: This is key in making any birding hike an enjoyable one.  While you can plan out your birding hike in detail, birds are still often quite unpredictable. Instead of becoming frustrated or bored with a lack of bird sightings, be patient and appreciate your beautiful surroundings.
  •  Observant: Simply walking along a trail does not guarantee any bird sightings. It is important to be observant of your surroundings to spot species that might easily blend in with tall grasses or trees.
  •  Be aware of your environment: When hiking along designated trails and pathways it’s important to remember to stay on the designated trails and not wonder off into the surrounding area. This can cause serious harm to natural habitat. Instead, stay on the trails and use your binoculars to make your observations.
  • Have fun: Many birders record the species that they observe in the wild. This can be a fun and rewarding practice if you are new to birding. Bring a notebook and record the species that you spot. It can be very satisfying to watch how quickly that list can grow! 

Links and Resources:

Bird Studies Canada
P.O. Box 160, 115 Front Street
Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0
Ph. 888-448-2473
Fax 519-586-3532
Bird Studies Canada Latest News: 

Villa Nova Birding:

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