OFO Young Birders

Alan Wormington Memorial Camp for Young Birders and Naturalists

About the Camp

August 15 - 22, 2020 - Up to 14 campers, aged 13-18 - Cost $950.00

Each summer for the past three years, a group of teenaged birders and naturalists converged at Algonquin Provincial Park for a week of discovery and professional development under the guidance of seasoned naturalists and researchers. Birding is the primary focus, but all areas of natural history are explored amid the varied forest, meadow and wetland habitats in the park.

Algonquin is the oldest and best-known of Ontario’s provincial parks. With its high altitude and location near the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, the Park has a distinctly northern flavour. Its pine forests, spruce bogs, rocky bluffs, and myriad lakes and rivers have collectively been the setting for world-class wildlife research since 1944 when the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station opened. This will be your home base for the week, meaning there will be many opportunities to interact with the station’s resident researchers.

In late August, bird migration is well underway as roving family groups of warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and nuthatches join large mixed flocks to forage in dizzying displays of colour and movement. Boreal residents like Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Canada Jay, Spruce Grouse, and both crossbills are particular targets. With so much field time, you have many chances to encounter Moose, Beavers, Snowshoe Hares, and other mammals.

Algonquin has a rich history of nature exploration, education, and research. Be part of that story this summer.

Register here or email youngbirders@ofo.ca for more information.

Activities

The diverse slate of activities includes:

  • Early-morning and afternoon birding
  • A private wolf howl
  • Insect collecting and pinning with a professional entomologist
  • An in-field photography workshop with a professional nature photographer
  • Field observation and sketching with a professional nature artist
  • An exclusive tour of the Visitor Centre’s extensive specimen collection
  • Two nights of camping and canoeing among the unique pine-filled forests of Algonquin’s east side

Activities will be adjusted according to the interests of the campers. In previous years, campers have done herping, mammal tracking, mushrooming, dragonflying and mothing. Between scheduled activities, campers enjoy plenty of free exploration time and can swim and canoe in the small private lake at the Wildlife Research Station.

Leaders

Lynne Freeman has been a birder for over thirty years and specializes in breeding bird surveys and ecology. Lynne is the President of OFO and is passionate about the encouragement of young people to explore and understand nature and the environment.

Gisbert Segler is a life-long birder has explored Algonquin Park for over 20 years. He excels in field craft and observation skills.

Ian Shanahan spent four seasons as a Park Naturalist at Algonquin, including a stint as Naturalist Heritage Education Specialist. He is an all-round naturalist with particular interest in observing and sketching birds and other winged beings. After two years as Co-editor of OFO News, Ian became the General Editor of the environmental education magazine Green Teacher.

Angela Skevington is a teacher and certified Outdoor Education teacher. Angela has canoed all over Canada including the far North and is an avid naturalist.

Jeff Skevington is a Research Scientist and the Head of Diptera (flies) at the Canadian National Collection of Insects in Ottawa. Jeff spent six seasons as a Park Naturalist at Algonquin and is an expert on all facets of natural history. He regularly leads tours for Ontario Field Naturalists.

Camper Testimonials

A new-found love for Algonquin has been established. – Q.W., 2017

I highly recommend the camp to anyone, no matter how strong their birding interest is! – G.M., 2018

I now have unbreakable friendships, expanded knowledge, and thousands of photos. – L.L., 2018

Each member of the group brought different knowledge and experiences with them. – I.H., 2019

Accomodations

Campers will stay in rustic cabins at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station (algonquinwrs.ca) in the heart of the park. Set beside a small private lake in a mature forest teaming with wildlife, the station is a hub for wildlife researchers and a perfect base for exploring Algonquin Park’s natural environment.

Key locations and habitats

Algonquin is a rich mosaic of habitats, each with a different species mix.

Campers will explore:

  • WRS and area
  • Old airfield
  • Mizzy Lake Trail (section)
  • Spruce Bog Trail
  • Visitor Centre
  • Bat Lake Trail
  • Achray and the Barron Canyon

Species Targets

Bird targets

  • Barred Owl
  • Boreal specialities: Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Canada Jay, Spruce Grouse
  • Finches: Evening Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Flycatchers: Up to 8 species
  • Warblers: ~20 species
  • Rusty Blackbird

Mammal targets

  • American Marten
  • Canadian Beaver
  • American Black Bear
  • Eastern Wolf
  • Moose
  • Northern Flying Squirrel
  • Northern River Otter
  • Red Fox
  • Snowshoe Hare
  • Woodland Jumping Mouse

Reptile and Amphibian targets

  • Northern Ringneck Snake
  • Mink Frog
  • Pickerel Frog
  • Northern Two-lined Salamander

Butterfly targets

  • Aphrodite Fritillary
  • Atlantis Fritillary
  • Green Comma
  • Grey Comma
  • Leonard’s Skipper
  • Monarch
  • Pink-edged Sulphur

Odonata targets

  • Black-shouldered Spinyleg
  • Calico Pennant
  • Dancers: Powdered and Violet
  • Darners: Black-tipped, Canada, Green-striped, Lake, Shadow, Variable
  • Dragonhunter
  • Fawn Darner
  • Jewelwings: Ebony and River
  • Meadowhawks: Autumn, Band-winged, Cherry-faced, Saffron-winged
  • Ocellated Darner
  • Stream Bluet
  • Swift River Cruiser
  • Zebra Clubtail

About Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO)

Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO) was formed in 1982 to unify the ever-growing numbers of birders (ornithologists) across the province, and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information among its members. OFO provides over 70 field trips and workshops each year and publishes Ontario Birds and OFO News. Each year its convention brings together over 200 birders from across Ontario. Through the Ontario Rare Bird Committee (OBRC), Ontario maintains the official Ontario bird list.

To register

Register here or email youngbirders@ofo.ca for more information.


Ring-necked-Snakes---Jeff-Skevington.JPG Ring-necked-Snakes---Jeff-Skevington.JPG


Photography-at-Provoking-Falls.JPG Photography-at-Provoking-Falls.JPG


Field-sketching---Jeff-Skevington.JPG Field-sketching---Jeff-Skevington.JPG


Feeding-Canada-Jays---Jeff-Skevington.JPG Feeding-Canada-Jays---Jeff-Skevington.JPG


Black-shouldered-Spinylegs-at-Basin-Road---Ian-Shanahan.JPG Black-shouldered-Spinylegs-at-Basin-Road---Ian-Shanahan.JPG


Mothing-with-Baz-Conlin---Jeff-Skevington.JPG Mothing-with-Baz-Conlin---Jeff-Skevington.JPG