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Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at Tommy Thompson Park Spring Bird Festival

May 05, 2010

(TORONTO, May 05, 2010) -  Cape May, Nashville, Kentucky and Tennessee.  These are a few namesakes of warblers, tiny songbirds that migrate annually through Toronto.  Tommy Thompson Park, also known as the Leslie Street Spit, is the best place in the city to experience the breathtaking beauty of these songbirds.  You may also get a chance to look a Broad-winged Hawk straight in the eye, see a Turkey Vulture strike a pose or watch a Great Horned Owl from only a few feet away. These are just a few things that make the Tommy Thompson Park Spring Bird Festival special. It's also an opportunity to learn about songbird migration and conservation, go on a birding hike and participate in a workshop.  Best of all, birds are fascinating to watch and with over 317 bird species recorded at Tommy Thompson Park, everyone is sure to be inspired.

Participants at this year's event include Ontario Nature, Birds & Beans, Project CHIRP!, Toronto Ornithological Club, and Toronto Field Naturalists.  The Spring Bird Festival is sponsored by Ontario Power Generation.

Join Councillor Paula Fletcher, Waterfront Toronto and the TRCA to celebrate the bird festival and unveiling of the new TTP infrastructure designs.  "Waterfront Toronto is pleased to be partnering with Toronto and Region Conservation to improve Tommy Thompson Park.  The Gateway, Environmental Shelter, Bird Banding Station and Staff Booth will be beautiful and sustainable additions to the park that will support its cutting-edge migratory bird research, and provide much needed public facilities to enhance the user's experience of this waterfront treasure." said John Campbell, Waterfront Toronto, President and CEO.

"I hope that every Torontonian knows about this unique gem in City's backyard." said City of Toronto Councillor Paula Fletcher.  "Birdwatching is one of the fastest-growing outdoor hobbies.  It's easy, inexpensive and relaxing.  The infrastructure is the next step that will ensure everyone has an enjoyable experience while visiting this exceptional urban wilderness."

"The new infrastructure will allow us to better manage TTP and truly realize the Master Plan vision of a unique urban wilderness park." said Brian Denney, CAO, Toronto and Region Conservation. 

WHEN:   May 8, 2010, open to everyone and FREE!

 WHAT:  Tommy Thompson Park Spring Bird Festival

Live bird demonstrations by University of Guelph Wildlife Education and Environmental Programs (WEEP); guided birding hikes; family nature walk; birding by bike tour; live bird banding demonstrations; tree, shrub and wildflower plantings; children's activities: scavenger hunt, birdbox building; interpretive displays on bird identification, bird migration, conservation, wetland ecosystems, and healthy yards; workshops: nature sketching, nature photography, bird gardening; Bateman's Get to Know launch; and various bird viewing areas throughout the park.

WHERE: Tommy Thompson Park, at the foot of Leslie Street, south of Lake Shore Blvd East. Free (but limited) parking is available at the TTP parking lot or on Unwin Avenue.  Shuttle buses, including the OPG electric bus, run throughout the festival area, but everyone should be prepared to walk.  Private vehicles and pets are not permitted in the park. 

 TIMES:  7:00 am - 8:45 am - Early Bird Hikes, leaving every 15 minutes from the front gate.  Please register for hikes online at

  7:00 am - 1:00 pm - Bird Banding Demonstrations at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)

8:00 am - 4 pm - Tommy Thompson Park Spring Bird Festival - displays, kids activities

10:00 am - TTP Infrastructure Unveiling

10:30 am - Bateman's Get to Know Contest Launch

10:30 am - 11:15 am - Baselands Walk

10:00 am - 2 pm - University of Guelph WEEP

10:00 am - Bird Gardening Workshop

11:00 am - Family Nature Hike

11:00 am - Basics of Birdathoning Workshop

11:30 am - Nature Sketching Workshop with Nola McConnan

12:30 pm - Birding by Bike Tour

1:00 pm - Spring Butterfly Walk

2:00 pm - Colonial Waterbird Hike

2:00 pm - Bird Gardening Workshop

2:30 pm - Tree & Shrub ID Workshop

"We're thrilled to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the TTP Important Bird Area designation and the 10th annual Spring Bird Festival on International Migratory Bird Day" said Brian Denney, CAO, Toronto and Region Conservation. "Bird migration is a truly miraculous phenomenon, and TTP provides critical habitat for birds to rest and refuel on their long journeys from the tropics to Toronto and beyond." 

"At Ontario Power Generation, we are committed to helping create and care for wetlands, woodlands, greenspaces and habitats like Tommy Thompson Park," said Steve Hounsell, OPG Environmental Advisor. "We're proud to support this wonderful and important festival once again."

Tommy Thompson Park is located on a manmade peninsula that extends five kilometres into Lake Ontario and has evolved into the largest greenspace on the central Toronto Waterfront.  The park has been colonized by an impressive variety of plant and animal communities, and provides critical habitat for migrating birds, butterflies and nesting colonial waterbirds. Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) owns the land and water bodies at Tommy Thompson Park and is dedicated to the understanding, protection, and awareness of birds in Toronto.

TOMMY THOMPSON PARK BIRD RESEARCH STATION:   The station monitors migrating birds through bird banding.  Morning visitors to the station will have an opportunity to see birds up close, in the hand, as TRCA staff conduct their research activities.  TRCA encourages all festival-goers to participate in the annual Baillie Birdathon where birdathoners are sponsored on a flat rate or a per species basis and tally as many bird species as possible in a 24-hour period.  The Birdathon provides critical funds for TTPBRS operations, and contributes to bird conservation nationally and internationally through Bird Studies Canada.   Birdathoners learn and have fun birdwatching and win prizes for their efforts!  Since 2006 more than $40,000 has been raised for bird conservation in Toronto.

ROBERT BATEMAN GET TO KNOW:   Robert Bateman launched the Get to Know Contest in 2000 to inspire Canadian youth to "get to know their wild neighbors" by getting outdoors and actively connecting with nature.  The Contest provides young people with the opportunity to use their creative abilities, be it art, writing or photography, to develop a broader understanding and appreciation of the natural world.  Winners of the 2010 Get to Know Contest will receive prizes, including a one-week stay at the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. Other prizes include Panasonic digital cameras; art supplies from Opus; books from Scholastic; and the publication of winning art and writing pieces in the 2011 Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest Calendar. Entries can be submitted online at, between April 22 and May 28.  The Contest will be launched in Toronto at the Tommy Thompson Park Spring Bird Festival.  There will be great raffle prizes to be won by people in attendance!


Toronto and Region Conservation

With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at or



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Elizabeth Oakley
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