The Wild Side, Part Four
Published August 26, 2012
By Margaret Munro
PORT ROWAN, Ont. – Jody Allair isn’t out of his truck two minutes when he tilts his head ever so slightly and picks up the song of a hooded warbler.
“There’s the male,” he says, as a tiny yellow bird flits away in the maples overhead.
Then Allair ducks into the forest, skips across a swampy patch and gingerly approaches a small shrub looking for the female. He gives the thumbs up.
“She’s sitting on the nest looking at us right now,” he whispers, pointing at what looks like a clump of dead leaves.
But Allair knows his birds – and he really knows “hoodies,” having spent 10 years with Bird Studies Canada helping document the hooded warbler’s remarkable recovery.
Sure enough, there is a female on a nest less than a metre off the ground.
Hooded warblers used to be one of Canada’s rarest birds. Fifteen years ago, there were believed to be about 100 breeding pairs in the country.
But the hoodies’ fortunes have improved – dramatically. The population is now estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,000 adult hooded warblers in Canada, and wildlife experts are recommending the hooded warbler be dropped from the list of 650 species at risk in Canada. Continue reading