Point Pelee National Park of Canada

Fall Migration

Every autumn, Point Pelee National Park and vicinity is visited by enormous numbers of migrant birds. Unlike spring, when most species are brilliantly coloured and singing vigorously, the autumn migrants are generally dull plumaged and, except for call notes, usually silent. However, this migration of most species is a less hurried affair than the frenzied northbound movement of birds in the spring. Autumn migration is actually evident as early as the end of June and as late as mid-December. Remarkably, such species as greater yellowlegs and yellow-rumped warblers have autumn migration periods covering five and four months respectively. Extended migration periods allow even the most casual observer to study species otherwise "missed" during the spring migration. For example, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, red-necked phalarope, long-billed dowitcher, northern saw-whet owl, jaegers and baird's, stilt and buff-breasted sandpipers (all very rare in the spring) can be found with regularity during autumn. In recent years, many birders have found Point Pelee to be as exciting during the autumn migration as it is in the spring. In addition, records have shown that extreme rarities are even more likely to appear in autumn, despite the fewer observers actually looking for such rarities.