The Birds of The Meadoway

The Birds of The Meadoway
April 6, 2020 David Todd
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The Birds of The Meadoway: Creating a Sense of Place

Posted April 6, 2020

Hi everyone!

My name is Emily Rondel and I am the Community Learning Coordinator for The Meadoway. I’m in charge of connecting local communities to the project.

I spend my time talking about the many benefits of meadow restoration and the amazing wildlife that calls The Meadoway home. Normally you would find me leading interpretive hikes, events, plantings, and workshops!

Emily Rondel leads a community learning event in The Meadoway

Emily Rondel leads a community learning event in The Meadoway.

As a naturalist, it’s the plants and the animals of The Meadoway that get me the most excited.

I’m an ornithologist (i.e. bird biologist) by training and experience, as well as a bird watcher in my spare time. Although to me, any living thing in The Meadoway is fascinating, I find birds to be the most inspiring.

Birds connect people to their landscapes in a way that few other creatures can. Their uplifting songs, beautiful colours, and amazing migration feats have been muses for artists since time immemorial. Bird lore informs cultures around the globe.

red winged blackbird in meadow

To me, birds create a sense of place.

I think becoming acquainted with the bird species that make their homes in our restored meadow sections is one of the best ways for people to connect with The Meadoway.

As we continue to create habitat along the hydro corridor, we may attract many more amazing birds. Already I see species in The Meadoway that are hard to find in other Toronto greenspaces, such as Field Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, and Savannah Sparrows.

savannah sparrow

Savannah Sparrow. Photo by Mark Peck.

Birds are excellent indicators of environmental quality. The more bird species you can find in a place, the healthier that environment is.

Sadly, through their decline, birds have been telling us an alarming story about Canadian meadows and grasslands. Two out of every three grassland birds have disappeared since 1970.

Although the bulk of these drastic losses have occurred in the iconic Canadian prairie provinces, the meadows and grasslands of the GTA have also, traditionally, hosted a wide variety of bird species — and meadow restoration projects like The Meadoway can help encourage them to “move back in”.

eastern bluebird

As we create a unique home for a variety of creatures in The Meadoway, I look forward to the sense of place that will be created by the cheerful whistling of Eastern Meadowlarks, the frenzied chatter of aerial Barn Swallows, and the insect-like buzzing of Grasshopper Sparrows perched on fenceposts.

Emily Rondel

Posted by Emily Rondel
Emily Rondel is Coordinator, Community Engagement at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).