No law or legal research this week. Instead, let's enjoy this post by the Great Library’s chief birder, Steve Wallace....
Although its central downtown location might suggest otherwise, Osgoode Hall is one of the best places in Toronto to see birds. The common ones are on constant display, of course – starlings and robins, squadrons of the best-fed pigeons in the city, and flocks of sparrows, or, as birders like to call them, LBJs – “little brown jobs”. But the plentiful trees and shrubs on the sprawling grounds play host to an amazing variety of birds one would only expect to see in a quieter, more rural setting.
To begin with, woodpeckers. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, hairy and downy woodpeckers can be seen and heard regularly in the ash and maple trees, but best of all is the annual April thrill of seeing a shy yellow-shafted flicker poking about for ants on the east lawn, then scurrying back to the safety of a bush. Even more than robins, the flicker’s arrival is a sure sign of spring. Another is the flock of slate-coloured juncos which visit for a week or so every April before moving on.
The ample hedges provide cover for such skulkers as gray catbirds, brown thrashers, towhees, hermit thrushes and tiny winter wrens. Speaking of tiny, just yesterday I saw a brown creeper obsessively spiraling its way around the bark of a maple. Recently one of the gardeners asked me about a little bird she’d seen, describing it as greenish-gray and sporting a bright red cap with two black stripes along it. I told her it had to be a ruby-crowned kinglet, adding it to the list of birds they’ve told me about seeing. Two summers ago they reported spotting an indigo bunting – bright royal blue all over – on the west grounds. Having never seen one, this filled me with no small envy. Of course I went looking, but to no avail: the best way to see birds here is to have them drop in on you, rather than the other way around.