Birding, also known as bird watching, is the hobby of seeking out birds to observe in their natural environments. The Brantford area provides many excellent birding opportunities. Whether you are a novice birder or a birding enthusiast, feathered friends can be found in a variety of habitats including wooded areas, wetlands, and even built-up landscapes. All you need to get started is a good pair of hiking shoes and a pair of binoculars.
If I had a nickel for every peregrine falcon I have seen perched on the hydro wires this summer…I don’t know how much money I would have, I haven’t been keeping track. Luckily, the Grand River Conservation Authority has us covered with their Grand River Watershed Bird Checklist. An extensive record of the more than 300 bird species that frequent the area, the check list is the perfect way to track the birds you spot, whether it be from your car, your window, or on one of Brantford’s many fantastic trails. You can also find other birding hotspots near you by visiting Cornell University’s eBird database.
One of the best locations for birding is next to the Grand River. The Blue Circle Loop & SC Johnson Trail starting at Hardy Road takes you past the beautiful greens of the Brantford Golf and Country Club and the gardens and public sculptures of the Glenhyrst Art Gallery to Wilkes Dam. Here, experienced hikers can hop off the paved trail to walk the one kilometer dirt path that runs right along the river, then reconnects to the loop. The SC Johnson Trail ends at Waterworks Park, a treed area that includes the Rotary Bike Park, Brantford’s best place to practice your bike stunts - or to spot birds while your kids practice their bike skills.
The park also connects to the Gordon Glaves Memorial Pathway, a fifteen kilometer tour through Brantford that is both pedestrian and bicycle friendly. The first four kilometers continue along the Grand River and is half-shaded by bird friendly trees.
It may take some practice and patience, but for those looking to get active by doing some birding, Brantford is full of prime locations to do it!