[Ontbirds] Northern Mockingbird - YYZ

Chris Evans chrisgevans55 at gmail.com
Sat Feb 5 19:01:56 EST 2011

Dear OntBirders,

I have seen a few Northern Mockingbird posts of late, so I thought I should
share this sighting from yesterday, Friday February 4th, 2010.  I observed a
Northern Mockingbird at Hydro One's Richview Transformer Station (TS) which
is situated near YYZ.  While the property is necessarily not open to the
public, the bird (or birds, as I suspect there is a resident pair there)
might be viewable from the main gate across the parking lot.  (under no
circumstances should anyone ever tresspass, especially at a TS)  It
frequents the main building entrance area and courtyard at the NE corner of
the main building, often lighting on the transmission line towers or in the
shrubs and small trees in the area. You can clearly see the large circular
planter in the courtyard in Google Maps' satellite view.

There have been Mockingbird(s) here for several years.  I have never seen
more than one at a time, but strongly suspect a breeding pair is resident
here.  I am not at Richview TS often, and when I'm there, I'm working in the
basement, so I don't get much opportunity to bird watch.  However, I rarely
visit this location without being graced by a greeting from a Northern
Mockingbird. If this situation is of ornithological significance, I am sure
I could get more data and information from some of the resident Hydro One
staff at this location.

Further, I had occasion to visit Wiltshire TS in winter a few years ago, and
observed a Northern Mockingbird there, too.  It was actually outside the
fence along the railway right-of-way on the east side of the TS. Again,
Google Maps affords a good view of the area.

Further still, in spring of 2010, a Northern Mockingbird was singing his
(presumably it was a male) heart out at Essa TS near Barrie, my regular work
headquarters, for a few weeks.  I was wishing him luck, but alas, he moved
on to search for a mate elsewhere.  I had observed a Northern Mockingbird at
Essa TS for a couple of weeks about ten or twelve years prior, again with no
evidence of breeding success.

Now I do work for Hydro One, so I am at TSs a fair bit, but I'm also out in
nature a lot, Dragonhunting and generally being an avid naturalist, and
these 3 locations are almost the only places I've observed Northern
Mockingbirds in Ontario.  My first ever sighting was in Orillia on Westmount
Dr. N at the St. Andrew's/St. James' Cemetery in summer, circa 1984.  I
think I may have seen them elsewhere in Ontario once or twice, but can't
recall exactly where or when.  My point is, even considering my employment
bias and small (okay, tiny) sample size, it seems unusual I haven't seen
more Mockingbirds in Ontario outside of Hydro One TSs.  Do TSs present ideal
Northern Mockingbird habitat?  Any thoughts?

Chris Evans
The Dragonhunter's Apprentice
chrisgevans55 at gmail.com

Directions: Richview TS is found on Kelfield St., off Dixon Road East of
Highway 27 near YYZ.

Wiltshire TS is found on Wiltshire Avenue south of Davenport Road in

Essa TS is at 2182 Sunnidale Road, Springwater (near Essa Township and

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