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Tropical bird spotted far from home in Laval, Que.


Another rare bird has been spotted in an unexpected area of Quebec.

The Summer Tanager usually winters down south in the tropics of Central and South America, yet, a bright yellow female has been spending time in Laval.

Photographer Lori Bellerdine caught a glimpse of the elusive beauty and called it a gift.

"I feel great, it's a happy feeling, it's my joy!" said Bellerdine.

Bird watchers began logging sightings of the tanager on the e-bird platform in mid-November.

"It's a rare bird because they don't nest in Quebec," said ornithologist Joel Coutu. "The Summer Tanager is basically a southern states species. These rare birds, that you're seeing, popping-up, getting lost because of migration, it's nothing new, it's been happening for hundreds of years. It's just today with social media it's a lot easier."

It is easier to share the news, but getting a photo still requires patience, Bellerdine said, while standing in the snow with her tripod and long camera lens at the ready.

"We've waited hours or minutes and we're lucky that she showed up. It's a rare bird. We're so happy to see it," she said.

A female Summer Tanager was spotted in Laval, Que. in the autumn of 2023. SOURCE: LORI BELLERDINE

Recently, Bellerdine also caught a glimpse of another curiosity at the Mount Royal Cemetery.

"That was a Townsend Solitaire, a very rare bird. There were a lot of people, he or she stayed there for quite a while," she said.

A Townsend Solitaire was spotted far from home in Montreal's Mount-Royal Cemetery in Dec. 2023. SOURCE: Wiki Commons

Coutu said that changing climate can be a factor in birds getting lost.

"Weather will affect certain migration routes and if you consider what happened this year throughout North America with forest fires and certain tropical storms," said Coutu.

He is doubtful this Summer Tanager will survive the winter.

"It's a very hard for species that are very tropical to survive our winters," said Coutu.

For birders heading out, it's a good time for it.

"Considering that 75 to 80 per cent of birds are no longer here because they migrated," said Coutu. "It's a fun time for birders and photographers because they get to see certain species that they don't have to spend hundreds of dollars going to Arizona to observe."

Those who want to record bird sightings and contribute to the Canadian Christmas Bird Count can do so on the Birds Canada site until Jan. 5.



A Eurasian Tree Sparrow was spotted in Quebec's Lanaudiere region and drew birders from around the region.

The bird is native to Eurasia, but there is a small colony of them near St. Louis, MO.

The Eurasian tree sparrow is seen perched on a small branch in Saint-Barthélemy, Que. (Photo courtesy of Lori Bellerdine).


A juvenile Scissor-tail Flycatcher brought birders in the dozens to the Dorval Technoparc near the Pierre-Elliott Trudeau International Airport just before the snow set in in 2021.

The bird is native to the southern great plains.

Birders from across the region have been in the Dorval Technoparc to try and get a glimpse of the rare Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that may have been blown off course and wound up in Quebec, far from its Southern Texas home. SOURCE: Poncho Michel Beaudet


A stunning and rare mandarin duck was spotted in a Laval park. Native to Asia, the colourful bird was seen at the Foret du ruisseau Ste-Rose park.

The duck may have been the same one that escaped from an Ontario farm. 

SOURCE: Lori Bellerdine Top Stories


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