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Local birdwatcher gets rare sight while spending more time at home these days (PHOTO GALLERY)

For the first time in his life, Jon Vopni spotted an Eastern Towhee, and he might have missed it if he wasn't staying home more lately

As current events have kept a Collingwood couple home more, they’ve spent more time enjoying the view, and have been rewarded with some rare bird sightings.

Jon Vopni has photographed both a Cedar Waxwing and an Eastern Towhee at his backyard feeders, which have been getting more attention lately.

“I have had extra time to spend on projects and hobbies,” said Vopni. “So it’s been a positive amongst the COVID crisis.”

Vopni and Sandy Parsons live on the corner of County Road 19 and Trails End. Vopni has been birdwatching for most of his adult life and put a feeder up at their home on the outskirts of Collingwood when they moved there five years ago.

This is the first time Vopni has seen an Eastern Towhee, which is a type of sparrow that looks similar to a Robin. The Towhee and the Waxwing have been his favourite spots so far.

“I was excited to see them both,” he said. “I have seen the Waxwing before, but it was the first time seeing a Waxwing in our yard… I have never seen [an Eastern Towhee] in my life so that was very cool.”

He said he’s also seen an oriole already, which is earlier than is typical for the vibrant bird.

Vopni is also a skilled photographer and has been able to snap images of those birds and others as they visit his property.

Vopni and Parsons put out four types of feeders. There are two seed feeders, one with a hybrid mixture and one is Nyjer seed. The third is fruit, including grapefruit and oranges for the orioles. And the fourth is a nectar feeder for humming birds.

He recommends anyone interested in attracting birds to their yard with a feeder start with just one feeder.

“It’s a commitment, once they start coming they will become reliant on you and will nest nearby,” he said. “So with one you can see if your heart is really in it, then add as you like.”

With his four feeders, Vopni has attracted Chickadees, Nut Thatches, Downy Woodpeckers, a Song Sparrow, a Chipping Sparrow, a White Crowned Sparrow, hummingbirds, Purple Finches, Gold Finches, Cardinals, Dark Eyed Junkos, and Grosbeaks.


Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
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