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Friday, May 28, 2021


If you are new to birding, check out these excellent introductory videos by Brian Bailey from CCFEW.

They cover binoculars, cameras, field guides, birding apps (special focus on the comprehensive free Merlin app), birding websites, Ebirds etc.

Thursday, May 27, 2021



Hello FOSS members and friends,

We are well into spring, and summer is not far off.  It has been a different year, but "Friends of Sam Smith Park" (FOSS) has managed to continue many activities none-the less.  Some of these have been virtual, like our Dec.- Feb. on-line videos and kids activities, and our current Spring Bird Festival.  Others have been more hands-on, like our Winter Bird Feeder Project from Dec.- March at the Skating Trail, and the new grebe nesting platforms in the yacht club basin.

Our usual FOSS membership year runs from May 1- April 30.  Last year we did not collect memberships at all, due to the COVID-19 situation, with less going on at the park.  This year we would like to start collecting memberships again, since we have had a number of expenses, and our bank account is running very low!  The major expense this year has been materials for building 3 new grebe platforms for the yacht club basin, since only 1 of our 4 platforms survived the winter.  Labour was donated free!  The grebes are now using all 4 platforms for their nests, so this expense was well worth it.

FOSS membership is $10 individual or $15 for a family.  Please consider renewing your FOSS membership for 2021-2022, or joining FOSS, by mailing the attached form with a cheque to the address given.

Thanks very much for your interest in Colonel Samuel Smith Park!

from your FOSS team

Saturday, May 15, 2021


The Colonel Samuel Smith Park Spring Bird Festival has been reimagined to ensure the safety of attendees during the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering a special online edition. Participate in Spring Bird Festival activities with the people in your household by following COVID-19 safety measures to help reduce the virus spread. Learn about what to expect and what is required when being in public places.

City festival activities will be posted between May 22 and 29, 2021. This festival is part of the annual Toronto Bird Celebration that has activities running throughout May.

For the day of the festival (May 29th), two virtual workshops are planned.

Wild Ontario: Faster, Stronger, Sneakier: Ontario's Incredible Raptors!

May 29 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Join Wild Ontario at the University of Guelph for an up-close look at some of Ontario's most incredible birds! In this program you'll meet hawks, falcons and owls, and learn about the amazing adaptations they use to survive in nature. You'll also learn how each of these birds found their way into the Wild Ontario program, and what we can do to help birds in the wild.


TRCA: Bird Sounds: Understand Your Feathered Neighbours

May 29 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Listen to the sounds of spring! Join us for an interactive presentation about how birds communicate. Enjoy interesting bird songs, calls and more, and learn some tips to remember them!


Click here and here for more information.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021


Summary: FOSS Steering Committee Meeting

April 26, 2021

7:03 PM, Via Zoom Video Conferencing

COLONEL SAM’S BIRD FESTIVAL 2021: On May 4th FOSS Steering Committee members will participate in an on-line session with city organizers. Any festival held in 2021 will be virtual due to the on-going COVID pandemic. FOSS is prepared to contribute a variety of videos that highlight the natural beauties of the park. 

NEW RED-NECKED GREBE PLATFORMS: Three new (and one old) platforms and ramps have been installed. The non-treated wood was free, but the remaining costs for such items as parts, paint, foam, glue, etc. was provided by FOSS. Thank you to the Keaveney family for building and installing the structures. Thank you also to the yacht club for their support and for the use of a boat.

MEMBERSHIP: No fees were collected in 2020. Membership fees for 2021 are $10 for an individual and $15 per family. Membership applications are available on Facebook, Twitter and via e-mail.

SWALLOW FIELD: Most successful year ever. Nests were kept covered longer this year and opened only when Tree Swallows appeared. Fewer invasive House Sparrows are nesting and any that do are evicted. Many park visitors are taking great interest in the birds. 

MEN’S PICNIC PAVILION: FOSS is concerned with the declining state of the Men’s Picnic Pavilion. Permission/estimates must be obtained from the city prior to applying for community grants. In spite of efforts by FOSS, so far, there has been no cooperation from the city.

KITE BOARDERS: A marshalling site used by kite boarders is close to a path, provides little space and has resulted in the damage/removal of trees/shrubs. The boarders would prefer a site closer to Whimbrel Point and would like to have an additional amount of grass cut. There is concern that more grass cutting would be damaging to ground nesting sparrows. The kite boarders promised to abandon their activities during the two-week Whimbrel Watch period. The city has been consulted on this matter but has provided no information/resolution so far.

NATURALIZATION:  The increase in visitors to the park over the past year has resulted in the overuse and damage to many trails. FOSS has requested the city consider closing some areas for the purpose of naturalization/regeneration. 

BIRD STRIKES: Migration season has begun. In spite of FOSS’s request, nothing has, as yet, been resolved in the matter of bird strike prevention at Col. Sam.

Visitors are asked to notify the police at 416 808-2200 for drug infractions and 311 for trash build-up. Any problems reported to 311 are greatly strengthened when accompanied with a photo.