Signs of Spring

Did you know most gull species are migratory? Our riverwatcher Howard Powels observed the return of the ring-billed gulls in his area - a sign of spring!

Today is the first day of spring and Howard Powles, our eyes and ears on the Quebec side of the Deschênes Rapids witnessed a sign of it earlier this week:


Photos by Howard Powles

“The ring-billed gulls came back in great numbers yesterday,” Howard told Riverwatch coordinator Meaghan Murphy.  “We have a breeding colony on Conroy Island in the Deschênes Rapids and the return of the gulls (who spend the winter in warmer climes) in mid-March is always a sign of spring on the way.”

He said he saw a few stragglers over the past week but one particular morning a cloud of gulls was circling the island. “They will do this on and off until the snow melts and conditions are right to settle down, build nests and produce eggs.”

Michael Ryan, another riverwatcher, also said he saw two eagles this week. “The eagles follow the waterfowl migrations,” he explained. “Eagles lead to waterfowl and water means we’ll have an ice out soon.” An ice out is the disappearance of ice from the surface of the river as a result of thawing. According to Michael, we may see it as soon as March 28th at the Quyon Ferry Landing.

Let us know what signs of spring you’re seeing on your stretch of the Ottawa River!