The all-new American Birding Association Community Weekends are a way to bring birders together for activities near your home. With the help of many of our local friends and partners, ABA Community Weekends will kick off with a group of spring migration events in Toronto, Ontario on April 29–30, 2023. We will host a guided morning bird walk, learn how to prevent bird window strikes at a workshop, enjoy a professionally guided bird photography walk, dig in for a gardening for birds workshop, and finally wrap up with a birds and beers evening social. Even though all activities are free, be sure to sign up, because space will be limited!

On top of that—Kowa and the Urban Nature Stores have generously donated a pair of 8×42 Kowa BD II XD binoculars, and you could be the lucky winner! Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to not only have fun and connect with birds and birders but also stand a chance to win a brand-new pair of binoculars. Reserve your space for our walks and workshops now, and get your name in the hat!

Thanks to our sponsors:


Saturday 04/29, 8:00am: Bird Photography Walk

Bird photography has become increasingly popular in recent years, for a variety of reasons. Prices of camera gear have dropped (and the quality of cell phone cameras has gone through the roof). Digiscoping has become ‘a thing’. Social media allow us to quickly and easily share our art. And we seem generally more focused on our natural environment—not in the least since the pandemic encouraged us all to spend more time in our local parks and enjoy the wildlife that inhabits them.

Andrew Mactavish is an expert wildlife photographer and Associate Professor of Media Arts in the Department of Communication Studies & Media Arts at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he researches and teaches about participatory digital culture with a special focus on the creation and sharing of wildlife media in online communities. Andrew’s photographs have appeared in a variety of publications, including Bird Photographer of the Year and the ABA’s Birding Magazine. His bird photography can be seen on

Paul Riss got started birding at a young age. When his dad was looking for a little more of a connection with his son, he took Paul to a local conservation area with some birdseed. That day, a Black-capped Chickadee landed on Paul’s hand and a birding monster was born. He has continued to watch birds since then. He is an active board member of The American Birding Association & recently appeared in a CBC documentary called Rare Bird Alert. Everything he does in the birding world is to promote it to a wider audience, change the way people view birding and birders, and promote bird conservation.

Together, Andrew and Paul will take you on an interactive birding and bird photography walk through Toronto’s High Park, where you will learn not only about the technicalities of cameras, light, and composition, but also about our relationship to the natural world, and the potential value of bird photography.

Practical details:

What: Bird Photography Walk

Who: Andrew Mactavish and Paul Riss

When: Saturday 04/29 8:00am

Where: High Park (picnic shelter near High Park Wading Pool, Splashpad and Playground, and close to Subway stop High Park)

Saturday 04/29, 2:00pm: Be Feather Friendly

Toronto, Ontario, happens to be centered on a migratory bird path and has experienced significant fatalities due to glass buildings. We now see billions of fewer birds than we did only half a century ago! Urban development poses risks to birds, with approximately 1 billion birds dying in North America from window collisions each year alone.

Migrating birds unfamiliar with their surroundings are unable to see exterior window glass in their search for habitat. Others are attracted to the reflective windows, mistaking them as an extension of the sky and trees. This inability to see the glass causes them to collide with the windows at full speed, which is most often substantial enough to be fatal.

Toronto was the first city in the world to create Safe Building Bylaws in bird conservation, and Feather Friendly® helped to establish these new bylaws. With the guidance of Feather Friendly® experts, you learn to identify what causes window collisions at your home or office, and how to easily prevent them. And with nearly two-thirds of North American birds at risk of extinction, now more than ever we have a responsibility to protect our feathered friends!

Practical details: 

What: Preventing Window Collisions Talk & Workshop

Who: Feather Friendly®

When: Saturday 04/29 2:00pm

Where: Feather Friendly® Offices: 2207 Dunwin Dr, Mississauga, ON L5L 1X1

Thanks to:

Saturday 04/29, 7:00pm: Birds and Beers

Are you looking to connect with others who share your passion? Join us for our ‘Birds and Beers’ social! This is the perfect opportunity to meet other birdwatchers, share stories and experiences, and maybe even plan future birdwatching trips together – all while enjoying a refreshing brew.

Our events are welcoming to all birders, and whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie, you’re sure to feel at home with this friendly and enthusiastic community.

Please sign up to let us know you’ll be joining us, and feel free to invite any friends who might be interested. Let’s make some new birding buddies!

Practical details: 

What: Birds and Beers social gathering

When: Saturday 04/29 7:00pm

Where: Firkin on the Harbour, 10 Yonge St, Toronto ON, M5E 1R4 (we have reserved a table, mention you’re with the American Birding Association)

Sunday 04/30, 8:00am: Birding in Cemeteries

Cemeteries make for excellent birdwatching locations for a number of reasons. First, they provide a variety of habitats. You’ll often find a combination of large grassy areas dotted with flower beds and lined with shrubs and trees. There is usually also a pond or fountains, or some other water feature. On top of that, most cemeteries are open to the public and have good walking paths or trails, making them easily accessible for birders. Finally, cemeteries are typically quieter and less developed than other urban areas, meaning you often have better chances at spotting shyer species, and the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere of cemeteries can create a more relaxing environment for birdwatching.

But don’t take our word for it: Come and join Paul Riss and David Turner for a Sunday morning bird walk at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, one of Canada’s most historic cemeteries. Mount Pleasant has served Toronto since 1876 and is the final resting place of many prominent Canadians.

Thanks to its abundant tree collection, Mount Pleasant is also one of North America’s most significant arboretums. Large flower gardens, birds and other wildlife enhance its natural beauty, along with its many unique works of art found throughout the grounds in sculptures and artist-made memorials.

Practical details: 

What: Birding in Cemeteries

Who: Paul Riss and David Turner

When: Sunday 04/30 8:00am

Where: Mount Pleasant Cemetery (parking lot next to Visitation Center and Beltline trail)

Thanks to:

Paul Riss

David Turner

Sunday 04/30, 1:00pm: Gardening for Birds

Are you interested in attracting more birds to your garden? Then join us for an informative and hands-on workshop ‘Gardening for Birds’, where you’ll learn how to create a bird-friendly garden that will provide food, shelter, and nesting opportunities for a variety of bird species.

Matt Mills and David Turner, local birders and professional gardeners, will share their tips and tricks on how to make your garden more bird-friendly. They’ll discuss the importance of selecting native plants and providing food and water sources for birds. If the weather allows, this will be an outdoor workshop, and we’ll have a chance to see examples of best practices around Toronto.

So, join us for a fun and informative afternoon of learning, gardening, and birding!

Practical details:

What: Gardening for Birds talk

Who: Matt Mills and David Turner

When: Sunday 30/04 at 1:00pm

Where: Mount Pleasant Cemetery (parking lot next to Visitation Center and Beltline trail)

Thanks to:

Matt Mills

David Turner