We spent the afternoon at Mountsberg for the Maple Syrup Festival, but maple syrup wasn’t all that this conservation area in Ontario, Canada had to offer. There were also plenty of opportunities to observe the animals that lived there! The park doubles as a small farm with many farm animals. There is also a Raptor Centre where wild birds that can no longer fend for themselves in the wild are provided care in captivity. Both areas are educational and fun for both children and adults alike!
Mountsberg has a small barn with farm animals living indoors in the winter, with a few fenced areas outdoors for them to roam when it is warm enough outside. When we visited Mountsberg in the early summer of last year, all of the animals were outside because it was a warm, sunny day. On this chilly Spring day in March, everyone was indoors and frolicking quite happily in the straw. There are many baby sheep and goats that stayed close by their parents, exploring a little here and there with their siblings. We were able to hear the high-pitched baaaaaa sounds coming from the babies and the lower-pitched bleats from the parents! It was very cute.
It was nap time for many of the goats. There was one baby goat who loved climbing on top of a tree stump and getting attention from everyone who stopped by.
Mountsberg has animals that contrast greatly in size, from little rabbits and chickens to giant horses. The horses were getting some exercise outdoors that day. Horses that large must need to stretch their legs fairly often!
After seeing the farm animals and visiting the maple sugar bush, we ventured on to the Raptor Centre to see the Birds of Prey show.
Mountsberg is home to 15 different species of birds that are native to Southern Ontario, including eagles, vultures, owls, hawks, and many more. These birds mostly have permanent injuries that do not allow them to be introduced back into the wild. Some of these birds have had too much human contact that leaves them incapable of surviving on their own. So, they have come to live at Mountsberg to be fully cared for by the experts that work there.
Birds of Prey Show
On the weekend, there are Birds of Prey shows a few times each day. It was a full house for the show we attended that day due to the popularity of the Maple Syrup Festival, so we were amongst the last people to secure a spot at the back. We learned so much about two of Mountsberg’s residents, a Merlin named Scout and a Gray Morph Screech Owl named Echo. Merlins are a small species of falcon. Scout had human contact early on in life and could not be introduced back into the wild (more details about this in the video below!). Echo is 12 years old now, and these types of owls typically only live for 4 years in nature. His home was destroyed when a tree was cut down, and he was rescued to live at Mountsberg.
Scout the Merlin
Echo the Screech Owl
The Birds of Prey show was incredibly informative, educational, and fun! It was great to see these wild raptors up close and to see their trainer interact with them. It was great to get to know the stories behind these two birds.
From there, we walked around and visited all of the other birds that live there. They each had their own large living space, and were each given their own private time to fly around in the larger central area. Here are the many birds of Mountsberg:
Great Horned Owl
It was a beautiful day outside and while the snow was still on the ground, it was our first taste of Spring. I’m so glad that there is a place like Mountberg that rescues wild birds that otherwise wouldn’t survive in the wild. The conservation area has many trails that surround a lake, which was still frozen over.
Here is a video of the farm animals and the wild birds at Mountsberg. You can hear the call of the Merlin, view the Screech Owl up close, plus see the cute farm animals!