Want to see a Bald Eagle up close? You can do so at the Mountsberg Conservation Area, with their Raptor Centre. Before you start thinking they have dinosaurs there, what raptor means in this case is a bird of prey. The word raptor comes from the Latin rapere, which means to seize or take by force, and when you think of a hawk or eagle swooping down to grab a small animal off the ground, it all makes sense.
But we’re not going to give you a lesson on birds of prey with this post, but rather talk about Mounstberg Conservation Area and why it’s a great place to visit – either for a solitary walk, a date or with the family.
Mountsberg has something for everybody, as Frank and I learned recently. The animal lover will enjoy the Raptor Centre, with its collection of birds such as falcons, hawks, eagles, owls, and turkey vultures, all in their own special cages located in a spread out area in the woods. There are currently 15 different species at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre. Bird of Prey Shows are held daily in the summer at noon and 2:00 p.m. The shows switch over to weekends only in the fall.
If a bit squeamish about getting so close to birds of prey, we recommend the easy trails around the area. Flat, gravel trails lead you around the wetlands where you can pause to see more birds in the wild. Here you need to be silent at times to hear the numerous birds that make this area their summer home. You are bound to hear sounds you’ve never heard before and see colourful birds rarely found in urban areas.
Heading down one of the trails you come across the small, seasonal town of Swallowville – population of 150 in the summertime, 0 in the winter. This is a condo complex for birds, mostly swallows, that “rent” small bird feeders during the summer season. Anybody with a telephoto zoom lens and a steady hand can get some pretty amazing photos if you remain quiet. The birds will rest on top of the bird feeders and chirp away for several minutes.
For kids, the other animals you get to see at Mountsberg Conservation Area are a delight. You can get up close to sheep, Percheron horses (just not too close – they are huge!) and the ever-hungry goats in the farm located on site.
You can easily spend a few hours wandering around Mountsberg Raptor Centre – either hiking or biking. For a rest, bring lunch or snacks along and enjoy one of the many picnic spots on site.
Mountsberg Conservation Area is located in Campbellville, near Milton, and is about an hour and half drive from downtown Toronto. Park admission is $6.50 for adults; $4.50 for kids.
- From Highway 401 go south on Guelph Line. Turn west on Campbellville Road for 4 km and then go north on Milburough Line for 1 km to park entrance.
- From Highway 6 or Guelph Line, follow Campbellville Road to Milburough Line and then go north for 1 km to park entrance.
Some more photos: