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In This Place

For Birdwatchers, These Weeks are Show Time

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / flickr

  It’s Show Time in the natural world. The equinox has passed and excitement is here with birds of every description - running the gamut from loons, sea ducks, and large great blue herons to minute warblers and sparrows. From right now with a light northwest wind puffing thru mid-October it really is true that any bird from anywhere could show up on the Cape and Islands.

This is a special season and even if the listener is not yet enamored of the wonders of the natural world and bird migration, it is hard to miss some of the many signs of action and change all around us. Hardly a day passes in late September and the first half of October when I am not ducking from some small crazed fast-flying falcon that is in pursuit of a meal-a fast-flying small bird.

Yesterday accounted for three Merlins, speedy little falcons not much larger than a Blue Jay, that were in hot pursuit of whatever small bird had ventured further from cover than it should have as they rocketed by my head, one passing just a few feet away. Hard to tire of that kind of excitement unless you are the intended target.

This kind of stuff happens rarely during most of the year but these next few weeks are really the “magic weeks”, the Rock and Roll weeks, the “Burning Man” exhibit gone berserk weeks if you will, “morphing” from art to bird migration along this special coastline. It is a time that obviously excites this commentator. Just as one almost gets used to the bonanza of birds, the great variety of species on the move, it ends seemingly faster than it started.

The point being that there is no time to waste to get out in the great outdoors, anywhere and see what is happening. No two mornings are the same as most landbirds are engaged in a serious push to get south moving in the night skies. On a recent lovely star-filled night the chips notes and nocturnal flight calls emanating from the vast dark sky entering my aural canals made the hair on the back of my neck stand-up. It is special time of year.

So I urge all listeners, young, old, in between and those that may think I am crazy to make special arrangements to go on a bird walk with friends, an organized field trip with the Cape Cod Bird Club, the Massachusetts Audubon Society or the Linda Loring Nature Foundation on Nantucket. The point is to get out and experience the wonder of bird migration as it is peaking in our area.

It can change your life. At a minimum you will see some beautiful spots, hopefully you will see lots of birds as well as get some exercise. It might also open the door on a world you have never seen. ENJOY!