Weekly Bird Report


The Weekly Bird Report with Mark Faherty can be heard every Wednesday morning at 8:45am and afternoon at 5:45pm.

Mark has been the Science Coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary since August 2007 and has led birding trips for Mass Audubon since 2002. He is past president of the Cape Cod Bird Club and current member of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee.

pradeepkumar.devadoss / flickr / bit.ly/2HuOHgb

 

On Sunday, a birding group from Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay was sorting through migrant shorebirds on Morris Island in Chatham. The usual suspects were in place – Semipalmated Sandpipers newly arrived from Brazil; Dunlins, Sanderlings, and Ruddy Turnstones all in their breeding finery, plus shrieking Willets defending their nearby nests.

Mark Faherty

 

The madness of another Mass Audubon Bird-a-thon has come and gone, and those of us who participated have mostly lived to tell the tale. Bird-a-thon is a 24-hour, bleary-eyed birding blitz held each May to raise money for the conservation and environmental education work we do at Mass Audubon. I of course organize the team for my sanctuary, Wellfleet Bay, in an effort to see more birds than any other sanctuary. I have come as close as second place, though in recent years have had my clock cleaned by juggernaut mainland sanctuaries like Drumlin Farm or Moose Hill.

J. J. Audubon

On The Point, Host Mindy Todd and Wildlife Biologist Mark Faherty of the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, bring us the highlights from the Avian world in the glorious month of May. This is the time of year that exotic migrants turn up at feeders, on the water, and in woods and thickets all around our region. Many birds both year-round and migratory, are well into breeding season, and the insects are beginning to proliferate, too. 

Photo Courtesy Kevin Friel

 

If there was a perfect physical embodiment of our slow developing spring, it’s the seriously tardy Snowy Owl that’s been hanging around Falmouth this last week. A veritable Old Man Winter of a bird, this apparent male has been glowering down at people from rooftops near Little Pond. 

Early Birds And Globe-Trotting Shorebirds

May 1, 2019
Dan Pancamo / flickr / bit.ly/2GUjv9R

 

In birding terms, the southern winds of early April are a gift that just keeps on giving. Though the weather has been a little dreary, we’ve had just enough nice days for the birders to get out there and discover more surprising species lurking in our largely leafless woods and thickets.

Dan Pancamo / flickr / bit.ly/2UU1W2c

 

Nearly a week of southerly winds has set the stage for migrants of all sorts to drop into the region, including a real jaw dropping species we’ll get to in a bit. This also includes those species we expect to arrive in mid-April, like Eastern Towhees. 

Michael Janke / flickr / bit.ly/2ICvom6

 

For those who know how to look, spring is arriving rapidly on the tired wings of migrating birds. Mid-April is an inflection point in the migration curve – the pace will only quicken from here on out. I suggest that you take this time to go out and refresh your identification skills on the smaller set of early songbird migrants, because in terms of the number of species coming through, things will be out of hand in a few short weeks.

Mark Faherty

 

I’m now several weeks removed from leading a birding safari to Tanzania, and now that I’m back here in reality-ville, it feels a world away. While I was gone, the first of the early migrants snuck in, like Common Grackles. Upon seeing some as I drove through Orleans shortly after returning, I said to myself – hey, Rüppell's Starlings. This was of course not correct - I left that grackle-like species back in the Serengeti. It took some time to adjust to the more pedestrian birds and mammals of home – as you know if you’ve been, even the starlings are spectacular in East Africa.

shell game / flickr / bit.ly/2YM4i1p

 

When it comes to the Cape and Islands “birdscape”, which is the word I just made up for the collective avian sights and sounds at any given time, a lot has changed in the last month, and the influx of new birds will only accelerate from here on out. I can’t do much for you in terms of a visual identification review, this being radio and all, but with new birds arriving every week, I think it’s time for a spring bird sounds “tune up”, if you will.

batwrangler / fickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Recently, one of our more flamboyant seasonal residents has been performing at a variety of obscure local venues, venues that you might describe as off-off-off Broadway. Performances generally take the form of a one man show, and they only work nights, so don’t even think about catching a matinee.

Feeding Birds, Part 2

Mar 13, 2019
L. Lerner

 

Last week I started an in-depth look at bird feeding including why we do it and whether it actually helps the birds. If you missed it, the results are mixed, but studies do show that, as you may have suspected, feeding birds can increase their health and survival. 

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On The Point's monthly birds show, we discuss the seasons's news from the avian world. Who's nesting already, who's arriving from afar, and how to protect their habitats. We get tips on how to design our landscapes to maximize the attractions for birds: a diversity of forage is the key. Mike Tucker, naturalist, is our guest.  

 

 

While it seemed like we might get away with leaving the shovels in the shed this year, it looks like winter finally caught up to us. I, for one, don’t mind a little snow on the ground, notwithstanding the 8-foot-wide plow ridge they inexplicably left in front of my mailbox. Snow means an opportunity to track wildlife, one of my favorite outdoors pursuits. And, more appropriately for our purposes, it means more birds at the feeder. So, let’s take a closer look at this curious and surprisingly recent American pastime: feeding the birds.

Some rights reserved / Wildreturn / flickr / bit.ly/2VpIqql

 

I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in northern New England a couple of times in recent weeks. I often feel drawn to the woodsy wildness of our northern states, even in winter. The big, girthy birches and huge hemlocks, the Christmas tree smell of Balsam fir, the crunch of snowshoes breaking the heavy, snowy silence of those north woods. 

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