Weekly Bird Report | CAI

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.

Mid-May: the Night Sky an Avian Highway

May 15, 2013
Vern Laux

This past week brought widespread reports of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers and Baltimore Orioles. On the Bird Report, Vern Laux celebrates an exciting time of year for birders, as migrant birds pass by and summer resident species return for another breeding season. The majority of land birds migrate at night - a mysterious and largely unseen phenomenon!



On Nantucket Sunday morning the local birding group found a male Townsend’s Warbler, the first time the species has been identified on the island. The Townsend's Warbler is usually restricted to the Pacific Northwest. 

Spring Bird Migration

May 1, 2013
Vern Laux

Spring bird migration is at its peak.  On the Weekly Bird Report, Nantucket ornithologist Vern Laux says that singing Carolina wrens, pine warblers, and ospreys can be seen throughout the Cape and Islands.

Raptors Make Unusual Sounds for Courtship Season

Apr 24, 2013
Vern Laux

Ospreys, Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks and Northern Harriers are hard to miss across the Cape and Islands this time of year. On the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux remarks on these diurnal raptors. Silent for most of the year, at this season raptors engage in noisy courtship displays and make plenty of interesting sounds.

Audio posted above.


  For a few weeks in spring, woodpeckers may find a drumming post on your house. On the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux says these energetic birds bang on anything that will amplify their drumming. The sides or tops of houses have the added benefit of acoustically enhancing sounds with echoes and reverberations that make the sound travel even further. If one of these birds is tormenting you, don’t worry, as soon as it finds a mate and begins breeding, it calms down.

Your Ears are a Great Tool for Local Birding

Apr 3, 2013
Vern Laux

  Go ahead, use your ears to identify the birds in your backyard.  On the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux says learning the calls of a few singing birds in our area is not hard, and he walks us through some common birdsong heard at this time of year, including the Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, the Northern Flicker, and the American Robin. Should you take an interest, says Vern, you could learn the songs of all the nesting species in your neighborhood, or even on the Cape and Islands, in one summer season!

Bird News April 2013

Apr 2, 2013
E. V. Laux

Spring is really here! Vern and Mindy discuss the season's highlights from the world of birds. Bald eagles, more woodcocks, the birdsong that may have inspired Beethoven, and lots of nesting and breeding behavior... On the importance of bird calls: Vern says he does 90% of his birding by listening. And did you know that birds have local accents?

Cool Spring Impacts Returning Birds

Mar 27, 2013
Vern Laux

The weather this past week made it hard for not only recently returned ospreys, but all early arriving birds. In the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux observes that American oystercatchers have been hard pressed by the weather and probably wish they had remained on the Gulf Coast or in the Carolinas for another week or two. Nonetheless, these incredibly marked large shorebirds have been arriving by the dozens on Cape and Island beaches.

3 Common Bird Songs You Should Know

Mar 13, 2013

With the arrival of spring, birds are singing at dawn and again near dusk. On the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux says learning bird songs is easier than you think. He explains how to identify the Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren, and Song Sparrow - three birds common to the Cape and Islands.

Ospreys' Return Eagerly Awaited

Mar 6, 2013
Vern Laux

The return of the osprey to the Cape and Islands is an eagerly awaited birding event.  In the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux considers these migratory birds, who move south after the breeding season. The opsreys' return to our area in the spring is a cause for excitement. Already several “alleged” reports have been called in, but none has stood up to scrutiny.

Tune Up Your Ears to Spring Birdsong

Feb 27, 2013
Vern Laux

The morning air has bird song back in it. On the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux tallies some of the birds whose singing will soon be making the mornings noisy, including the white-throated sparrow, northern cardinal, black-capped chickadee, and carolina wren. The essay is atwitter with sample bird songs.

Vern Laux

Despite the recent cold and wintry weather, spring is imminent. On the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux notes that the days are getting longer - and the natural world is highly attuned to the photoperiod. Among the birds we can soon expect to become more prominent are woodcocks and migrating red-winged blackbirds.

Click through the pictures above, and listen to the audio.

Blizzard Brings Puffins in Spectacular Numbers

Feb 13, 2013
Vern Laux

The Blizzard of 2013 left in its wake plenty of damage, but it also brought to our coast an impressive variety and number of birds. In the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux tallies the sightings, which include a count of 52 Atlantic Puffins - what he calls, "far and away the most ever seen from anywhere on the Cape and Islands." Also noteworthy were hundreds of other Alcids, including over a thousand Razorbills, a single Dovekie, and a Thick-billed Murre. Other interesting seabirds included 4 tubenoses in the form of Northern Fulmars, 65 Northern Gannets, and 105 pelagic gulls called Black-legged Kittiwakes.

Taking Pleasure in Gulls

Feb 6, 2013
Vern Laux

Enjoy them - they're everywhere. On the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux says gulls are an excellent bird group for learning observational skills that can be useful in identifying all birds. There are 22 species of gulls that breed in North America.  The Cape and Islands are one of the premiere gull-watching locations on the eastern seaboard, as more than half the species found on the continent may be seen by an active field observer in a year.

Bird News: The Hour-long Premiere

Feb 2, 2013
V. Laux

Bird News debuts as a monthly, one-hour show with Mindy Todd and Vern Laux. A discussion of alcids, lots of listener calls, and special guest Sandy Komito, who holds the Big Year record with 745 species seen.

Audio posted above

Goatsuckers of the Cape and Islands

Feb 1, 2013
Vern Laux


Some early settlers believed these night-flying birds stole milk by suckling on goats and sheep, giving them their common name, goatsuckers. On the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux considers these increasingly rare summer residents of our region. They're also known as Whip-poor-wills and Chuck-wills-widows.

Dovekies a More Common Sighting This Winter

Jan 23, 2013
Vern Laux

Dovekies are usually scarce around the Cape and Islands, but this winter large numbers have been sighted. On the Weekly Bird Report, Vern Laux details sightings in the near-shore waters of Nantucket, and in Wellfleet and Provincetown harbors. Dovekies are a variety of auk, and Vern says the birds resemble a cute, wind-up bathtub toy.

A Winter Bird Wonderland

Jan 16, 2013
Vern Laux

A staggering number of birds winter on Cape Cod and the Islands.  On Bird News, ornithologist Vern Laux tells us of the many eiders, razorbills, alcids, and other birds attracted to the cold seasonal life in this part of the world.

For Birders, New Year a Time for New Lists

Jan 1, 2013
Vern Laux

Birders like to keep lists of all kinds. They keep lists of birds they see in their yard, the town they live in, the state, the country, the continent, the world and more. Many keep a year list so the start of each New Year is time again to start a whole bunch of new lists.

Vern Laux has more, including further updates on this year's Christmas Bird Count, in this week's Bird News.

Audio posted above