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.

Backyard Birds

Mar 14, 2018
Mark Faherty

With yet another storm hammering the Cape and trapping us indoors, I suppose we should talk about the underappreciated art of feeder watching.

Jean-Jacques Boujot

While we still seem to be dodging the bullet of a late winter blizzard, things have been uncommonly stormy this past week, to say the least. East-facing beaches have once again been been pounded, over-washed, and leveled by nearly 80 mph winds and 20+ foot seas conspiring with the already super high monthly tides.

Mark Faherty

The weather has been delightfully mild, and the forecasted temperatures through mid-March are all supposed to be above freezing. Could winter be over? Before you try to reach through your radio to punch me in the face for jinxing it, please hear me out. 

Mark Faherty

When it comes to late winter on Cape Cod, and the knowledge that beach weather is still four months away, it’s the little signs of better things to come that keep you going. If you are paying attention to the birds around you every day, you should be brimming with hope, because they clearly are, too.

Lutz Koch / http://bit.ly/2nZnS9J

So, it’s Valentine’s Day. Do you have a plan? Hopefully by now you have secured reservations at the finest bistro and obtained the heart-meltingest card money can buy. If not, you may need some help.


Have you heard of “bird feeder fight club”? If not, that’s probably because I just made it up. But it totally could be a real thing, according to scientists using Cornell’s vast Project FeederWatch data set.

Superb Owl

Jan 31, 2018
mpclemens bit.ly/2DMdJD7

Are you ready for the Superb Owl? While you Stephen Colbert fans and meme-savvy denizens of Facebook are already rolling your eyes, and saying things like “that’s so four years ago”, you may be surprised to know how many people are unfamiliar with the Superb Owl. 

A Goose by Many Names

Jan 24, 2018
Mark Faherty

If I asked you how many species of geese were on the Cape and Islands right now, what would you say? One, maybe two? The actual number this week is five, with seven species on the all-time list. This may surprise those only familiar with that perceived scourge of golf course and ballfield, the Canada Goose. I’ll get to the obscure species in a minute, but I want to start with the Canada. 

Mathew Schwartz bit.ly/2Drno5v

Normally, this is when we would be settling in for the coldest, darkest depths of winter, and going into our post-holiday cocoons. January and February are the months of snowstorms and of binge-watching Netflix. But having just survived the equivalent of five winters worth of cold over two weeks, temps in the 30s and 40s now feel like shorts weather, and you may be looking to get outside. 

Birds and Deep Freezes

Jan 10, 2018
budgora goo.gl/YuaAZB / goo.gl/cefU8


The Truro Christmas Bird Count was held on a frigid January 2, when more than 30 hardy birders braved subzero wind chills to find even hardier birds among the thickets, fields, beaches, and marshes of Wellfleet and Truro. A handful of us were foolish enough to venture out in the deepest predawn cold in search of owls, finding a bare minimum of Northern Saw-whet, Eastern Screech, and Great Horned Owls, barely audible above the wind gusts at times. 


January Bird News

Jan 9, 2018

On our monthly Bird News program, we check in with ornithologist Mark Faherty of  the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, about the bird highlights of the season. We hear about how the birds have been coping with the extreme cold. Callers from around the region also join the conversation and report bird and other wildlife sightings. Mindy Todd hosts.

Mark Faherty


Last week I promised the results of the Mid-Cape Christmas Bird Count, so we’ll start there. This count, which covers an area from Sandwich to Dennis, was held back on the 23rd, on a relatively balmy, rainy day, before we had gotten used to single-digit morning temperatures as the new normal.

Juan Zamora Photography

With three of the Cape Cod area Christmas Bird Counts in the books, it’s time to check in on the results. Based on what people were seeing in the weeks leading up to the count period, I was expecting a lot of late lingering southern birds and hopefully some high species totals. But an early deep freeze, some high winds, and then a day of steady rain conspired against the counts, putting a damper on the species totals, if not the spirits of the counters.

When the howling winter wind is piling snow drifts across your driveway, you might find it therapeutic to think about that iconic sign of the eventual change of seasons, the first robin of spring. In that case, I have some good news for you - the robins are already here! 

The truth is, the “first robin of spring” is a bit of a myth, and has more to do with a seasonal change in robin feeding behavior than with migration.