You know a bird species is doing well in an area when you take a short break from work to get a nice photo of the bird and return to work a handful of minutes later with good results. The Osprey in coastal Connecticut is one such bird and area. Southern Connecticut, of course, is not the only place where “fish hawks” are thriving. They are doing well up and down the East Coast and many parts inland, too. They nest along salt, br Continue reading
Procrastinators rejoice. I’m going to give you an excuse to put off a few chores for another month or so.
Do you have trees on your property that need to come down? Bushes that need to be pruned? Perhaps a field or meadow that needs to be mowed?
Well, I’m not only giving you permission (not that you need that anyway) to hold off for a while, but urging you to do so.
An interesting email came my way this week from a New Hampshire couple. They had purchased property about 25 years ago that at the time was an abandoned Christmas tree lot. Most of the trees are now dead or dying and need to come down. The couple, to their credit, wants to make sure the nesting season is over before they go forward with any of the work.
So, just when is it safe to take down trees or cut fields that may house nesting birds?
There’s no exact date, of course. In general, though,
Here’s a group of photos I took at a Barn Swallow nest, which was built on a light fixture in the covered portion of the parking lot where I work. The parents dive-bombed and swooped at all the people who parked nearby. They had only one brood before moving on. It’s a credit to the building owner that they let the nest remain throughout the entire process. This was a few summers ago, but I’ve never published all of these photos.
More photos below. Continue reading
I took a walk around a local park in Stamford, Conn., yesterday. I knew the warbler migration was winding down, but I figured I’d see a few late migrants and perhaps something else interesting. Something always happens when you make the effort to take a walk in the woods.
I was walking happily along looking up in the trees for movement. With the leaves out now, movement is the only way to spot most birds. I glanced down and suddenly found myself tip-toeing frantically to avoid bird droppings all over the trail. Not that it would have been a big deal if I stepped on one, but my brain recognize Continue reading
Last spring I had a post on this site featuring a pair of Eastern Bluebirds at Mather Meadow, a property of the Darien Land Trust. This weekend I paid a visit to the property again and, sure enough, the bluebirds are back. I checked quickly and noted four blue eggs in the house. It’s so good to see them nesting there year after year. It wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and determination of so many people at the Darien Land Trust. If the property (which is largely critical meadow property) Continue reading
Here’s my next photo in the series of 2014 photos that I never got around to looking at and posting.
Admittedly not a great shot technically, but interesting to see a Black-capped Chickadee exiting a potential nesting hole with a bill full of dead wood shavings. A pair of chickadees worked their tails off getting this cavity ready for the nesting season. I’m not sure if they actually saw this whole project through or not. I kind of hope not because the tree was dead and pretty flimsy. I’m not sure it was strong enough to withstand some of the storms we get here in New England. I’m sure the birds know what they are doing. At any rate, chickadees first excavate a cavity and then build a small nest of materials such as moss to soften the bottom of the home.
In response to the recently released State of the Birds 2014 report, Patrick Comins, the director of bird conservation with Audubon Connecticut, spoke about the 5 “poster birds” that will be most affected by climate change and the accompanying shifts in bird population. He was speaking specifically about Connecticut, but certainly all of New England will see this impact.
Comins spoke during a telephone conference to journalists on Wednesday.
Here are the birds he picked:
Saltmarsh Sparrow: Currently breeds in Connecticut, but has difficulty with rising sea levels and high tides. Rising tides will only become worse over the next several decades.
Bobolink: This meadow nester will likely not nest or be seen often in Connecticut over the next several decades.
Dunlin: This handsome shorebird currently nests and may be seen throughout winter along the New England coast. It’s nesting ability in Connecticut, as Comins put it, will “become zero.” It will move its range north and perhaps New England will get some winter views of this bird.
Blue-winged Warbler: This handsome bright yellow warbler will “move up and out.”
Veery: Comins almost picked the Wood Thrush for his final bird, but chose the Veery. It will become scarce in New England.
The phrase “over the next several decades” may give some people cause to relax and think “I’ll never notice it” or “maybe things will change.” But the “next several decades” will be here before we know it. There have been staggering declines in bird populations over the last 40 years. We’re talking some species dropping in number by 50, 60 even 80 percent. That’s just the last 40 years. That’s basically yesterday evolutionarily speaking. Jeez, I can remember 40 years ago. It bothers me to think this decline all happened in my lifetime.
Hopefully the State of the Birds report will get the attention it deserves and affect positive change for birds and all wildlife.