Reaching into the bag, Streby gingerly pulled out a tiny nestling. Not yet golden, it had dark-olive plumage with faint yellow wingbars. The baby golden-wing squirmed and peeped in Streby’s hand as he flipped it on its back and gently threaded a pair of minuscule elastic bands around its delicate little legs. He was outfitting the bird with a nano-sized radio transmitter backpack.
Weather like this can generate spectacular birding. Fallout conditions occur when warm air from the south or southwest meets colder air to the north. The collision can produce fog, rain, and swirling winds – weather you might not consider suitable for birdwatching. But these conditions can cause countless birds – migrating north on tailwinds – to drop from migration and into view.
The Forecast Calls for Birds by Bryan Pfeiffer
Photo by Gerrit Vyn
BOOM! and the birds are just dropping outta the sky! Well, not exactly but this week’s weather has meant for a pretty impressive yard-list for me. Especially since I live in the city of St. Albans!
Use the link above to check out Bryan Pfeiffer’s blog for the weather low-down and why it’s raining warblers and flycatchers and scarlet tanagers.
My yard list this week:
Blackpoll Warbler (by far the superstar!)
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Possible female Bay-breasted Warbler
Possible Pine Warbler
And the usual suspects:
For songbirds, singing a lot of songs indicates a bird is smart, but that signal is not necessarily indicative of intelligence for everything.
Horticulture Farm Walk this Weekend
Join me this Saturday for my one and only bird walk this spring at the University of Vermont’s Horticulture Farm! The Friends of the Horticulture Farm have invited me there this Saturday, from 8 - 11am to lead a bird walk through orchards, woods and fields. We’ll focus on both the birds and talk a bit about birdscaping so you can make your backyard a haven for songbirds. Space is limited and there is a fee.
Photo from Garth McElroy video via burdr.com
Morning Backyard Birds…
Again, with no time to bird this weekend, they just come to me. How wonderful to have a backyard in the city where there’s great rest-stop habitat.
Male and Female Cardinal
Possible female Bay-breasted Warbler
Photo by Terry and Joanne Johnson as seen on Cornell’s All About Birds website
A new study from scientists at Boise State University in Idaho shows that even species considered “tolerant” of human activity may be adversely impacted by human disturbance; Kestrels nesting in close proximity to roads and developed areas had elevated stress hormones and high rates of nest abandonment. The apparently favorable location, then, becomes an ecological trap.
Funding Available for Golden-winged Warbler Habitat
Photo by: Christian Artuso, Golden-winged Warbler Working Group
Vermont Natural Resource Conservation Service is targeting grown-up fields and pastures to be managed to benefit the golden-winged warbler. This small migratory bird is declining across it’s range (northeastern US and adjoining parts of Canada) and is therefore a regional species of concern. Golden-winged warblers are part of a group of birds called “shrubland birds” that require thickets of shrubs and woody cover interspersed with grassy and herbaceous openings. A mixture of short and tall shrubs, scattered trees and herbaceous openings are ideal. This habitat can often be found on old fields or lightly grazed pastures on farms in the Champlain Valley; this region is also the primary range of the bird in the state. Funding is available for southwestern Chittenden County, western Addison County and northwestern Rutland County to help create preferred habitat conditions. Contact your local USDA Service Center for more information. Applications will be accepted until May 7th, 2013.
People who care about birds can change the world,” said Audubon chief scientist Gary Langham. “That’s why this year’s record-setting global participation is so exciting. Technology has made it possible for people everywhere to unite around a shared love of birds and a commitment to protecting them.