Sunday, May 13, 2012

Field Report: International Migratory Bird Day Bird-a-thon at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, May 12, 2012

Valley Forge Audubon Society celebrated International Migratory Bird Day at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove with a bird-a-thon. Vincent Smith, Joe Hudson, Dan Sullivan, and Rob Evans searched the grounds of the historic property and wildlife sanctuary looking for birds and raising money for VFAS. The event included bird walks open to the public, and four other birders joined them. Over the course of four hours, a total of 62 bird species were spotted. The complete list of birds follows this post.

Some of the birds seen, such as Magnolia Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, and Swainson's Thrush, breed north of our area and are only seen here for a few weeks in May as they migrate to their nesting grounds, and then again in the fall when they return south to their wintering grounds. In fact, both Blackpoll Warblers and Swainson's Thrushes make incredible, long-distance migratory journeys from South America to the forests of Canada and back every year. International Migratory Bird Day highlights the important role conservation plays in the lives of these birds. On such long, arduous journeys, birds need safe places to rest and feed on their way to their breeding grounds and back. Suitable habitat with protection and a good food supply is critical for these birds to survive migration.

It also goes without saying that birds need a safe place to breed as well. Chimney Swifts, Great-crested Flycatchers, Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Northern Parulas, Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles, and Orchard Orioles are all examples of birds that return to our area each spring to breed and then leave in the fall after their next generation have fledged. Again healthy habitat is needed to provide these birds and their young with shelter, a place to nest, and enough food for them and their new nestlings.

So our conservation areas need to contain enough healthy habitat to support migratory birds that use it as a rest stop on longer migrations, migratory birds that come in the spring to breed, and our native birds, such as Cooper's Hawks, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Carolina Chickadees, and Northern Cardinals, that live in the area throughout the year. With 62 species of birds observed at Mill Grove in four hours, you can see how diverse healthy habitat can be and the need to conserve that habitat and keep it healthy.

Here's the complete list of birds observed:

Canada Goose  12
Wood Duck  8 (Female with 7 fledglings)
Mallard  5
Common Merganser  1, These birds have started nesting in our area over the last 2 years.
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  3
Osprey  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Mourning Dove  1
Chimney Swift  8
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Eastern Phoebe  3
Great Crested Flycatcher  6
Warbling Vireo  2
Red-eyed Vireo  8
Blue Jay  8
American Crow  4
Fish Crow  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2
Tree Swallow  9
Barn Swallow  6
Carolina Chickadee  6
Tufted Titmouse  10
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
Carolina Wren  2
House Wren  7
Eastern Bluebird  2
Swainson's Thrush  2
Wood Thrush  8
American Robin  9
Gray Catbird  15
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  1
Cedar Waxwing  6
Black-and-white Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  3
Northern Parula  1
Magnolia Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  2
Blackpoll Warbler  1
Black-throated Blue Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  4
Eastern Towhee  2
Chipping Sparrow  5
Scarlet Tanager  2
Northern Cardinal  7
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Indigo Bunting  5
Red-winged Blackbird  6
Common Grackle  11
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Orchard Oriole  2
Baltimore Oriole  5
House Finch  3
American Goldfinch  5

No comments:

Post a Comment