As the days grow longer, a mass migration of millions of birds is set in motion. 350 different types of birds, many from the tropics, move into North America to find mates and raise their young. The Western Maine Mountains are the destination for a large number of these birds and have led some to refer to our region as a “baby bird factory”. April is a good time to prepare for the arrival of these visitors from away. Clean out your bird boxes and feeders, and brush up on their songs and field markings. May and June are just around the corner, and we are about to be invaded.
Early arrivals include American Woodcock and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. In fact, these birds, along with some ducks and mergansers, have already moved into our area. Soon, Maine’s state bird, the Common Loon, will move from the coastal waters to our lakes and ponds. Great Blue Herons and Turkey Vultures along with a number of different Hawks are among the larger, more visible visitors who will move in. Watch for Chimmney Swifts, Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows who will soon be swooping over fields and yards eating insects by the pound.
However, a host of other birds sneak into our area. Many thousands migrate at night and disolve into the woods and marshes often before they are noticed. Tropical warblers, the color of jewels in yellow, blue, orange and green, are small and blend in completely once trees have leafed out. These include Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided, and Yellow Warblers (photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClaurren) along with the Common Yellow-throat and can be found on almost any visit to Valentine Farm Conservation Center. A little later, toward June, we host Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers and Indigo Buntings. If you don’t know these birds, look them up and you will be amazed that such bright colors are flitting in the woods around you. Or join us on our next bird walks, May 25 and June 1, 8:00 a.m. at Valentine Farm.
James Reddoch, of Albany Township and Boston, leads birding events for the Mahoosuc Land Trust which celebrates 30 years conserving the natural areas of the Mahoosuc Region. Visit Mahoosuc Land Trust at 162 North Road, Bethel, ME or at www.mahoosuc.org. To learn about upcoming events or to contact James, send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org