Welcome back to our bi-weekly birding report. I'd like to invite you to become part of our birding community and help develop the focus of these reports. Do you have content you would like covered? A question answered? A birding event you would like posted here? Please contact me at email@example.com with the subject line “Birding Report.” Thanks!
—Doug Morin, firstname.lastname@example.org
New species of birds have been arriving over the last two weeks, undaunted by the cold temperatures and late snow. Recent reports have included hummingbirds and Baltimore orioles decorating backyards and bobolinks in fields. Northern parula and black-throated green warbler have joined the cast of warblers establishing territories, and flocks of white-throated sparrows are passing through.
Finally, the forecast is looking warm. Early flowers on trees are giving way to opening leaf buds. This marks a narrow window, with some of the best bird watching of the year. More species are arriving each week, viewing is good because leaves are not yet open on trees, and the blackflies are not yet out!
Arriving/increasing within the next two weeks
- More warblers. Vermont has more than two dozen species of warbler that are commonly seen. These small songbirds all have a similar body shape, but different coloration and songs. Warblers can be found in most habitats in the state from roadsides and neighborhoods (common yellowthroat warbler, yellow warbler), to hardwood forests (black-throated blue warbler) and softwood forests (blackburnian warbler), to the tops of Vermont’s highest peaks (blackpoll warbler).
- Flycatchers (including eastern wood peewee, alder flycatcher, willow flycatcher, and least flycatcher). These species are relatives of the eastern phoebes that frequently nest around people’s homes (often on buildings). They are very difficult to tell apart visually, but they have distinctive songs and habitats.
- Black-billed and yellow-billed cuckoos. These forest birds have a specialized diet—feeding primarily on caterpillars.
Spotlight - A great time to learn
There are many great resources available for both new and experienced birders to expand your birding knowledge. Here are links to a few recent free webinars (and one article) from local organizations that may be of interest!
- Backyard Birds and Beyond, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
- Bird Watching
- All About Spring Migration and Backyard Birding with Ebird, from Vermont Center for Ecostudies
- Getting into Birding, article by Vermont Audubon
- Beginner Bird Identification by Birds Canada (OK maybe not local, but it covers the same resources, concepts, and most of the same species as here in Vermont)
Fish and Wildlife is for the Birds
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s mission is the conservation of all species of fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont.
In recent weeks, F&W staff have been able to perform limited field work, with the highest precautions for public health protection. This has included surveying a selection of lakes, ponds, and streams across the state for the presence of waterfowl. Continuing this decades-long data collection is a key part of monitoring waterfowl populations in Vermont, up and down the Atlantic Flyway, and across North America.
- May 16 – May 25, 2020: Audubon Vermont Birdathon
- May 23, 2020: Vermont Center for Ecostudies Backyard Bird Quest 2020