Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let's Hear it for the Birds!

This past Saturday, a group of 16 motivated Early Birds found a way to wake up on the last morning of daylight savings time. The mixed group of novice and tenured bird watchers were rewarded for their efforts with sighted success!
Under the watchful eye of Outreach Coordinator and bird expert Anne Winters from the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center, a slew of some of the 900 species of North American birds were spotted. Old Westbury Gardens' lake trail proves to be a paradise for resident and feeder birds as well as those migratory birds grabbing a few last bites before their great southbound flight.
From the get go, a beginner like myself can notice the importance of limited conversation to avoid easily spooking certain species. But imagine my surprise when a group of Black Capped Chickadees flitted from branch to branch only feet above our heads. Acrobatic indeed, their bold personalities imply their adorable curiosity as the flock seemed barely bothered by our presence.
A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker could be glimpsed tapping his way up the bark of a fernleaf beech tree. Our group quickly learned to detect the markings of the Sapsucker versus any other species. Much like other woodpeckers, the Sapsucker does create dips and dents in the wood of trees searching for insects. However, the markings are generally well organized forming long strands of holes rather than scattered spots.
A solitary Hairy Woodpecker sighting proved more difficult to distinguish considering its characteristics are so similar to the Downy Woodpecker. Expert Anne pointed out the Hairy Woodpecker's larger bill (nearly the same length as the head!) and overall bigger size.
Amongst other birds spotted was a Yellow-rumped Warbler as well as a Carolina Wren, Hermit Thrush, Song Sparrow, White Throated Sparrow, Cardinal, Bluejay, and Mockingbird along with a flock of hundreds of Starlings and Grackles zipping overhead. Even the Great Blue Heron made a guest appearance swooping across the lake and showcasing its giant wingspan.

Want to learn more about birds and bird watching opportunities? Visit the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center. And stay tuned to Old Westbury Gardens' 2011 programming. We will surely welcome back our feathered friends when the weather warms!

1 comment:

Ron Mylar said...

Every body knows that motivated early birds found a way to wake up on the last morning of daylight savings time. Let's Hear it for the Birds.