They are on the move northwards! Grab your cellphone or camera, dust off those field glasses and binoculars and head out to your backyard, local parks, woods, trails, open grasslands, creeks, rivers, ponds or any natural area.
Want to know when and where migrant birds are headed? Track them using this tool: BirdCast – which gives real-time predictions of avian migration including forecast maps, live migration maps, and local bird migration alerts. Need help in identifying the birds you spot? Check out these handy citizen science apps: eBird, and iNaturalist where you can get help from amateur/professional experts across the world. Want to share your sightings or view sightings of migrating birds in your area? Report them (and also other seasonal phenological events) at this citizen science site: Journey North.
Birds travel enormous distances in spring and autumn to find food and reproduce. Play the Migration Game (from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park) and help Wanda the Wood Thrush travel North – from her winter home in Costa Rica to her summer home in Maryland – to find a mate, build a nest, lay eggs, and raise her family before heading back South! This game gives a glimpse into the staggering distances tiny birds like wood thrush (and other migratory land and water birds) travel and the perils they face just to survive.
This spring, give them a helping hand. Reduce outdoor lighting, keep cats and other pets indoors, and put decals (simple strips of newspaper) on glass windows and doors to prevent their predation and reduce their accidental collisions. If possible, provide clean water and install nesting sites. We put out a shallow dish of water and were fortunate to see some resident natives (cardinal, robin, house finch) and migrants too (dark-eyed junco and white-throated sparrow) in the DC area in just a couple of hours and the season is just beginning! We are of course waiting for Wanda (DC “state” bird) and other migratory birds and will soon share their sightings.
Want to help birds further? Check out these resources to find out how you can help resident and migratory native birds in general and also specific species: All About Birds and American Bird conservancy. Interested in learning more about seasons and the associated biological events in plants and animals? Check out our blog: Life Around Seasons at https://preservebio.org/life-around-seasons/
Spring is Nature in motion. It is a natural symphony and you have front row seats – and it is free!
#birds #migration #birdsong #conservation #biodiversity #phenology #seasons #springtime
(This article appeared on SBP’s LinkedIn Page on March 29, 2023)