Bald Eagle & Other Spring Migrants

Adult Bald Eagle photo by Paul Fusco
This past Saturday, March 5th, was the first really spring-like day that northwest CT. has experienced since the New Year's weekend. The temperature rose to 52 degrees during a brief period of sunshine in the early afternoon. It was during this time that we filled the bird feeders and did some other outside work. The highlight was looking up and seeing an immature Bald Eagle flying over the Museum Area. It had come in rather low from the southeast, and then turned and headed due north; all the while circling and gaining altitude. In all likelihood, it had descended earlier to the mostly frozen Bantam River or Lake to look for a meal. Unlike the one in the photo above, the bird that I saw was a second-year immature. It was discernable as such by a mainly black beak and dark eye. It also had a heavily mottled brown and white underbody and underwings, brown and white tail, and completely brown upperbody and upperwings. Its presence overhead didn't seem to phase the large, mixed flock of blackbirds at the Bird Observatory's feeders. Their numbers have increased noticably in the past few days. This day's count consisted of 75 Red-winged Blackbirds and 27 Common Grackles. Oddly, there were no Brown-headed Cowbirds with them. Since Song Sparrows hadn't been seen at these feeders since late December, it is likely that the bird present here this day was an early spring migrant. The mixed flock of 21 American Robins and 15 Cedar Waxwings eating fruit in the Red Cedar tree behind the Activity Shed could have been early spring migrants or over-wintering birds. Virtually all of the birds seen around the Museum Area this day were also singing. Especially vocal were American Tree Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Red-winged Blackbirds. They all made it sound like spring!

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