Savannah Sparrow photo by Paul Fusco
A question was asked recently about the locations of our bird sightings during the spring migration at White Memorial. The person asking the question wondered why so many of the sightings were around the "Main Area" and Little Pond. The answer is simple, with 3 reasons. First, these places are convenient to get to, especially for us staff members who have other duties to perform around the Museum, which is at the center of the "Main Area". Second, they are generally easy to walk around and offer relatively easy viewing of birds. The "Main Area" consists of the lawns around the Museum, White Hall Rd. and its side driveways, Ongley, Activity, Carriage House, and Mill Fields, and Lake, Ongley Pond, Mill Field, and Interpretive Trails, and N. Shore and Pike Marshes. The Little Pond area consists of the Pond, itself, associated marshes, the primary trail leading in from White's Woods Rd. through the Old Sewer Beds, the secondary trail leading in from White's Woods Rd. along Moulthrop Brook, the boardwalk connector leading in from South Lake St., and the boardwalk around Little Pond. Third, these areas include grassy, mixed herbaceous, and shrubby fields, shrubby and wooded edges, mixed hardwood, hemlock/hardwood, white pine/hardwood, white pine/hemlock, and white pine forests, cattail, mixed herbaceous, and shrubby marshes, shrubby hardwood swamps, hardwood swamps, ponds, and the Bantam River for habitats. This is one heck of a mix of habitats in a relatively small geographic area, and they consistently prove themselves to be extremely attractive to migrant birds. They offer everything birds need in terms of food, water, and shelter. It also helps that we provide bird feeders at the Museum and try to encourage native berry, seed, and nut producing vegetation to grow around this area. It's only 3 days into the month of May and we've already seen or heard 68 species of birds on the Property with all of them occurring around the "Main Area" or Little Pond. These include the Greater Yellowlegs and Savannah Sparrow shown in the accompanying photos. Other neat birds found around here since the last blog post include Black Vulture, Merlin, American Woodcock, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Wood Thrush, Nashville, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, and Prairie Warblers, Northern Parula, and American Redstart. These birds were encountered at all times of the day, but the most productive times were before 11 a.m. and after 5 p.m. This is the best time of the year to see birds, so come out to White Memorial and enjoy them; and please remember to post your sightings on ebird.org.