Below is a complete list of birds observed and/or heard within our farm’s ecosystem for May 2011. Birds in italics were observed or heard only in flight over the farm, but not otherwise interacting with it. 15 new species arrived or passed by the farm in May, for a total of 72 species. This should be the peak of migration, with the numbers dropping off significantly in June. Species only flying over and not otherwise interacting in italics.
NEW THIS MONTH (15 species)
ALSO PRESENT (57 species)
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Black-Throated Green Warbler
MISSING FROM LAST MONTH
OTHER NATURAL EVENTS
Toward the end of May, the insect population seemed to explode. “Good” insects like ladybugs and dragonflies are as abundant as we’ve ever seen, along with problematic insects like deerflies, cucumber beetles, and many more. With “neutrals” like the 13-year cicada emergence, it’s been a memorable time recently. We have two hypotheses on this; that the heavy snowpack over last winter helped many insects survive in higher numbers, and that the cicada emergence has introduced a significant new food source into the ecosystem that is drawing predators off other insects that are smaller and harder to catch. Can’t prove either one, but we’ll put it out there for interest.
Lots of wildlife activity, which at some point will be a nice photo essay, but here are a few features:
TREE FROG AND AMERICAN TOAD
HATCHED TURKEY EGGS AND BLACK RAT SNAKE
We knew about this turkey nest, and were glad to see she had brooded successfully. Snakes like this one are some of our best allies in rodent control throughout the farm, and this ~4′ long rat snake is a beauty.