Bird list & other natural events, May 2011

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)
Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
Eastern Wood-Peewee
Swainson’s Thrush
Yellow-Breasted Chat
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
Chestnut-Sided Warbler
Eastern Kingbird
Red-eyed Vireo
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Common Nighthawk
Golden-winged Warbler
Barn Swallow
Least Flycatcher

ALSO PRESENT (57 species)
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-Tailed Hawk
Wild Turkey
Killdeer
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Whip-poor-will
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
White-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tufted Titmouse
Black-cappeed Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Wood Thrush
Grey Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Northern Parula
Tennessee Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Black-Throated Green Warbler
Ovenbird
Louisiana Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch
Yellow-throated Vireo
Red-winged Blackbird
Black-and-white Warbler

MISSING FROM LAST MONTH
Osprey
American Kestrel
Bald Eagle
Hermit Thrush
Yellow-throated Warbler
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Purple Finch
Cooper’s Hawk
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Flicker

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.

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