tanagers

Spring migration

Cerulean Warbler

Cerulean Warbler

Spring migration is in full swing which means there will be a lot of interesting birds to see if you spend a little time looking around your yard, or at any of our wonderful parks and green ways. Get your binoculars out and your ears ready because the neo-tropical migrants are passing through or arriving in middle Tennessee everyday on the way to their summer breeding areas.  Warblers, Vireos, Tanagers, Swallows, Hummingbirds, and many other species are there for the viewing if you try.  Early in the morning, between 6 am and 10 am are best to see some of the mentioned birds because many of them migrate at night then settle down in the mornings to feed and rest.

The first Ruby-throated hummingbirds to arrive or pass through TN are just about a week away. Usually one, maybe two hummingbird feeders at this time of year is enough.  Don’t bother filling your feeder to full capacity at this time as the feeders are of little interest to them this early.  

At your feeders expect to see the always popular Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings.  Of course American Goldfinches are here in abundance year round but are now beginning to put on their bright yellow spring plumage.

For daily sightings reports of migrating birds you may want to subscribe to TN bird list, or visit Tennessee Birding on Facebook.

Richard Connors spring birdsong workshop is open for enrollment.

This class is designed for those who have had a beginning class, or already have some basic knowledge of our birds, although beginners will be welcome. Emphasis will be on bird identification by song, "birding by ear", as well as by sight. Participants will be trained for finding and identifying birds by song, especially those colorful songsters the wood warblers, some of whom are seasonal migrants and only stay for a brief visit. Radnor Lake is the perfect place to find and study songbirds, and we will take advantage of this with instructor-led bird walks specifically for this class.

Class dates: TUESDAYS April 10, 17, 24, & May 1, 8, & 15  

First meeting:  TUESDAY April 10, from 10AM – 12:00 noon, in the visitor center meeting room Radnor Lake State Natural Area, 1160 Otter Creek Rd., Nashville. Subsequent Tuesdays will begin with early bird walk.

Bird walks before class starting Tuesday April 17, begins at 7:30 AM. With classroom study from 10 AM to 12 Noon. The morning walks will continue thru May 15, with the last class room session May 8th.

There is a $75 fee for this 6-week class, with a portion of the fee going to Friends of Radnor Lake S.N.A.  Class size limited to 20 participants.

CONTACT RICHARD TO REGISTER for the class, not the park.  email Rconnorsphoto@aol.com, Home/office 615 832-0521, or mobile 615 330-7142 (call or text)

See this page for more information: http://www.pbase.com/rconnorsnaturephoto/bird_class_2018

Spring Migration

Spring migration is in full swing which means there will be a lot of great birds to see if you spend a little time looking in any of our wonderful parks, on area greenways, and even in your own backyard. Get your binoculars out and your ears ready because the neo-tropical migrants will be passing through middle Tennessee on the way to their summer breeding areas.  Warblers, vireos, tanagers, flycatchers, swallows, hummingbirds, and many other species are there for the viewing if you invest some time.  Early in the morning, between 6 am and 10 am are typically best because many of these species travel at night then settle down in the mornings to feed and rest.  For daily sightings reports you may want to subscribe to TN bird.org, or visit Tennessee Birding’s Facebook page.  There are links to these sights on our website.

We are only days or a week or so away from the first Ruby-throated hummingbirds to arrive, or pass through the area. Don’t get too eager with putting out several hummingbird feeders, though.  While you may see one or two early hummingbirds they are not usually very interested in the feeders.  One feeder with a small amount of nectar is sufficient.  For up to date information of migrating hummingbirds you may visit www.hummingbirds.net/map. Also a great site for hummingbird information is www.hummingbirdresearch.net

At your seed feeders, around mid-April, expect to see the always popular Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo buntings.  Most years the Grosbeaks can be seen for about a month before they move on to their breeding grounds, usually well north of us.  Of course American goldfinches are here in abundance year round but the males are beginning to put on their bright yellow spring plumage. Your feeders may have gotten a little slow of late as many of our local resident birds are spending much of their time courting and finding nest-sites. So now is a great time to give your feeders a little cleaning. Soon, though, feeders will explode with activity. As the breeding season progresses, many birds will take great advantage of feeders for a quick and easy food source.  It is during this time birds expend a tremendous amount of energy so the feeders become very important to them.  In my yard I will see suet consumption double during the spring months.

Noting the size and shape of the bird, primary colors, stripes, streaks, spots, and anything particularly unique is key to identification.

So, get out there and see some birds you haven’t seen before.

A Few Bird Watching ID tips:

Ø  Binoculars are essential.  You cannot see real detail on a bird without the magnification of a binocular. 

Ø  Initially, spend less time looking in your field guide and more time looking at the bird.  Committing to memory, or jotting down details should be first priority.  Noting the size and shape of the bird, primary colors, stripes, streaks, spots, and anything particularly unique is key; beak shape, wing shape, and behaviors too.  The type of habitat the bird is seen in is often overlooked by novices.  The type of habitat can sometimes confirm or deny the type of bird being seen.

Ø  After that is when the field guide comes in handy. Instead of going through page by page, narrow down what family the bird is likely in based on the information from initial observation.

So, get out there and see some birds you haven’t seen before.  It’s fun, interesting, and it gets you moving outdoors.  If you’re stumped by a bird you’ve seen come in and we’ll be glad to help you figure it out.