During the month of April, the density of moving birds increases steadily
Time seems to fly well these days. Suddenly, it’s spring in the Wetlands and migrating and nesting birds are appearing. SPRING BIRD MIGRATION begins with a trickle of species in late February and peaks in mid-May. This leaves April as somewhere in the middle of the migration. This can be a very exciting time because as we go through the month the density of birds on the move steadily increases. Each day of this month can bring a new migrant for the season.
On a good day, birders who might find 30 species in early March can easily expect to locate double that in late April. Not only do annual visitors begin to arrive, but rarities also begin to occur in April. Hot areas for viewing the April Bird Migration include anywhere along the Crooked River or Ochoco Creek (migrants use rivers and streams as migration highways), our local cemetery when the crabapple trees are in bloom, and Crooked River Wetlands.
Some April migrants include blue-winged and cinnamon teal, grebes, swifts, hummingbirds, various shorebirds, Swainson’s hawk, flycatchers, house wren, several species of sparrows, orioles, western tanager and lazuli sparrow.
If measured only by the number of participants, the MONTHLY BIRDS’ WALK is a resounding success. More than 40 birdwatchers, or at least people with binoculars (binoculars are provided for those who don’t), showed up on a beautiful April 2 to see what birds could be found. Out of necessity, the group was split into two and offered a few hours of birding and socializing. Don’t forget that starting in May, the bi-monthly bird walk will take place on the first and third Saturdays of each month, starting at 7:45 a.m. That’s time to get up with the birds.
Different this year, the whole calendar year 2022 is fair, and therefore all photos taken from January 1 to the end of December are eligible. Submissions must be received by January 15, 2023. Several very good photos from last year were not considered because they were taken before the May 1 deadline.
Thanks to the generosity of Gabe Lindsey of Lindsey Land & Tree, branches were placed on all seven OSPREY NESTING PLATFORMS in mid-February. Call us impatient or whatever, we thought it was time to speed these up by “salting” them with some mouth-watering branches, and Gabe had the desire and the equipment to accomplish the task.
Most ospreys arrive from Central and South America in early spring and begin nesting soon after. Imagine the excitement a newlywed couple must feel when they first see their potential nesting site: “Look at Harold! He’s got sticks and all!” It’s a bit like an attraction for birds. New nests are quite small, but as they get used over generations, they can be large enough for a human to relax in. Osprey pairs may use the same nest together year after year.
Although common today, the osprey was decimated in the early 1970s due to the pesticide DDT, similar to what happened to the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. Once DDT was banned, Ospreys returned in numbers and like to nest on any available pole structure. In Prineville, the Osprey nests at the High School, Fairgrounds, Kilowatt Field and along Lamonta Road, to name a few. Hopefully the wetlands will provide another site (or more).
Thanks to a generous grant from the East Cascades Audubon Society and the city’s expert planting assistance, six NEW TREES have grown around Monarch Garden – four mountain ash and two chokecherries. All were chosen as beneficial to birds, as mountain ash produces a preponderance of berries sought after by some species in fall and early winter, and chokecherries are preferred by a number of birds from late summer. And thanks to the city’s help, there’s money left over from the grant, which will buy additional flowering shrubs for the pollinator garden. Now begins the task of keeping those trees watered, so they can get established.
So get outside, exercise, enjoy the birds and cherish the water, because it’s likely to be another dry year.
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