Get ready for bird migration to pick up
Time sure seems to fly by these days. All of a sudden, it's spring at the Wetlands and the migrant and breeding birds are making their appearance. SPRING BIRD MIGRATION starts with a trickle of species in late February and peaks in mid-May. That leaves April as being somewhere in the middle of migration. This can be a very exciting time because, as we move through the month, the density of moving birds steadily increases. Every day 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 twice that number in late April. Not only do the annual visitors begin arriving, but rarities begin occurring in April as well. Hot areas for observing 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 crabapples bloom and the Crooked River Wetlands.Â
Some April migrants include Blue-winged and Cinnamon Teal, grebes, swifts, hummingbirds, various shorebirds, Swainson's Hawk, flycatchers, House Wren, several species of sparrow, orioles, Western Tanager and Lazuli Bunting.
If measured only by the number of participants, the MONTHLY BIRD WALK is a resounding success. More than 40 birders, or at least people with binoculars (binoculars are provided for those without), 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 couple hours of birding and socializing. Remember that starting in May the twice-monthly bird walk will be held on the first and third Saturdays of each month, beginning at 7:45 a.m. Time to get up with the birds.
Different this year, is the entire calendar year of 2022 is fair game, and so any pics taken from Jan. 1 to the end of December are eligible. Submissions must be received by Jan. 15, 2023. Several really good photos last year weren't considered because they were taken before the early cutoff of May 1.
Thanks to the generosity of Gabe Lindsey of Lindsey Land & Tree, branches were placed on top the seven OSPREY NESTING PLATFORMS in mid-February. Call us impatient or whatever, we thought it time to hasten the use of these by "salting" them with a few enticing branches, and Gabe had the desire and equipment to accomplish the task.
Most Osprey arrive from Central and South America in the early spring and begin to nest soon after. Imagine the excitement a newlywed pair must feel when they first spy their potential nest site: "Look Harold! It's got sticks and everything!" Its sort of like curb appeal for birds. New nests are pretty 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, Osprey were decimated by the early 1970s as a result of the pesticide DDT, similar to what happened to the Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon. Once DDT was banned, Osprey returned in number and enjoy nesting on any available pole structure. In Prineville, Osprey nest at the high school, the fairgrounds, Kilowatt Field and along Lamonta Road, to name a few locations. Hopefully, the Wetlands will provide another site (or more).
Thanks to a generous grant from the East Cascades Audubon Society and expert help from the city in getting them planted, six NEW TREES have sprouted around the Monarch Garden — four mountain ash and two western chokecherries. All were chosen as being beneficial for birds, since mountain ash produce a preponderance of small fruit sought after by some species in the fall and early winter, and the chokecherries are preferred by a number of birds beginning late summer. And because of the city's help, there is grant money left over, which will purchase additional flowering shrubs for the pollinator garden. Now begins the task of keeping these trees watered, so they can get established.
So, get out there, get some exercise, enjoy the birds and cherish the water, as it's likely to be another dry year.
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