Mark Faherty

Mark Faherty writes the Weekly Bird Report.

Mark has been the Science Coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary since August 2007 and has led birding trips for Mass Audubon since 2002. While his current projects involve everything from oysters and horseshoe crabs to bats and butterflies, he has studied primarily bird ecology for the last 20 years, working on research projects in Kenya, Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest. He was a counter for the famous River of Raptors hawk watch in Veracruz, Mexico, and has birded Africa, Panama, Belize, and both Eastern and Western Europe. Mark is an emcee and trip leader for multiple birding festivals and leads workshops on birding by ear, eBird, birding apps, and general bird identification. He is past president of the Cape Cod Bird Club and current member of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee.

Mark Faherty

In last week’s report I griped about our typically cold and wet spring weather here on the Cape and Islands. I submit that it was a direct result of this griping that we then enjoyed nearly a week of atypically warm, sunny early spring weather. You’re welcome.

Laura Gooch goo.gl/jSp3Gw / goo.gl/lrxVf4

April is the month on the Cape and Islands where spring starts to tease us. While we get some token 50 degree days, we’re forced to chuckle at the reports of 70 or even 80 degree weather from the Boston news stations – those mainlanders know a different kind of spring than we do. Their trees leaf out weeks earlier than ours, which are held back by the cold, wet embrace of the ocean water surrounding us. 

Mark Faherty

A few weeks ago I got a call to fill in for a colleague leading a Mass Audubon birding cruise on the Peruvian Amazon leaving on March 24. The prospect was daunting – the field guide to the birds of Peru has the heft of an unabridged dictionary, and I had just a week to prepare. At around 1800 species, Peru is neck and neck with Columbia for most bird species of any country in the world. 

Mark Faherty

We should all be jealous of ospreys. They’re way better at fishing than we are. They spend their winters on sun-drenched lagoons in Venezuela and they visit Cuba annually without violating US law. 

Jim Kelly bit.ly/2nPwRbZ / bit.ly/1mhaR6e

When I was a weird little birder kid growing up in the wilds of Brockton, the Common Raven was an almost mythical bird to me. They lived in wilderness areas, like the big woods of northern Maine, where I assumed they soared around over densely forested hills looking for deer carcasses or whatever it was they ate. Or maybe they only hung around haunted houses and dark castles where they kept company with murderous madmen.

batwrangler / fickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Recently, one of our more flamboyant seasonal residents has been performing at a variety of obscure local venues, venues that you might describe as off-off-off Broadway. Performances generally take the form of a one man show, and they only work nights, so don’t even think about catching a matinee.

Cape Cod Times

I’d like to talk today about a network of shadowy figures infiltrating our communities. This vocal but seldom seen group operates primarily at night, and strikes fear in the hearts of the small and the vulnerable. I am talking about owls.

Rick Leche bit.ly/2nswwPJ / bit.ly/OJZNiI

I’d like to talk today about a network of shadowy figures infiltrating our communities. This vocal but seldom seen group operates primarily at night, and strikes fear in the hearts of the small and the vulnerable. I am talking about owls.

Disney / Pixar

I’m sure all of you are still basking in the glow of the Oscar win for Pixar’s beautiful animated short “Piper."  The six minute piece, and winner of the Oscar for Best Animated Short, is about a sandpiper chick too afraid of the crashing waves to learn to feed himself. The combination of gorgeous, cutting edge animation and a cute, wordlessly conveyed story explain the win, but as is typical of anything having to do with birds in Hollywood, they definitely didn’t get the Oscar for biological accuracy.

Mark Faherty

When it comes to late winter on Cape Cod, and the knowledge that beach weather is still four months away, it’s the little signs of better things to come that keep you going. If you are paying attention to the birds around you every day, you should be brimming with hope, because they clearly are, too.

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