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

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.

Mark Faherty

Here we are in mid-February, and with the snow flying and storms raging, you’d think we’d be done with finding new rare birds overwintering here on the Cape and Islands. Fall migration, which brings most of our rare birds, seems a distant memory. We scoured the landscape during the Christmas bird counts, the hotspots have all been birded countless times, and all the rare feeder birds have been called in and documented. Or at least one would think so. But one would be wrong, because wacky birds that we have somehow missed continue to turn up each week.

 

likeaduck bit.ly/2lnhAOu / bit.ly/1dsePQq

Have you heard of “bird feeder fight club”? If not, that’s probably because I just made it up. But it totally could be a real thing, according to scientists using Cornell’s vast Project FeederWatch data set.

Allan Hopkins bit.ly/2koWQYp / bit.ly/OJZNiI

Here in coastal Massachusetts, we have some unique bird problems. Such as, what to do with that Dovekie in your driveway? Or, how did that puffin get in my bathtub? Both of these things actually happened, and, believe it or not, they are not isolated incidents.

Michael Ransburg bit.ly/2jb5rtv / bit.ly/OJZNiI

Back in November, I pronounced somewhat prematurely that the season of alcids was upon us. But, as is often the case, the flight didn’t really get going until January this year. So if you haven’t yet mounted a search for your first puffin or Dovekie, you’re in luck, because things are just starting to heat up up now.

Mark Faherty

What’s blue and orange and generates a lot of questions from listeners? The answer is the Eastern Bluebird, everyone’s favorite neighborhood songbird. Especially your grandmother. While it may not seem like the right time of year to talk bluebirds, they can be fairly common in winter, and some lucky folks even get them in their yards.

If you have the right kinds of fruiting trees and shrubs, some water, and maybe suet, you have at least a fighting chance of a visit from your local bluebirds all winter long.

Julio Mulero bit.ly/2j5iJf6 / bit.ly/OJZNiI

With last Monday’s Truro count, the 117th Christmas Bird Count season for the Cape and Islands came to a close. Weather wise, the season came in like a lion and went out like a slightly less vicious lion. The windy, rainy weather for the earliest counts gave way to drier, sometimes calmer conditions for the Vineyard, Nantucket, and Truro counts.

Mark Faherty

With the end of another year comes the results of the latest American Birding Association Big Year competition – and I’m sure you’ve been holding breath waiting to hear the winner. They haven’t announced the official results yet, so you’ll just have to wait. But one of the top competitors chose Cape Cod to make his last stand in his quest to see more US and Canadian birds in one year than any birder in history.

Mark Faherty

Keep an eye out for the butcher birds. There have been several sightings this winter of one of my favorite birds of all time, the Northern Shrike, including two spotted at Nauset Beach in Orleans within the last week.

Mark Faherty

Like the postal carrier in the famous creed, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays” the Christmas Bird Counter from the completion of their appointed rounds. And so, into the gale force winds and driving rain went the birders of the Buzzard’s Bay and Cape Cod Christmas Bird Counts this past weekend. 

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