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

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. 

Mark Faherty / by permission

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Christmas Bird Count season! Birders are digging out their warmest winter garb, polishing their optics, and marking their calendars to prepare for the all-out birding blitz that is the Christmas Bird Count season. It runs from December 14 to January 5, and I can guarantee there’s a count near you.

Mark Faherty

From the time we are children, we know that birds fly south for the winter. Think of hummingbirds that disappear before the first frost, skeins of honking geese cutting through the crisp autumn air, or warblers and tanagers abandoning northern forests and beating it for food-rich Central American jungles.

Andy Morffew bit.ly/2fJ5nj6 / bit.ly/1mhaR6e

With the annual Cape Cod Waterfowl Census coming up this weekend, it’s time to talk ducks. But first I need to make good on my teaser from last week about the latest wacky rare bird to drop by the Cape – specifically the ocean side of Wellfleet. That rare bird was an Elegant Tern, and is about an unlikely a visitor as you could dream up for late November on Cape Cod.

Putneypics bit.ly/2fP0mJi / bit.ly/1jNlqZo

As I sat down to write this week’s bird report, I was prepared to talk about the latest mind-bogglingly rare bird to turn up on the Cape. But then I had one of those forehead-slapping realizations where the proper course of action becomes painfully obvious. I’ll get to that rare bird next time, but this week we obviously need to talk turkey.

Mark Faherty

The flying penguins are here – have you seen them? No, this is not an allusion to other seemingly impossible events of recent occurrence, but a reference to one of my favorite groups of birds – the alcids! November is when alcids arrive in numbers to the waters of the Cape and Islands, which means I get to tell you all about them.

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