Weekly Bird Report

ricmcarthur / flickr / https://bit.ly/2GfR3Md

This past weekend was Mass Audubon’s annual Bird-a-thon fundraiser, which meant that hordes of birders were scouring every corner of the state in search of birds that would put their team over the top. In hopes of winning the vaunted Brewster Cup, I sent forth birders from the Berkshires to Provincetown.

Claudine Lamothe / https://bit.ly/2K4tHv7

While April slapped us around and spit in our face, it looks like May is treating us a little better. Spring is fairly exploding all around us as leaves, flowers, and colorful birds suddenly grace gray, previously lifeless branches. It might even be safe to plant some summer annual seeds. It’s definitely safe to go birding.

Mark Faherty

With the welcome arrival of May and a little warm weather, bird migration should finally be kicking into high gear. And with that comes a change in our local soundscapes as locally nesting songbirds arrive and the males immediately get down to defending their territories.


Birds do what they want. They have no time for “the man” and his rules about where and when they should be found. I never would have predicted that this would be a year we would see our migrant songbirds back early from the tropics, but that’s what makes birding so compelling – they always keep you guessing, and I guessed wrong on this one.

Mark Faherty

What has a forked tail and catches flies? In reality, there are several bird species that fit this description, but this week in this place there’s only one right answer - the super-rare Fork-tailed Flycatcher.

Chad Horwedel / https://bit.ly/2EAVGzq

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, bird song in your neighborhood has been steadily picking up over the last several weeks. Bird hormones are surging in response to the lengthening days, producing a variety of behavioral and physiological changes to prepare them for breeding season, including ever lustier singing. So I want to take this opportunity to offer an early spring tune-up for your birding ears, because once the long distance songbird migrants come flooding back next month, the degree of difficulty will be much higher.

Migrant Birds Trickling In

Apr 4, 2018
Mark Faherty

As I gazed forlornly upon the flock of winter juncos lingering in my snow-covered yard on Monday, May felt very far away. Here on the Cape, Old Man Winter has been like that in-law who keeps changing their flight so they can stay at your house “just a few more days”. But despite this snowy little setback, there has been a significant pulse of new spring birds as March has turned to April, so take heart.

Mark Faherty

If you feed the birds, then you may be feeding more birds than you had bargained for. Because where there are lots of birds, there are birds that eat birds. You might not be aware of the carnage, but if you look closely, you may see the telltale signs of bird on bird violence in your backyard.

Patty O'Hearn Kickham / http://bit.ly/2FX4PDT

With the weather forecast having become a skipping record of weekly Nor’easters, and temps below freezing every morning, yesterday’s arrival of astronomical spring does little but mock us. But as always, nature offers signs of hope if you know where to look and especially if you how to listen.

Backyard Birds

Mar 14, 2018
Mark Faherty

With yet another storm hammering the Cape and trapping us indoors, I suppose we should talk about the underappreciated art of feeder watching.

Jean-Jacques Boujot

While we still seem to be dodging the bullet of a late winter blizzard, things have been uncommonly stormy this past week, to say the least. East-facing beaches have once again been been pounded, over-washed, and leveled by nearly 80 mph winds and 20+ foot seas conspiring with the already super high monthly tides.

Mark Faherty

The weather has been delightfully mild, and the forecasted temperatures through mid-March are all supposed to be above freezing. Could winter be over? Before you try to reach through your radio to punch me in the face for jinxing it, please hear me out. 

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.

Lutz Koch / http://bit.ly/2nZnS9J

So, it’s Valentine’s Day. Do you have a plan? Hopefully by now you have secured reservations at the finest bistro and obtained the heart-meltingest card money can buy. If not, you may need some help.


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.