Weekly Bird Report


The Weekly Bird Report with Mark Faherty can be heard every Wednesday morning at 8:45am and afternoon at 5:45pm.

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. He is past president of the Cape Cod Bird Club and current member of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee.

doevos bit.ly/2uvu4dr / bit.ly/1jNlqZo

As we pass the midpoint of meteorological summer and start that accelerating roll to Labor Day, it’s time to check in on what’s happening out there in the bird world.

I will admit that I routinely neglect our South Coast friends in my bird reports, but not this time. And that’s because something unusual is afoot (or should I say a-wing?) at the famed Gooseberry Island in Westport.

Mark Faherty

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a world champion in town, and I don’t mean that Brady and Belicheck are visiting their respective Cape and Islands summer homes. The world champion of all animal migration has made an improbable visit to the outer beaches of Cape Cod. 

It’s that time of year when babies and other youngsters are suddenly all over the place. And I’m not just talking about your visiting grand kids or your wife’s cousin’s kids. Baby birds are also everywhere now, livening up our beaches, woodlands, and especially our backyards with their awkward antics.

marneejill bit.ly/2snpmuS / bit.ly/1dsePQq

As I sit down to write this week’s bird report on the 4th of July, I feel compelled to address our most patriotic of birds – the Bald Eagle. “Isn’t that a little 'on the nose,' bird guy?” you are probably saying. Yes, yes it is. But it is not without relevance to Cape Cod, where our national symbol is back after many decades of absence.

Tom Murray bit.ly/2sjqq20 / bit.ly/1jNlqZo

Last week I participated in one of the oldest and most important citizen science projects in all of ornithology, the venerable Breeding Bird Survey. At this time of year, volunteers all over North America are participating in this survey, covering over 4000 individual routes.

Mark Faherty

It’s June on Cape Cod, which means that it’s time for people to start squawking a little louder about Piping Plovers. These small, sand-colored local residents have been nesting on our beaches for eons, but in modern times they have come into conflict with certain forms of human recreation, and as a result have become “fauna non grata” among some people. And for those us who work to monitor and protect these federally Threatened birds, this negative perception of plovers can make for some bad days at work.

Lip Kee bit.ly/2rt6PM6 / bit.ly/1dsePQq

You may have heard me talk about those marauding avian pirates of our nearshore waters, the jaegers. Fast and unrelenting, they chase terns and gulls in an effort to steal their fish, comfortable atop the local seabird food chain. But for at least one day this past weekend, the jaegers fell a few rungs on the seabird corporate ladder. A true pirate of the Caribbean was in town - a Magnificent Frigatebird was photographed on Stellwagen Bank.

JimGain bit.ly/2rJnoVW / bit.ly/1jNlqZo

I always underestimate June. In my head, it marks the sad end of spring migration and all the giddy rediscovery that goes with it. Hearing the song of a warbler you haven’t heard in a year, seeing them and the Arctic nesting shorebirds in the full glory of their breeding plumage for just a few short weeks, and new local breeding birds arriving every day.

Such are the joys of May. I think of June as the doldrums between the spring and fall migrations. And June always proves me wrong.

Mark Faherty

While monitoring shorebirds on Mass Audubon’s Tern Island in Chatham last week, I came across an individual bird that illustrated the hemispheric scope of bird migration, and shed some light on the struggles of a threatened Arctic nesting shorebird population.

OHFalcon72 goo.gl/3DNltw / goo.gl/cefU8

For a few glorious days last week, we had spring. Or was it summer? It felt like we went from March to August in one day. Such is Cape Cod in spring. But with the warm weather came the long awaited fallout of May migrants—the warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, and even shorebirds that we only get for a few weeks each May.

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