We are so fortunate to have a wide variety of amazing habitats at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary which support so many of our furry and feathered neighbors (we’re proud to be a designated Wildlife Sanctuary!!). So this year, we were excited to introduce our community to some of the birds who call our Sanctuary home. We’ve offered four bird walks this year, from March through June, with an emphasis on beginning to recognize bird songs and calls.
The weather in March was perfect for our early morning walk. We saw Goldfinches feeding in the Aspen trees near the entryway and our resident Kingfisher put on a wonderful show landing in the tree along the creek so we could get a good long look. We also spotted the usual Carolina Wrens and Cardinals. Field Sparrows, the first of the summer residents to arrive, were singing in the meadow and in the hedgerows along the property edges. Even though we didn’t catch a glimpse of their little pink heads, their song is very distinctive.
Our April walk was a bit more challenging. The brave souls who turned out walked in freezing temperatures and a light snow shower to catch a glimpse of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a real treat! The House Wrens had already arrived for summer nesting and were noisily staking out their bird boxes. The Northern Parula, a summer warbler, was singing along the creek. A beautiful yellow and blue bird, I was sorry we weren’t able to actually lay eyes on him!
Warmer weather in May meant a more pleasant outing and several hard to spot species actually sitting still so we could get a good look. We chased the Indigo Bunting and Field Sparrow songs all over the meadow before finally getting a chance to see them just before the end of our walk. Both birds are back for the summer, nesting and raising new families. We were also able to see the little Green Heron sitting on a bare branch out of his usual hiding place deep in the wetland.
There’s so much going on at the Sanctuary that every day is a new discovery. The Purple Martins are busy raising families in the martin house on Barkwell’s property, the Phoebes are nesting under the bridge, bluebirds have staked out the box near the parking lot and a House Wren pair were building a nest in a tree snag in the front entry area (but I think they abandoned that nest in favor of another location). Grab your binoculars and come see what’s happening. Maybe I’ll see you out there!
P.S. For those of you who may be interested, I’ve read discussions on a number of bird websites about whether to capitalize bird names or not. I choose to capitalize, recognizing the names as proper nouns, and also to distinguish between bird descriptions (i.e. a white throated sparrow) and bird names (a White-throated Sparrow).