🐦 Wild Bird Watchers Bulletin: May 2021 Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Spring is such an exciting time to be a birder! My yard has been getting very exciting the past couple of days with the arrival of White-throated sparrows and the lovely Mourning doves. This is along with the gorgeous Fox sparrows, Purple finches, Yellow-rumped warblers, combined with the melodies of Red-winged blackbirds and a Western Meadowlark in the distance. But… the best is yet to come! We should be getting reports any day now for orioles and hummingbirds. We have had just a few American goldfinch reports so far but those will also start increasing shortly.

These next couple of weeks are when the birdfeeders will be very busy with activity and song!

Be sure to get your Nyjer, grape jelly, orange and nectar feeders up now if you haven’t already! There does appear to be a shortage of the Welch’s brand of jelly this year but Smucker’s is a great second choice. I have found other brands are adding other unnecessary ingredients like corn syrup and preservatives so check the ingredients, the simpler the better. Make sure you get Concord Grape Jelly, not the jam.

These feeders have brought me some of the most exciting birds besides Baltimore orioles. I have seen the less common Orchard oriole, Cape May warbler, Tennessee and Nashville warblers, Rose-breasted grosbeaks, and the lovely Gray catbird. The jelly and orange feeders are a spring magnet for colourful birds and one we get lots of reports about are the Summer, Scarlet, and Western Tanagers. I’m still waiting for a visit at my place but many of you have been lucky enough to see these spectacular birds!

For the American goldfinches, the Nyjer seed feeders are a great way to restrict other birds from competing with the goldfinches and chasing them off. Typically, Nyjer seed is what is used in these feeders but consider mixing it with chopped up shelled sunflowers or use them on their own instead of Nyjer seed. The finches absolutely love shelled sunflower seeds and it has made a big difference in the numbers I have seen in my own yard over the years. It fits through the tiny feeding ports on the Nyjer feeders so you don’t have to worry about it plugging up the holes.

Having a bird bath in the yard is such an enjoyable feature! The past couple of years have been so dry that the bath in my yard has been a really big attraction to so many birds. It has brought many species that don’t come to feeders like thrushes, warblers, waxwings, and of course robin’s! We are very excited to be receiving some beautiful solar birdbaths in the next couple of weeks! We will also have the solar fountains you can add to your existing bath. The moving water is a lovely meditative feature for you and the birds love it! We are expecting these items in the store by May 7th, maybe even a bit sooner, just in time for Mother’s Day too! We have a wonderful selection of gifts for Mom including great garden dΓ©cor, wind chimes, metal art and so much more!

One other note is our annual Plant Sale! This always starts on May long weekend but it falls much later in the month than normal so it will depend on the weather when we start the sale. See a beautiful selection of native plants like milkweed, Giant hyssop, Bergamot, native grasses and more! All for the birds, butterflies, and bees. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for announcements of their arrival.

We hope you all have the best birding season this upcoming month! There is no question the birds bring such pleasure and joy to our lives. They are a wonderful relief from the pressures of the world and are there for us each and every day to sing and brighten our days. Happy birding everyone!!

Here are a few fun facts about some of the birds mentioned in this bulletin:

  • A Gray catbird that was banded in 1984 in Maryland, was recaptured in New Jersey in 2011. It was recorded as the oldest know catbird at 17 years, 11 months!
  • The oldest Scarlet tanager was 11 years and 11 months. It was first banded in Pennsylvania in 1990 and was found in Texas in 2001.
  • The oldest know Baltimore oriole was 12 years old when it was taken by a bird of prey and the leg band was recovered.
  • A Cape-may warbler was banded in Ohio in 1975 and was found in Quebec in 1978 giving it an age of 4 years and 3 months.

This shows you the importance of leg bands to the study of birds! If you ever find one, please report it to reportbird.gov or 1-800-327-BAND (2263). Your contribution to reporting the band will earn you a Certificate of Appreciation with all the info about that bird!