Firsts of the season: American Black Duck, Rock Pigeon, Eastern Phoebe, Rusty Blackbird, American Tree Sparrow, Song Sparrow

Passerines put on their first real show of the season on April 10. While covering for Krista Botting, the hawk counter, I observed 24 American Robin, 39 Red-winged Blackbird, 45 Common Grackle, and a Bohemian Waxwing fly by the deck with the greater majority flying through in the first 45 minutes of the count. 118 Sandhill Crane also flew over throughout the day.

The greatest number of raptors this season also soared by on Wednesday, April 10. 25 Turkey Vulture, 33 Red-tailed Hawk, eight Northern Harrier, and a few other species came through totaling 74. Perhaps the most exciting raptor this week, however, was the dark morph Rough-legged Hawk observed during the hawk count on the 11.

Zugunruhe*, migratory restlessness, seems to be hitting some birds and they are willing to travel up here even with multiple feet of snow on the ground. For example, I saw a Killdeer, a bird I do not associate with snow by any means but an early migrant, down Whitefish Point Road near Paradise itself on April 11.

– Charlotte R. Catalano, Field Ornithologist

Three of 25 Turkey Vultures, the highest daily count to date, seen at once on April 10. Photo by Charlotte R. Catalano

Top Photo: A Killdeer seen on Whitefish Point Road near Paradise on April 11. Photo by Charlotte R. Catalano

*pronunciation: zoo-gun-rue-ah