Yellow-headed Blackbird – Hudsonian Godwit – Field Sparrow – Blue Jay Migration – Increasing Warbler Diversity – Sparrow Migration – Indigo Bunting

There has been a steady influx of birds and a few new species at the Point. Particular species of note include Yellow-headed-Blackbird (May 9), Field Sparrow (May 14), and Hudsonian Godwit (May 14).

Close up details of Blue Jay feathers found along Memory Lane. Photo by Charlotte R. Catalano

Over 2,000 Blue Jay have been counted so far this season, most in the past week with nearly 800 tallied on May 14. Physically hearing the Blue Jay flocks whoosh by me as they come in for a landing or take off from a tree is quite an unforgettable experience.

The first Indigo Bunting of the year seen on May 14. Photo by Charlotte R. Catalano

On May 14, amid the light blue hues of numerous Blue Jay, an Indigo Bunting was observed near the feeders, marking a first of year sighting for the dark blue bird.

Cape May Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Nashville Warbler, and Magnolia Warbler have all made it to the Point, albeit in small numbers. So far this season it appears that a good wind has been bringing the warblers in one night with them leaving the next. Hopefully, the warblers will stop over in good numbers for a few days in the next week or so.

A male Evening Grosbeak. Photo by Charlotte R. Catalano

Dark-eyed Junco appear to have finally completed the bulk of their migration with very few seen over the past week. White-throated Sparrow have also been slowly waning the past several days with Chipping and White-crowned Sparrow increasing rapidly. Purple Finch seem to have done the bulk their migration over the past two weeks. Evening Grosbeak are making a great push the last couple weeks with 89 noted from the hawk platform alone on May 8.

A Sharp-shinned Hawk with an unidentifiable bird in its talons. Photo by Charlotte R. Catalano

For whatever reason, the hawk numbers, excluding eagles, Peregrine Falcon, and Turkey Vulture, have been sorely lacking this year. Sharp-shinned Hawk, usually the most numerous raptor observed here, should have started peaking at the start of May but haven’t been showing. Northern Goshawk numbers are way down this year with only 14 recorded from the hawk deck (a typical year averages 73). Goshawk can be very irruptive, but this is still a low count. Rough-legged Hawk, again an irruptiver species, have also been sorely absent with 107 counted when former years average 670. The most likely culprit is the wind with many days blowing out of the north or northwest, resulting in birds crossing elsewhere, like Sault Ste. Marie. At this point, we are all pulling for a late-season push to bring our numbers up to par with past years.

I hope you’ve been able to get out and experience migration for yourself, whether at the Point or elsewhere.

– Charlotte R. Catalano, WPBO Field Ornithologist

Featured Photo: An adult Sharp-shinned Hawk in migration making a close flyby over the hawk platform. Photo by Charlotte R. Catalano