With the onset of spring, the spring birds are starting to appear! Spring is a great time for birding walks, as birds are most active in the spring and fall, and in some cases more colorful as well! Many different species find homes here because the region has such a variety of habitats from fields, to mountains to woodlands, as well as marshes, springs and lake areas. Almost two hundred species of birds live and breed in the Hudson Valley area, and numerous others migrate through on the eastern migration flyway which runs through the valley.
Identifying birds is a four step process. First, judge the bird’s size and shape, Second, look for its predominant color pattern and any markings it may have. Third, take note of its behavior: how it flys for example, does it swoop up and down? soar on the wind? land on a branch from above or fly up to it from below, and factor in what habitat it’s in. Identifying these details can more accurately find what type and species of bird it may be. Remember because the Hudson Valley is on the eastern migration flyway you may catch a glimpse of a rare migratory bird passing through.
A few tips to remember when you go birding, if you find baby birds on the ground, the first temptation is to pick them up and try to replace them in a nest if it’s reachable. It is a good rule of thumb to wear gloves (preferably plastic) if doing this for several reasons. One, birds do carry mites and harbor other bacteria, and some bird species will not re-accept a baby bird if it smells like a human being. Immature birds just learning to fly may be also be on their first flights, and have a parent close by watching (which you may not be able to see). Sharon Audubon has a nice list of dos and don’ts as well to keep in mind on your birding walks.
All you need for bird watching is a good bird field guide and a set of binoculars. To make your hike more interesting, bring a camera (or smart phone) and a journal, you never know what you might come across that you may want to take a picture of, or to draw a quick sketch of. Many field guides are now also available as smartphone apps. Audubon Birds, A Field Guide to North American Birds and BirdsEye Bird Finding Guide as well as CornellLab Bird Q&A. A terrific resource of where to go birding locally in the Hudson Valley can be found here.
Some upcoming events of interest locally this weekend to come check out!
Maplefest and Maple Bake Sale at the Sharon Audubon Center
(Less than 10 minutes from Amenia)
Saturday, March 19th, 2016, 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Admission: $6 Adults, $4 Children 12 and under
On-going guided 45-minute tours will lead visitors through the Center’s sugaring operation, including a working sugarhouse and a re-creation of Native American and early colonial sugaring methods. Participants can watch as pure sugar maple sap is collected from the trees and turned into delicious maple syrup. Fresh syrup will be available for purchase while supplies last. Admission for the event is $6.00 adults and $4.00 children (2 and under free.) Wear warm clothes and boots, as much of the tour is outdoors.
Visit Sharon Audubon for more information.
Maple Weekends at the home of Crown Maple at Madava Farms
(Less than 15 minutes from Amenia)
Saturday, March 19, 2016 to Sunday, March 20, 2016
Enjoy everything from complimentary maple syrup and maple sugar tastings to maple cotton candy, and even maple popcorn! No tickets required
Visit Crown Maple at Madava for more information.