Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Birds of the Neighborhood (May 11-20)

The “neighborhood” consists of a 9-block rectangular area (my block plus the surrounding 8 city blocks) in a downtown neighborhood in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. But most of my observations are of birds seen in, or viewed from, my yard, an area just shy of 0.25-acres. The period was unseasonably cool (the latter half saw high temperatures in the low 60s and low temperatures in the mid-30s) and relatively wet; just right for my northern European genes. The following list of 19 species is probably fairly typical of what you would expect to see in many older, small-town urban residential areas in the Mid-Atlantic States at this time of the year (species are listed in alphabetical order, with numbers in parentheses indicating the order in which each species was detected, # symbols indicating species new this period, and * symbols indicating species not native to the area):

American Robin (5) - many occupied territories
Blue Jay (7) - occasional; much less visible than last period
Carolina Wren (19) - 1 heard on 5/16
Chimney Swift (6) - very abundant at dusk
Common Grackle (11) - common; nesting
European Starling* (4) - quite common; nesting
Fish Crow (10) - at least 1 on 5/11; noticeably less common this period
Gray Catbird (12) - occupied nest in neighbor's yard
House Finch* (3) - very common; nesting
House Sparrow* (1) - extremely common; nesting
House Wren (13) - singing occasionally; probably 2-3 territorial males
Mourning Dove (9) - fairly common; nesting
Northern Cardinal (8) - common resident
Northern Mockingbird (14) - singing occasionally
Red-bellied Woodpecker (15) - 1 heard on 5/11
Rock Dove* (2) - common; nesting
Ruby-throated Hummingbird# (18) - 1 seen by my wife on 5/13; a first for yard
Swainson's Thrush# (17) - 1 singing on 5/13
Yellow Warbler# (16) - 1 heard briefly on 5/13

Total Species This Period - 19
New Species This Period - 3
Cumulative Species Since 3/11/2002 - 33


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