Warm Weather Heralds Prime Bird Watching Season

May 4, 2015

If this past winter had you longing for sunny days and spending more times outdoors, you’re certainly not alone. As northerly winds make way for the warm southerly breezes, you’ll likely notice quite a few more birds at the feeders and songbirds chirping away out of sight. Spring is prime-time for bird watching and while you may have noticed the return of the Red-winged Blackbirds back in March, and perhaps a surge in waterfowl sightings, there a plenty more feathered friends winging their way north.

The month of May marks the arrival of long distance warblers, tanagers and bobolinks, though as bird expert Eric Masterson mentions, “There’s nothing better to herald the new and emerging summer than returning birds.” However, the northerly wind that’s been dominating the atmosphere over the past couple of weeks has delayed their arrival.  

Listen to our interview with Eric Masterson

Yellow Warbler
Credit Colleen P via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/nBkf53

  But with temperatures in the 70s and 80s this week, expect to see a lot more of the brightly colored Neotropical species returning from South and Central America.

There's nothing better to herald the new and emerging summer than returning birds.
Red-winged Blackbirds
Credit hjhipster via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/75b94P

If you don’t see these birds, don’t fear, the best way to “spot” many of these birds is to open your ears. “It’s easier to hear [birds] than it is to see them, because you can hear around corners and you can hear behind trees.” Says Eric Masterson. “Very often our first point of contact with a bird is the sound and so it’s very important to work on identifying birds by sound and that’s an acquired skill. If you can tell your Mozart from your Brahms, you can tell your Yellow Warbler from your Chestnut-sided Warbler.”

If you can tell your Mozart from your Brahms, you can tell your Yellow Warbler from your Chestnut-sided Warbler.
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Credit Kelly Colgan Azar via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/fKXD73

Those without a trained ear can use apps to help identify birds, but nothing beats going outside with an expert birder. There are plenty of guided trips around the state that will help amateur birders listen for specific species. 

The Harris Center for Conservation Education

Birding the Hiroshi Land

  • Saturday, May 23rd 8am - 12pm

New Hampshire Audubon Society

International Migratory Bird Day in Pondicherry

  • Saturday, May 9th - 6am at Airport Marsh or 8am at Pondicherry Trailhead on Airport Rd.

Birdathon/Bloomathon

  • Saturday, May 16th (Registration deadline for contest entry is May 12th.)

Star Island Birding Weekends with Eric Masterson

Join Eric for an Insider's Guide of the birds of Star Island