Birds are a beautiful sight sometimes paired with a beautiful song. We watch them in awe as they fly through backyards and over the ocean waves, but if you wake up early enough and take the time to sit back and watch carefully, their colors, songs and flight patterns start to have a much deeper purpose than beauty for the eye.
|Maine Audubon says there will be an abundance of |
Black-capped chickadees and many other birds in the
Sebago Lakes Region for birdwatchers to observe
this fall throughout the season. COURTESY PHOTO
Doug Hitchcox, a Staff Naturalist at Maine Audubon, says fall is a great time in the Lakes Region for birdwatching.
“Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of watching birds this time of the year is the diversity in their behaviors,” he said. “We have some species that are still finishing breeding, while others have been, or are soon to be in their fall migration.”
According to the Maine Audubon birding guide, some typical breeding species of the deciduous woodlands in this region includes the American Woodcock, Broad-winged Hawk, Ruffed Grouse, Alder and Great-crested Flycatchers, Black-capped Chickadee, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, Veery, Scarlet Tanager, Red-eyed Vireo, Chestnut-sided and Nashville Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Song Sparrow.
Hitchcox said fall in the Lakes Region features many areas to spot birds.
“It is hard to go wrong in the fall, and I’ve had great days just watching birds using the trees in my Windham backyard,” he said. “We are fortunate to have so many parks and preserves, but anywhere with water is usually going to attract birds.”
The Hawkes-Towpath Preserve and Black Brook Preserve are excellent walking spots to roam and watch for fluttering friends, while smaller spots like the deck at Pringle Wildlife Preserve offer more of a challenge for one to sit still and see what one can spot. By the beach, Shorebirds, like sandpipers and plovers, have been migrating for the past couple of weeks and soon their numbers will peak.
Hitchcox said that what draws the birds into this area of Maine is a combination of the diversity of habitat as well as the quality and quantity of food. The best time to see any bird’s activity is in the morning while they are foraging and fueling up for the day. You may even catch some dropping in if you are out early enough as fall migration has already begun.
Birds do a lot, but they don’t have to do it alone. At this time, birds need to eat insects, especially caterpillars to feed their young. People can help the birds by planting native plants and not using herbicides or pesticides. Not only does this help feed the baby birds, it will also attract more species right into your backyard to observe while taking morning coffee.
“Once the nesting season has wrapped, some birds will switch over to a seed-based diet and that's when you'll see activity pick up around your bird feeders,” says Hitchcox. “If you have a field on your property, leaving it unmoved as late into the season as possible is going to be a great help to birds foraging for the naturally occurring seeds in those plants.”
Luckily this year, the avian flu has not significantly affected Maine’s bird population. According to the USDA website, the last known case in Maine took place in Penobscot back in May and was found in a wild Mallard.
Many of the birds will go as far as they need to find food or the right habitat in the winter, Hitchcox said. Red-winged Blackbirds will stay close, with some sticking around in southern New England, while Swainson's Thrushes who sing their eerie and whimsical songs all summer will go as far south as Peru. <