FIConservancy’s 2018 Spring Migratory Bird count, held May 6 in collaboration with the National Audubon Society, was a huge success! Three hundred birds, comprising 55 species, were recorded from one end of the Island to the other, compared with 45 species recorded last spring.

An overcast sky and the threat of rain did not deter a group of 13 birders in four vehicles, led by Adam Mitchell from University of Delaware. Following Audubon bird count rules, the group made 15 five-minute stops. At each timed stop, the birders would count birds and call out what they saw.

Sites with the greatest number of bird species included:

  • Race Point (15)
  • Money Pond (15)
  • Demonstration Garden/Theater (13)

“It is likely that the increased number of birds in the Parade Grounds correlates directly with the removal of invasive plants,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Although 55 is the number for the official count May 6, a few dedicated birders informally added nine more species as they scanned the sky on the ferry ride to the Island May 5 and at an informal birding tutorial that afternoon.

Birders also reported hearing an American woodcock calling out on the Parade Grounds the night before the official count.

Photo by Kristen Peterson.

Recorded bird species, both official and unofficial:

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Mallard
American Black Duck
Common Eider
Red-breasted Merganser
Ring-necked Pheasant
Common Loon
Great Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Osprey
Northern Harrier
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Killdeer
Greater/Lesser Yellowlegs
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Winter Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
Baltimore Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
Merlin