Rock Creek Park is a migrant magnet during spring and fall bird migration, so it makes for a great venue for hosting our twice annual bird walks for Bird Club members. On May 12 of this year, guided by SMBC ornithologists Russ Greenberg and Scott Sillett, our members enjoyed great views of many colorful migratory and resident birds including scarlet tanager, ruby-throated hummingbird, great crested flycatcher, Baltimore oriole and eastern towhee. A week later, club members were off to Delaware Bay with leaders Peter Marra, Scott Loss, Leah Culp and Mary Deinlein. First stop was the Dupont Nature Center. Although the tide level kept us from getting as close to the birds as we'd have liked, with spotting scopes we were able to view hundreds of red knots, dunlins, ruddy turnstones and other coastal birds. Our visit there coincided with the "Peace, Love and Horseshoe Crab Festival" which along with the Nature Center exhibits provided a great chance to learn more about the important horseshoe crab-shorebird connection. Then it was on to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge for a great afternoon of birding which gave everyone lots of practice distinguishing different species of plovers, sandpipers, dowitchers, egrets, herons and more!
Photo of great blue heron eating an eel at Bombay Hook by Janice Sveda.
Attendees at the May 31 talk by Kenn Kaufman entitled "The Vast Parade: Capturing the Spectacle of Bird Migration" got a sneak preview of his next book. As the title of his talk suggests, the book will focus on the epic scale of bird migration—the unbelievable feats of strength and endurance, distances covered, and sheer numbers of birds. The book will also highlight the excitement of spring birding in northwestern Ohio, which Kenn has dubbed "the warbler capitol of the world." While sharing many entertaining personal anecdotes and some of the dilemmas he's grappling with in deciding how to approach writing this next book, Kaufman unraveled some of the mysteries of how, why and where birds migrate. He also waxed eloquently about why birds matter and why we can't afford to let them slip away. The audience that night was also treated to a heartwarming performance of songs about birds by some very special second graders from Fairhill Elementary School who have developed a deep appreciation for birds under the guidance of their teacher Christine Payack and through their participation in the Migratory Bird Center's cross-cultural conservation education program, Bridging the Americas. Kenn Kaufman and these children give all of us concerned about the future of birds and conservation good reason to be hopeful!