Sunday Nature Walk–Migration Madness

As the cooler temperatures of an April spring seem like a distant memory amidst a record-breaking heat wave, we are reminded that the month of May brings with it the birth and continuation of nature throughout the region. It also gives onlookers timely opportunities to see birds and wildlife that otherwise remain hidden throughout the year.

May paves the way to the spring migration as hundreds of bird species make their way up north. This includes songbirds, waterfowl, and a host of other bird species. With beautiful songs that are elegantly complemented by their colorful appearance and personalities, warblers are a perennial favorite among birders.

The yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata) (pictured at top) is just one of the many different songbirds whose calls will echo throughout Easton’s wooded areas during springtime. Baltimore orioles (Icterus galbula) are brightly colored birds that can be seen feeding on berries, nectar and insects. Keep an eye out for these amazing songbirds around meadows and flower-bearing trees.

Baltimore orioles are colorful songbirds that feed off of nectar, fruit and insects.–Tomas Koeck Photo

These early months also give birders an opportunity to see many species act differently and become more visible than at other points throughout the year. Hungry woodpeckers, such as the pileated woodpecker (D. pileatus), will forage on the ground, feeding on bugs and insects that have begun to become active with the warming temperatures.

A pileated woodpecker searches for a meal in an old stump. – Tomas Koeck Photo

While most owls do not migrate, many species are busy raising their young this time of year. Barred owls (Strix varia) will call back and forth frequently as the male is busy catching prey for the female and chicks. Other raptors such as red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) are also nesting and raising their young, but usually due so weeks or months later than owl species.

Barred owl chicks have already fledged by the time the trees begin to produce foliage. – Tomas Koeck Photo

Signs of spring, including the migration, can be seen in your own backyards. It can be very rewarding to build a mini-ecosystem right outside your back door and it’s exciting to find an unfamiliar animal right outside our own doorstep. The “Pollinator Pathway” is a community-driven movement to naturalize wildlife areas throughout the northeast and it can also serve as a model to achieve a healthy and natural yard.

For those who do not have a yard that lends itself to supporting this kind of wildlife, Easton contains a wide variety of publicly accessible trails and natural areas. For information about Easton’s trails to find out more about area wildlife, visit the Aspetuck Land Trust. To explore trails throughout Connecticut see the CT Woodlands website.

Tomas Koeck
Tomas Koeck

Koeck is a photographer and videographer. He is completing his bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the School of Communication, Media & the Arts at Sacred Heart University. He has worked on several stories with the non-profit Vision Project and is on the Easton Courier’s news team.  He has published in the Connecticut Audubon Society, TAMRON Optics, ESPN, and the Spectrum. He has also been featured on the prestigious Instagram wildlife photography platforms Elite Owls and Elite Raptors. He also runs a YouTube channel with over 20,000 subscribers.

He has conducted scientific research for Penn State University on invasive plant regeneration as well as field work with Dr. Kim Steiner of Penn State’s dendrology forest biology division. Koeck is also a recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Environmental Studies Award and has published species profiles for the Connecticut Audubon Society.

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