By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator
With April almost finished and May on the way, the activity level of birds is really picking up. Many birds are already nesting, and a visit to the Middle Run Birding Trail this morning showed Tree Swallows gathering nesting material, Carolina Chickadees on seven eggs, and Eastern Bluebirds feeding three fledglings.
Recently-arrived neo-tropical migrants like Prairie Warblers are on territory and singing, trying to attract a mate for the nesting season. The “Meadow Mosaic” area on the Middle Run Birding Trail between Markers #4 and 6 had three different male Prairie Warblers singing.
Other birds are passing through the area on their way to nesting grounds further north. The Blue-headed Vireo is a bird that breeds primarily in the Boreal Forest of Canada, and stops by Delaware on its north-ward migration. Vireos and all other species of migrant songbirds depend upon an abundance of insects (primarily caterpillars and flies) that are found on native plants. At this time of year, trees in the Oak, Cherry, and Poplar family are good bets to attract birds.
The Warbling Vireo is a species of vireo that breeds locally along streams, and is often found nesting in Sycamore trees. This bird I observed today was gleaning caterpillars from a young Tulip Tree, in the slow and steady manner that is characteristic of vireos. Perhaps it will stay to nest at Middle Run!
What Spring migrants and bird activity are you seeing in your area right now?