Autumn is almost here and as the days get shorter and the temperatures get colder, many plants and animals will be making their preparations for the winter ahead.
One harbinger of Autumn is bird migration.
Fall is a great time to see birds here in Central PA that we may not see other times of the year.
Migration isn't a phenomenon seen only later in the fall, even as children enjoy the waning days of summer before school, many species of birds that breed in Canada are already on their way south.
Shaver's Creek is already noting species of Warblers, Flycatchers and Sparrows moving through down here by their boardwalk. One challenge of bird watching is that birds are usually much quieter this time of year as opposed to spring migration. While you may not be hearing them in your backyard, chances are you have some new visitors passing through, so take a look.
It's important to note that bird migration isn't all about the cold of winter but rather the scarcity of food. Birds like chickadees that can find a reliable food source through the winter months, such as seeds or slumbering insects, they don't need to expend precious energy traveling hundreds of thousands miles to warmer climes. For a species like the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, however, lack of flowers to drink nectar from come October, will force them to move south.
With late summer flowers like Jewelweed still in bloom, look for hummingbirds to be moving through, visiting hummingbird feeders and becoming scarce over the next few weeks. In fact, most males started to move and leave by the end of July. There are many websites that allow you to report hummingbird sightings and see a map of their southward progression. You can visit the website to find a few of these.
There's also a great time to watch hummingbird feeders for rare Western hummingbird species that might be migrating through such as the Allens, the Annas and Rufus hummingbirds.
You can report any unusual hummingbird sightings to the Pennsylvania Bird Listserve, found at PABirds.org.
And for a great chance to learn about some of the birds you may be seeing in your own backyard, join us here at the Creek at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 28th, for migration morning birdwalks.
For more visit the website at ShaversCreek.org.