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Birds & Birding Regional Birder

This is regional birding information for:

Northeast
October 2014

Fewer regions on earth have the diversity of wildlife found in the northeastern U.S. The life forms, such as birds, are dictated by the various climates, altitudes, latitude, and soil types of the region. The resulting natural habitat in the Northeast ranges from boreal and northern hardwood forests in northern New England, to oak-hickory and mixed forests in the Appalachian Mountains, to northern and mixed pine-oak woodlands along the Atlantic coasts and off shore islands from New England to the eastern shore of Virginia.

Overall, the Northeast is still dominated by temperate forests that receive a substantial amount of annual rainfall. Before Europeans settled the Northeast, the region was one vast forest of varying tree and plant types, interrupted only by an abundance of lakes, streams and rivers. Much of the water remains, but the uninterrupted forests are now broken by cities, towns, suburbs, shopping centers, highways, and farms. The forests that remain have greatly matured, diminishing the understory, due to a lack of fire and an unwillingness of people to cut trees.

Backyard Birds

The most common backyard species of the Northeast are the black-capped chickadee; tufted titmouse; northern cardinal; American goldfinch; house and purple finches; dark-eyed junco; song, American tree, and chipping sparrows; rose-breasted grosbeak; scarlet tanager; red-eyed vireo; ruby-throated hummingbird; Baltimore oriole; red-winged blackbird; American robin; eastern bluebird; downy woodpecker; northern flicker; mourning dove; blue jay; house wren; house sparrow; and eastern screech-owl.

Regional Birds

Birdlife in the boreal and northern hardwoods, include such interesting species as white-winged crossbill, gray jay, white-throated sparrow, black-throated blue and Blackburian warblers, as well as yellow-bellied sapsucker and common loon. Wild turkey, blue jay, cerulean warbler, and eastern phoebe inhabit the Appalachian forests, while in the coastal woodlands and lowland pine-oak forest, eastern towhee, prairie and hooded warblers are found. In the bogs, marshes, and swamps of the Northeast, belted kingfisher, great blue and green herons, and cedar waxwing are common. Grassland birds of the Northeast include eastern meadowlark, horned lark, and vesper sparrow. Sandy beaches attract piping plover, ringed-billed and herring gulls.

What's happening in your backyard this month
  • Waterfowl, and raptors on the move; may drop into backyards for rest and food.
  • Cedar waxwings, American robins and northern cardinals feeding on mountain ash berries and other tree fruits.
  • First season sightings of dark-eyed juncos (snowbirds) and American tree sparrows.
  • American goldfinches dressed in winter plumages of drab olive-brown feathers.
What to do in your backyard this month
  • Create brush piles with fall clippings for ground feeding birds; plant evergreens and other hardy cover plants.
  • Install heaters in water areas to keep bird baths from freezing.
  • Increase suet offerings in cold weather for woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and jays.
  • Protect feeders from squirrels and other four-legged pests with baffles and domes.
 

 

 

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