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Birds & Birding Regional Birder

This is regional birding information for:

May 2016

The Southeast is dominate by two major forest types that dictate the kinds of wildlife, including birdlife, that live there: The southern Appalachian forest, represented brilliantly by the Great Smoky Mountains, and the widely spread southern mixed pine-oak forests. Where it is exceedingly wet, cypress swamps are typical, until the sea of grass, the everglades, takes over in the southern half of Florida.

Much of the Southeast is wet and generally warm, giving refuge to a great many species of birds during winter months. But even in summer, the Southeast is a mecca for birdlife because its lush habitats produce an abundance of food, particularly insects, that adult birds require to raise young.

Backyard Birds

The common birds of the backyard in the Southeast include the Carolina wren, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, northern cardinal, painted bunting, northern mockingbird, red-bellied woodpecker, brown-headed nuthatch, eastern screech-owl, mourning, white-winged and collared doves.

Regional Birds

In the southern Appalachian forests, the red-bellied woodpecker, Carolina chickadee, wood thrush, brown thrasher, and summer tanager are common. The southern mixed pine-oak forests are home to the Carolina wren, brown-headed nuthatch, indigo bunting, yellow-throated and pine warblers, yellow-breasted chat and blue grosbeak. In the cypress swamp, look for the pileated woodpecker, prothonotary and northern parula warblers, red-shouldered hawk, barred owl, wood duck and limpkin. In the everglades, the snowy, great and cattle egrets, sandhill crane, white ibis, wood stork, northern harrier, snail kite, and purple gallinule are typical.

What's happening in your backyard this month
  • The dawn chorus of bird songs is delightfully deafening; Carolina wrens and northern cardinals lead the band.
  • American robins incubating eggs; northern mockingbirds chasing dogs and cats in backyards.
  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds and red-bellied woodpeckers are sipping sugar water from feeders.
  • Chuck-willís-widows are singing at night; bobwhite quail during the daylight.
What to do in your backyard this month
  • Maintain water areas and birdbaths; reduce seed feeders to one of each type and food.
  • Check birdhouses for occupation by bluebirds, chickadees, wrens, woodpeckers and wood ducks.
  • Change sugar water in feeders at least twice a week; hang feeders from ant moats and attach bee guards.
  • Offer yarn, string and strips of cloth as nesting material in suet cage feeder.