Local Birders Note Progress of Spring Bird Migration;
Blind Birders find Birds by Ear for North American Bird Count
The Ninth Annual North American Migration Count was held on May 12,
International Migratory Bird Day. Birders fanned out all over Maine to
participate, county by county. The information they gather helps create
a "snapshot" of the progress of the spring bird migration all up and down
the Eastern states.
Penobscot County birders found over eighty bird species in our area.
Of most interest were the brightly-colored migrant birds from the tropics.
The first wave of these long-distance migrants were found: Yellow Warblers,
Black-throated Green Warblers, Parula Warblers, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, and
a few Scarlet Tanagers have migrated up from Caribbean islands, Mexico,
Central and South America. A few Bobolinks were spotted in fields, back
after an arduous journey from the Pampas of Argentina.
The first members of the Flycatcher family, Phoebes, Least Flycatchers,
and Great Crested Flycatchers were back in Maine to celebrate Migratory Bird
Day. Later migrants such as Alder Flycatchers, Yellow-Bellied Flycatchers,
and Blackpoll Warblers are likely still in the Southeast or still crossing
Of the eighty bird species found, twenty-seven were found by a group of
birders led by Steve Colman of Bangor. Steve has been leading bird walks for
the blind and visually impaired for several years at the Audubon Society's
Fields Pond Nature Center. Like all bird experts do, Steve's group of
birders identified birds by their songs. Coming from Bangor, Blue Hill, and
as far away as Massachusetts, the group identified birds with Steve Colman's
expert guidance, finding their way along the nature center trails with
white canes and with the help of sighted guides.
Prior to the bird walk, the group had a briefing session on bird songs with
Don Tarbet on his computers. Wrapping up in the nature center after the bird
walk, the birders rejoiced in the beauty of bird songs and the return of
the migrants from their dangerous journeys. Several youngsters in the
group contributed realistic imitations of the bird sounds they had heard
and learned to recognize after several years of Steve Colman's teaching.
Judy Markowsky 989-2591