By Doug Gilbert, not Hannah haha
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: A point count is a type of bird survey which involves standing in one location for ten minutes and recording all the birds you hear and see; it often includes trying to determine how far away the bird is that your heard and/or saw, and how many times each bird sang during that ten minute period. Point counts are usually conducted in the spring and early summer in order to determine what species are breeding in a particular area.
On Sunday, May 25th, I met up with three fellow birders to conduct the annual point counts for the SHWMA. We at 6am and did not finish until around 11am. We conducted point counts at 10 locations within the SHWMA, and found a diverse group of species–the species list can be seen at the end of this post. Some notable species included both of the cuckoo species (yellow-billed and black-billed; sometimes called “rain crows” because people tend to hear them before it rains) that occur in West Virginia, a single cerulean warbler, and a migrating blackpoll warbler (Google the pictures of these four species, you won’t be disappointed). One saddening piece of news, though, is that we did not hear the Acadian flycatchers, which, according to our veteran point counter, have been there for the past 11 years. Acadian flycatchers are a species that are known to like large, intact forests and are known to be impacted by the fragmentation and disturbance of these forests. Hopefully, they will return in the future.
Overall, we had a great time being out at the SHWMA and having the opportunity to contribute to the conservation of our area’s birds.
List of birds detected at the SHWMA on 5-25-14 Broad-winged Hawk Wild Turkey Black-billed Cuckoo Yellow-billed Cuckoo Chimney Swift Downy Woodpecker Hairy Woodpecker Pileated Woodpecker Eastern Wood Pewee Eastern Phoebe Red-eyed Vireo Blue Jay American Crow Tree Swallow Black-capped Chickadee Tufted Titmouse American Robin Cedar Waxwing Chestnut-sided Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Blackpoll Warbler Cerulean Warbler Black-and-white Warbler American Redstart Ovenbird Common Yellowthroat Hooded Warbler Yellow-breasted Chat Scarlet Tanager Eastern Towhee Song Sparrow Field Sparrow Grasshopper Sparrow Northern Cardinal Indigo Bunting Brown-headed Cowbird American Goldfinch