Category: NEWS

‘Nature’s Morticians,’ Turkey Vultures Increasingly Common on Cape Cod

Are there monsters in your barn? For property owners on the Outer Cape, the answer in recent years has increasingly been “yes.” I’m talking about categorically ugly, hissing, projectile vomiting monsters. But don’t call the Ghostbusters just yet, because these monsters have an important role to play in our ecosystem. They are Turkey Vultures, and they are nature’s morticians. The other day we received a call at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary about a possible Bald Eagle trapped in an old shed near the sanctuary. Director Bob Prescott was soon on the scene, where he found just what he suspected: a Turkey Vulture nestling. Turkey Vultures, though eagle-sized and conspicuous when flying around, are shockingly secretive about where they nest. All of the nest records I know of on the Cape have been in old barns and other abandoned buildings, including the basement of an old National Park Service house in Wellfleet. So if you’ve inherited a sprawling old property with dilapidated
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

‘King of the Beasts’ Among Seabirds, South Polar Skua Sighted Several Times

As we pass the midpoint of meteorological summer and start that accelerating roll to Labor Day, it’s time to check in on what’s happening out there in the bird world. I will admit that I routinely neglect our South Coast friends in my bird reports, but not this time. And that’s because something unusual is afoot (or should I say a-wing?) at the famed Gooseberry Island in Westport.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Stand Listening in Your Yard and You’ll Likely Hear Baby Birds

It’s that time of year when babies and other youngsters are suddenly all over the place. And I’m not just talking about your visiting grand kids or your wife’s cousin’s kids. Baby birds are also everywhere now, livening up our beaches, woodlands, and especially our backyards with their awkward antics.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Bald Eagles May Already Be Nesting on Cape Cod

As I sit down to write this week’s bird report on the 4 th of July, I feel compelled to address our most patriotic of birds – the Bald Eagle. “Isn’t that a little ‘on the nose,’ bird guy?” you are probably saying. Yes, yes it is. But it is not without relevance to Cape Cod, where our national symbol is back after many decades of absence.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Piping Plover Nesting Brings Beach Restrictions

It’s June on Cape Cod, which means that it’s time for people to start squawking a little louder about Piping Plovers. These small, sand-colored local residents have been nesting on our beaches for eons, but in modern times they have come into conflict with certain forms of human recreation, and as a result have become “fauna non grata” among some people. And for those us who work to monitor and protect these federally Threatened birds, this negative perception of plovers can make for some bad days at work. Most our public interactions around nesting plovers are positive, and most people are understanding and even appreciative of our efforts. But we also hear a good number of gripes. Some of the anti-plover rhetoric is a little puzzling. The typical beach on Cape Cod either has no nesting plovers and hence no restrictions, or, if there are plovers nesting in the area, there is some string fencing around parts of the upper beach to protect the nesting habitat. The average person, who
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Sweet-Singing Hooded Warbler Among the Delights of June Birding

I always underestimate June. In my head, it marks the sad end of spring migration and all the giddy rediscovery that goes with it. Hearing the song of a warbler you haven’t heard in a year, seeing them and the Arctic nesting shorebirds in the full glory of their breeding plumage for just a few short weeks, and new local breeding birds arriving every day. Such are the joys of May. I think of June as the doldrums between the spring and fall migrations. And June always proves me wrong.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Last Week’s Warm Weather Brought an Influx of Spring Migrants

For a few glorious days last week, we had spring. Or was it summer? It felt like we went from March to August in one day. Such is Cape Cod in spring. But with the warm weather came the long awaited fallout of May migrants — the warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, and even shorebirds that we only get for a few weeks each May.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Little Blue Heron, Worm-eating Warbler, Pacific Loon Among Bird-a-thon Highlights

As the dust continues to settle after Mass Audubon’s statewide fundraiser and epic birding blitz known as Bird-a-thon, we team captains are tallying the results to submit to headquarters. At stake is the vaunted Brewster Cup, awarded to the sanctuary reporting the most species in the 24-hours of Bird-a-thon.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI