Broad-winged Hawks Are Migrating Along the East Coast, But You Won’t Spot Them on the Cape

There’s a jaw-dropping bird migration spectacle that only happens in September, and I’m afraid you’ll have to cross the bridge to catch a glimpse of it. The problem is, Broad-winged Hawks hate to fly over water, and there are no winds strong enough to coax them across the bay to Cape Cod on their southbound flight each September.
Weekly Bird Report

Birds of September Are on the Move

The next couple of months provide the absolute best birding on the Cape and Islands. Birds all over North America are on the move, and, beyond the embarrassment of riches that is our normal flood of migrants, the potential for rarities is very high now. Take, for example, the two Yellow-headed Blackbirds that were discovered walking tamely around Kalmus Beach in Hyannis over the weekend. These striking blackbirds are a strictly western species during the breeding season, but one or two misguided migrants can be expected each fall on the Cape by a sharp-eyed birder. While the thickets, oceans, and beaches are alive with migrants right now, and I’ll get to those in a minute, I’d like to start in your backyard, where you may have noticed some eerie night sounds in recent weeks. Every mid-to-late August our commonest owl, the Eastern Screech Owl, becomes vocal again. One of our most poorly named species, screech owls don’t make anything even vaguely resembling a screech that I have ever
Weekly Bird Report

Yellow-crowned Night Herons May Be Extending Their Range Across Cape Cod

Last week we talked about Black Skimmers, one of the southern waterbird species that seem to be on the rise in Massachusetts, as evidenced by an all-time high count recently recorded on the Vineyard. But there’s a second bird of more southerly affinities that has been quietly on the increase in these parts – the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.
Weekly Bird Report

Seabirds Part of the Show If You’re Going Whale Watching

It’s summer seabird time, and there’s no better place to be than the Cape and Islands. The regulars are in place, and you can expect them on any whale watch – four species of shearwaters, Wilson’s and occasionally Leach’s storm-petrels, and multiple species of terns are basically guaranteed, and even the neighborhood bullies, the jaegers, are in town to steal fish from the other seabirds.
Weekly Bird Report

Summer Is Already Over (If You’re an Arctic Nesting Shorebird)

It may not feel like fall, but if you ask a migratory shorebird, they’ll tell you summer is over and it’s time to pack your bags and head south. Since early July, adults of the many species of Arctic nesting shorebirds that pass through our area have been massing on local beaches, mud flats, and salt marshes.
Weekly Bird Report

July Is Butterfly Season on the Cape and Islands, with More Than 50 Species to Keep You Looking

Even though you’re taking your life into your hands just by getting on route 6, July is nevertheless one of my favorite times of year, because it’s the beginning of shorebird migration. Arctic nesting sandpipers and plovers are already heading south and turning up on Cape beaches and mud flats.
Weekly Bird Report

Adopting a Rescue Parrot

Normally, if you are planning to add a new bird to your family, you have a specific species in mind, because, after all, a parakeet is quite different from a macaw. You might look for someone with a good reputation who breeds this species. This is one of the most popular ways to obtain a bird. However, there is another great way to find a feathered friend or friends- through a shelter or a parrot rescue.

Many people find themselves unable to care for a parrot once they buy one. Perhaps they are too messy, or too loud, or not social enough. Other times, the owner may have financial or health problems, and as much as they love their bird, they truly can no longer care for him or her. These parrots usually do not end up in a parrot rescue; instead, they are usually turned in to a local animal shelter. Generally, shelters are not good environments for parrots – they are very loud, the employees are generally not able to give the birds a lot of attention, and they are very rarely able to provide toys or treats. That is where a parrot rescue comes in. They take the animal from the shelter, and put them either in their own facility, or in a foster home. Either way, they are generally able to provide the level of care that the bird needs. Many potential parrot owners prefer to adopt from parrot rescues rather than animal shelters, because the rescues generally are able to spend time with their birds and are able to provide a better description of their behaviors and personalities.

If you decide to adopt from a shelter rather than a rescue, be careful. Although your bird may have been turned in for no fault of its own, and it could be a perfectly nice pet, he also could have been surrendered for various behavior problems. Ask an employee if they know what the reason for surrender was, or if they have noticed any behavior problems during the birds’ time at the shelter. Ask them if you can spend a little time with the bird; sometimes, a shelter will have a ‘visitation room,’ where you can spend some time alone with your potential new best friend. Remember, sometimes birds will act up in the shelter – they may be frightened and screech loudly, or they could be so scared that they shy away from human contact. The shelter environment is loud and frightening, especially to a small bird like a parakeet, cockatiel or parrotlet. However, even the biggest macaw may act unusually in this loud and scary place.

You may find that you don’t want to adopt from a shelter after all. You might want to adopt from a breeder, where they have truly known the bird its whole life, and can tell you practically everything about it. But remember- if you adopt a bird from a scary situation, you are their hero. Even though you might not realize it, your friend will feel grateful. If you are considering a new avian friend, please consider dropping by a shelter or parrot rescue before you buy from a breeder.

Article contributed by Eliza Kuklinski

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