Image by Ed Hughes
Published June 1, 2019
Let’s Go Birding: Head to the Woods in Warmer Weather
By Laura Carberry
Now that spring is here, it’s time to head to the woods! Most of the winter birders spend their time along the coast or near bodies of water. Warmer weather brings back Neotropical Migrants that tend to nest and spend most of their time in the woodlands of New England. These colorful passerines are what birders crave. They are small, flit around the treetops and can be incredibly hard to find: but the chase is what keeps us coming back for more. These passerines are only in our area for 3 to 4 months, and then they are back on their way to South and Central America. So now is the time to get out and search!
Each bird has a beautiful and distinct call and the forests come alive with their songs and colors. They are busy catching insects, setting up territories and making nests. Rhode Island has many locations to find these birds. Audubon’s Parker Woodland is a great place to find Louisiana Waterthrush, Worm-eating Warblers, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and more. The trails here can be moderate to difficult but the large Beech trees and rocky trails remind you of hiking in New Hampshire.
When walking through Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge you are sure to hear Ovenbirds, Black-throated Green Warblers, Pine Warblers and Northern Waterthrush, all of whom nest on the property.
El and Long Pond are great spots to find Yellow-rumped Warblers and Black-white Warblers, along with American Redstarts. This refuge is one of our more difficult hiking areas. If you are prepared to climb over boulders, you will find a forest like no other in the state. It’s the only designated National Natural Landmark in Rhode Island.
On Audubon’s Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge look for Blue-winged Warblers, American Redstarts, Pine warblers and more. This property offers young stands of forest as well as older ones.
Remember that without the protection of forested landscapes, these beautiful birds wouldn’t be able to survive. They need healthy forest habitat to return to for nesting each year. Audubon offers birding programs and nature hikes throughout the summer. Please visit our events calendar for times and locations. I hope to see you on the birding trail!