Wildlife Highlight: The Massive Migration of May 2014
May 2014 was a GREAT month for birds and those of us who watch them at Mount Auburn, a total of 137 different species were seen during the month by the many birders who pilgrimage here each spring migration. Mount Auburn has always been recognized as one of the best locations to see the migration of many of the neo-tropical song birds, especially the wood-warblers, 27 of which were recorded during the month. Nothing seems to get missed by the birders during spring migration at Mount Auburn, over the years many unusual birds have been found including the first Massachusetts state record of Townsend’s and Hermit Warblers and just the fifth record of Golden-crowned Sparrow.
This past May, a Fork-tailed Flycatcher, just the fourth spring record for Massachusetts was discovered on Indian Ridge on May 13 by Alan Trautmann. The bird was refound later that day near Bigelow Chapel and the word went out to the birding community. Within minutes birders arrived on the scene to see this tropical vagrant and by late afternoon it must have been seen by nearly 100 birders. The bird was still present all day on May 14 and undoubtedly was the most observed Fork-tailed Flycatcher anywhere.
Radar has been used now for many years as a way of understanding bird migration. The indication of major fallout on Saturday May 10 was anticipated by those who watch the weather patterns and on Mother’s Day May 11 the Cemetery was wild with birds. The birds were backed up to our south and the south westerly winds were just what we needed. Luckily a cold front followed and these new arrivals were here to stay for a few days- a joy to the birders. Many veteran birders thought it was the best migration in years, all the conditions were right including the foliage; the oaks were perfect for watching birds in the first tassels of seeds and song was heard in every corner of the Cemetery.