We enjoy an abundance of wildlife here in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. There are hundreds of bird species, from migratory to raptors to waterfowl. Many of us get to witness this life in our backyards right from the comfort of our living rooms. Have you ever wondered about what type of birds you are seeing? Or considered setting up a little bird feeder? Here are bird watching tips to encourage you and your family’s interest in these amazing animals. While there are too many birds to list here, we do have a sample of the common birds in the Chesapeake Region.
Common Birds Found
Baltimore Orioles are one of the most brilliant songbirds in the East, with their flaming orange chest and jet black feathers. Named for the colors on Lord Baltimore’s Crest, they are common in open woods and groves in summer. Thur nest resemble a hanging bag and are constructed of woven plant fibers. The eat insects, berries, cultivated fruit, nectar, especially caterpillars, including the hairy types most birds avoid.
One of Maryland’s most beloved bird, the Osprey have a very distinct appearance. Mating with a single mate for life, they are seen nesting along coastlines, lakes, rivers, and in the Bay. Nothing is more captivating than witnessing a successful osprey hunt, except when a Bald Eagle swoops in and steals it! In many areas, homeowners put up poles near the water to attract nesting Ospreys.
Often seen standing silently along the shores of inland rivers and lakes or flying low and slow with slow wingbeats. Often called a crane, the Blue Heron is highly adaptable. These birds have been seen along the shores of mangrove groves to the coastline of Alaska! It has a varied diet and will hunt night or day. Eating mostly fish, Herons will also snack on frogs and lizards, turtles, snakes, insects, rodents and other birds.
Northern Cardinal is one of the most popular birds in the U.S. and abundant in the Southeast. They love to eat sunflowers but have a varied diet. Cardinals forage on the ground or in low bushes. They feed on insects, including beetles, true bugs, grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, flies, also spiders, centipedes, and snails. Cardinals will also consume vegetable matter, including seeds of weeds and grasses. The young are fed mostly insects.
The great symbol of American pride, the Bald Eagle is no doubt majestic. It is an opportunistic feeder. Meaning, it is both a predator and a scavenger, often stealing food from other birds, such as Osprey. Bald Eagles eat mostly fish but will consume other birds, mammals turtles, crabs or other shellfish.
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird can be found flying around gardens and wood edges, hummingbird’s wings beat over 50 times per second. Ruby-throated hummingbirds can fly in all directions! They are impressive migrants despite their small size. Some Ruby-throats have been seen traveling from Canada to Costa Rica. Consumes a diet of mostly nectar and insects.
According to the Audobon Society here are a few bird feeding tips:
- Locate bird feeders at different levels
- Offer a variety of seeds in separate feeders
- Provide suet during cool weather only
- Mix peanut butter and corn meal
- Place fruit out for fruit for berry-eating birds
- Provide nectar for hummingbirds
- Store seed in secure containers
- Discourage squirrels
- Locate feeders away from windows
- Keep cats indoors
- Clean feeders periodically
Do you know any more birds in the Chesapeake Region? Let us know! Come on into your Cape Ace and stock up on birdseed and bird feeders. And maybe have the kids set down their phones? Ok. Maybe take pictures instead… We encouraging our customers to take an interest in the wildlife here in the Chesapeake Watershed, another reason why Cape Ace is the Place.