Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Melting snow brings out birds

  • A snow bunting<br/><br/>(U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE)
  • A greater scaup<br/><br/>(U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE)

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts.

As the snow melted the birds came out to eat. Horned larks and snow buntings returned to the meadows. Robins and bluebirds settled into their fruit trees. A kingfisher and a common loon found holes in the ice, and the rivers held hundreds of Canada geese and dozens of mallards and black ducks, along with a few common goldeneyes and both hooded and common mergansers. Even a few red-winged blackbirds and turkey vultures ventured north, the first migrants of spring.

Lurking in the thickets and weeds were a few hermit thrushes, winter wrens, swamp sparrows, white-crowned sparrows and common redpolls. Some unusual species found at feeders were yellow-bellied sapsuckers, chipping sparrows, fox sparrows, field sparrows, and even a marauding northern shrike. Best news of all, the cardinals and titmice began to sing.

The gyrfalcon was seen late last week in the Hadley meadows, but other birds found there included northern harrier, rough-legged hawk, northern shrike, Lapland longspur, clay-colored sparrow and vesper sparrow.

A greater scaup continues to be reported under the Calvin Coolidge Bridge in Northampton, and four Lapland longspurs were at the Northampton Airport.

A northern shrike and six rusty blackbirds were seen in Sheffield and five Iceland gulls were chowing down at the Bondi’s Island landfill in Agawam.

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