Bird watching on Martha’s Vineyard can be very rewarding at time, so to bring some of that to our readers, we reached out to a young bird watching aficionado, David Benvent, 16 years old, who learned to love nature at Felix Neck and where he volunteers in the summer months, to ask him some questions about bird watching on this New England island.
What is the best season for bird watching? Birding on Martha’s Vineyard all year round is great. Each season brings new, special birds to the island. However, spring and fall are often the best times to go birding because that’s when birds are migrating between their breeding and wintering grounds.
What type of birds visit the island each season? Spring and fall have the most variety. During these seasons, waterfowl, shorebirds, seabirds and wading birds, can be seen as well as raptors, warblers, flycatchers, sparrows, cuckoos and others. During the summer many of these birds will stay to breed. Winter brings a different group of birds, most of them being ducks, alcids (including puffins, Dovekies and Razorbills), and on good years, finches (siskin, crossbills and grosbeaks).
What are some of the most unique birds ever seen on island? One of the rarest birds seen on the island, that was also seen very recently, is an American White Pelican. It was found at Black Point Pond in the summer of 2017. This bird usually occurs in the midwest and is very rare for Massachusetts. Another very special bird was a Black-throated Gray Warbler seen in Chilmark in 2016. This bird usually occurs in the southwest, and is also very rare for the east coast.
What are some tips to attract birds to your backyard for bird watching? Bird feeders are the easiest and probably best way to attract birds to your yard. Different foods can attract different birds. For example, thistle is best for finches, and suet is best for woodpeckers. Additionally in spring and summer, oranges or jelly can attract orioles, and sugar water (homemade or store bought) can attract hummingbirds. Planting native plants and bushes in your yard can also provide a place for birds to hide from predators, breed, and stop over during migration.
For more info on birding on MV, visit our birding page.
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