May Is For The Birds

Laura Baird, Stewardship Manager

Spring is one of the best times on the Preserve at Shaker Village. Our forests suddenly light up with a burst of competing colors as wildflowers explode onto the scene amidst a lush green carpet. Every spring feels like a miracle as the landscape returns to life after a long gray winter. The month of April is for flowers, but May is for the birds.

Blue Jay Bird
This beautiful Blue Jay was spotted at Shaker Village.

By early May, the spring migration of birds is well underway. Billions of birds travel north from their overwintering grounds to return to their breeding territory – a spectacular display that coincides with the fresh new growth of plants and the return of large masses of insects. Birds need insects, especially soft-bodied, plentiful critters like caterpillars, to feed their young. Insects, in turn, need a diverse selection of native plants to survive.  The spring migration relies on this complicated web of natural relationships, so much so that the campaign slogan for World Migratory Bird Day on May 11th is “Protect insects, protect birds.”

To celebrate World Migratory Bird Day, thousands of community scientists will go birding on May 11th – also called Global Big Day. More than 58,700 birders from 199 countries went out during 2023’s Big Day, finding 7,626 species of birds all over the world. This massive effort becomes a global snapshot in time, capturing an enormous amount of valuable ornithological data every year. Last year, Mercer County recorded 137 species. Shaker Village’s property accounted for two out of the top four eBird hotspots in the entire state! 

Birdwatchers at Shaker Village
Birdwatchers have several opportunities for special bird-related events at Shaker Village in May.

Anyone can participate in Global Big Day – just go outside and report what you see and hear to eBird, a bird checklist website and app run by the Cornell Ornithology Lab and used by millions of birders worldwide. Birders interested in a refresher course of grassland bird ID can join us on May 3rd for “Birds of the Palisades”. Or, if you’re new to birding, join us on May 11th for our “Birding for Beginners” hike and we’ll celebrate Global Big Day together!

Shaker Village