This week has been a busy one for the yard, with a number of new arrivals revealing themselves over the past couple of days. The male Eastern Towhee continued on Monday (4/15), and the first Opsrey of the year was noted soaring overhead.
The highlight of the week, though, came the next day (4/16), when a pair of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons was observed nest-building at the end of my street while on the way to school. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron has been nesting on the cul-de-sac that we live on for quite some time, but has declined in recent years. After normal numbers in 2009 (4-5 pairs), 2010 saw a 50% decrease in numbers. Only one pair remained in 2011, with these birds not nesting in the usual location. By the spring of 2012, ZERO Yellow-crowned Night-Herons were breeding in the neighborhood.
I’m still not sure why breeding Yellow-crowneds have decreased here, but increasing disturbance and the lost of traditional nests from Hurricane Irene might have been a contributing factor, although these birds were decreasing before the latter event even occurred. All of that aside, I’m especially relived and excited to see a pair making an attempt at breeding in 2013.
If you decide to come view the birds, please be respectful and don’t approach too closely to the Night-Herons or their nest. All of the members of this neighborhood have enjoyed watching these birds nesting for years now, and will not tolerate any disturbance to either the birds or themselves.
Last but not least, a five-minute watch of the feeders yesterday afternoon yielded three Dark-eyed Juncos while only one was present today (possibly the last bird of the season here). Three Eastern Towhee (one male, two females) were scratching about under the feeders this morning. Winning the award for the most bizarre sighting of the week were two Rock Pigeons seen under the feeders for most of the day today, the first ROPIs I’ve ever seen physically in the yard (only seen them flying overhead previously).