Warbler Walks at Evergreen Cemetery – Week 1

Each spring, Maine Audubon offers free bird walks (“warbler walks”) at Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, and we’ve just completed our first of two weeks there. The quick summary is that this week was incredible! Of the nine years I’ve been leading these walks, the last three days (10-12 May) have ranked in the Top 10 of all time.

Much of looking for birds in a “migrant trap” like Evergreen depends on the weather and if birds are moving. The first couple of days of this week felt like usual spring birding days with warblers scattered around the cemetery for us to slowly track down and enjoy. With the clearing of low-pressure (rainy) systems to our south, and a southerly breeze with warm air helping push large numbers of birds north, the last few days have been literally jaw-dropping. From treetops filled with warblers—Yellow-rumped Warblers by the hundreds—to the understory crawling with White-throated Sparrows, I thought it was starting to rain because of the sound of all their shuffling through the leaf litter from across the whole forest floor! Sprinkle in the occasional Cape May Warbler eye candy, or the ethereal song from the resident Wood Thrush, and we’ve had some incredible mornings.

You can find our checklists, and other reports of what birds are being seen at Evergreen Cemetery, here: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L251292

By the Numbers:
We like to refer to BirdCast to get numbers of birds that were recorded by radar flying over Maine each night, and it is fun to see how that translates to birds-on-the-ground the following morning. While there are a number of factors that can influence these counts, this week we saw a very strong correlation between number of birds detected migrating and number of species we detected the following day:

Date: Birds crossing Maine prior night: Species detected:
Monday, 8 May 1,342,300 41
Tuesday, 9 May 413,100 39
Wednesday, 10 May 5,086,400 64
Thursday, 11 May 9,816,300 60
Friday, 12 May 5,559,600 66

BirdCast numbers for Maine are available here: dashboard.birdcast.info/region/US-ME

Next Week (May 15-19):
I’ll be at Evergreen Cemetery again next week, Monday through Friday, at 7 am, to lead walks looking for birds! More info here: maineaudubon.org/news/events/warbler-walks/