Too many birds are passing through our area to even keep up. Here, we have some at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.
The cemetery has beautiful grounds and is known for famous people buried on the property as well as large, towering trees. Each year, bird watchers descend for the annual spring migration. Take a look at what is migrating through.
As a new birdwatcher (two years in a formal fashion), many of the seasoned birdwatchers were spotting birds for my camera, but one thing about having so many helpful friends aiding my difficulty following these quick little birds, was by the time I saw the bird and raised my camera, the warblers were gone.
Also, the birds are often found behind leaves and blossoms. They don’t just sit waiting generally. I am lucky if they sit still for five seconds.
I had to be really quick on the shutter to get them before they moved on from branch to branch. When I finally get good at identifying one warbler from another by next year, I will set my camera up on a tripod to get better images. This means staying stationary and just waiting for birds to come to me.
In this place, that is something that can be done because just about everywhere one looks, there is a colorful bird going by. You can see much variety is at the cemetery.
These are not generally garden birds (I asked the experts), but ones found mostly in wooded areas. Some of the warblers are nectaring on fruit tree blossoms, others are chasing insects around the pond. The Yellow Warbler is one I believe of only two that one might find nesting here after the annual migration, all the rest move northward.
There is a short window to see these birds. Many were calling and singing, so I asked a birding expert why. He said they are practicing for when they get to their nesting grounds to attract a female. Honing their skills, who knew?
If you can believe, the experienced birders saw many more Warblers than I have in this post, even rare ones like the Prothonotary Warbler. The Nashville, Orange-crowned, Townsend’s, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Hooded, and Wilson’s warblers were among others sighted. Some I saw, but could not capture. Others, I may have photographed and could not identify.
This might make you change your mind on planting Ornamental Cherry and Crabapple, it might make you rethink how beneficial non-native plants can be in a garden at certain times of the year. Bees were covering these trees as well. Even turf grass was hiding insects for the warblers.
Not all birds care if we have strictly native plants. I also saw the same variety of warblers in the wooded areas, but not in this concentration.
What is important in addition to the water bodies, is the sunny conditions of the plants here. Sun attracts the insects and the insects attract the warblers.
And the warblers attract the birdwatchers!
The woman below is recording what is being seen, as are the photographers shown.
Take note of your own local cemeteries for wildlife activity. Most cemeteries plant very common landscape plants around the lawns…
Like this tulip magnolia. Guess what it attracts?
It may also make you appreciate water on home landscapes. As much as people dislike the insects water brings, these extremely active insectivores make short work of them. We saw flycatchers cleaning up around the pond as well.
Most people who garden only think of flowers, but there is much wildlife that is dependent on trees and shrubs. There is also wildlife that needs open areas, so again, there is a useful purpose for all types of landscape. You just might not want tombstones dotting your open areas, but low grasses and perennials are great for getting the insects birds like to eat.
Study your local cemetery and see how it benefits wildlife, then take a look back at your own garden. Structured is not always the antithesis it is portrayed.
Coming up… First Time Garden Visitors, Holes – What’s in the Holes?, How to Build a Trail in the Woods, Presque Isle State Park, Baltimore Orioles Build a Funky Nest. Not sure what you will see next.