Calling all bird enthusiasts: want to get out to see migrating birds?
World Migratory Bird Day, celebrated May 9, during the peak migration period, can bring out the “birder” in all of us. If you have ever met a self-proclaimed “birder,” you may know that this is the time of year they get the most excited. These hobbyists sometimes travel great distances to track down birds they have never seen before to add to their Life Lists.
The peak of spring migration season is May 5-12, where, on a good day, you may find over 100 different species of birds.
Every year, millions of North American birds migrate south for the winter in search of more resources. However, once spring begins to bud, our birds return and begin nesting
Fort Belvoir’s hiking trails offer many opportunities to explore the variety of different habitat communities which benefit wildlife, especially birds. Over the past 60 years, 278 different species of birds have been identified on Fort Belvoir and spring migration is the best time of year to find the largest diversity of birds.
They face many hazards, such as predators and lack of adequate food supplies, as they migrate. Communication towers and tall buildings also pose collision risks.
What we can do to help?
Migration is a stressful time for birds. There are several steps we as a community can take at home to help birds reach their nesting destinations.
•Planting native plants, reducing pesticide treatments, and keeping bird feeders and baths clean increases food and habitat resources for birds living in the area and migrating birds.
•Keeping cats indoors is also key to bird survival. Cats kill an estimated 2.4 billion birds each year and spring nestlings are the most vulnerable.
•Make windows more visible to birds. Window collisions kill many birds because they cannot see them. Applying affordable window treatments, such as removable stickers, can make your windows more visible to birds.
If you would like to learn more about the birds of Fort Belvoir and where to find them, come join Natural Resources Specialists outside the PX Food Court to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day, May 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
You can learn about what Fort Belvoir is doing to promote bird conservation to support the military mission. Trail guides and the updated Fort Belvoir Bird Checklist will be available.
The checklist includes all 278 species of birds found on Fort Belvoir and the abundance of each bird throughout the year.