Saturday, March 8, 2008

Massachusetts Bird Habitat- Interview with Dave Scarpitti: Part Two

This is a continuation of my interview with Dave Scarpitti, an Upland Game Bird Biologist with MassWildlife who will be speaking about habitat management at the Mass Audubon Birders Meeting Saturday March 15th at Bentley College.

There are three primary types of land conversation for birds, breeding habitat, wintering habitat, and migratory corridors. Can you give examples of birds in Massachusetts requiring these types of habitat.

Breeding Habitat: A lot of different groups breed in Massachusetts- hawks, owls, warblers and sparrows breed in forests, while the Massachusetts coastline is very appealing to shorebirds and wading birds like herons, and egrets.

Wintering Habitat: There are many wintering birds in Massachusetts, such as black ducks and eiders attracted to Nantucket Sound. The type of wintering habitat requiring management is earl successional habitat- maintaining open tracts of land.

Migratory Corridors: Most birds migrate; the ones in Massachusetts that require management are resident birds. Woodcock migrate in winter, but grouse and quail do not and they require management of open spaces with areas of ground cover from the snow and cold.

Tell me about migratory flyways in Massachusetts. Birds use the coastline, in this case the Atlantic Ocean, as a guide in Massachusetts. Cape Cod sticks out in the migratory path, which results in a high concentration of birds stopping there to rest along the way. As for rivers, the Hudson in Connecticut and the Kennebec in Maine are other local waterways that serve as migratory flyways.

Birds like hawks, follow mountain ridge lines in their migration. As a matter of fact, it's been reported in recent years that some hawks have adapted to use major highways as migratory flyways. I had someone tell me they saw migrating birds following the Mass Pike just the other day.

Tomorrow's portion of the interview will cover edge habitat and grassland birds.


Dawn L. said...

Can you tell me which kinds of owls breed in Massachusetts? My son bought me an owl house and I was going to place it on a large tree in my backyard. I was wondering when they breed and what kinds of materials they bring to the box. Dawn L.

Birdinggirl said...

Hi Dawn,

I'm not very familiar with owls, but I found some helpful information on the MassAudubon Website:

According to the site, Barn Owls, Eastern Screech-Owls, Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, Long-eared Owls, Short-eared Owls, and Northern Saw-whet Owls breed in Massachusetts.

I'm not sure about where to place owl boxes, but check out the MassAudubon page dedicated to owls: