07 April 2010

Early April Birds of Elmwood and Memorial Parks, Midtown Omaha

On the mornings of 3-4 April 2010, walk-about surveys were done to determine which birds of spring were present amongst the habitats of Memorial Park and Elmwood Park in midtown Omaha.

During these outings, 31 species were being documented as occurring in the park environs. A greater variety of species were seen Sunday morning, which did not include the Carolina Wren and Hermit Thrush observed on Saturday.

In varying numbers the birdlife present was, the: Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, American Coot, Ring-billed Gull, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, European Starling, Chipping Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow. Rock Pigeons would also be expected.

There were more than 400 individual birds noted as using the park habitats. This consideration excludes the gulls flying over, and the congregation of vultures to the west.

The number of individuals is indicative of the value of the parks to what is now resident and migratory bird species.

Two particular highlights for the weekend:

  • A pair of Hairy Woodpeckers about a tree cavity, acting as if they would be staying around and nesting. If they stay, this would be the first record of their occurrence in the breeding season.
  • Carolina Wrens continue to occur, and may the prognosis be good for them to continue their residence in the coming few months.
  • A single American Coot standing on a log in Wood Creek at Wood Duck Point early on Sunday morning. This is the first record of the species since April 1996.

There were a lot of Wood Ducks around, getting disturbed in various ways and moving hither and yon, certainly waiting for Monday when the setting will be less disruptive to their life-style.

Sorely missed this weekend and for many earlier weekends, have been Winter Wrens. They have not been observed at all during 2010, whereas last year they were readily apparent into April.

Lots of gulls continue to move across the park skies, and hundreds, if not a few thousand can be best seen in the evening going eastward above the heights of Memorial Park. In the morning, they are flying westward in loose groups.

At the same time before sunset, off the west, more than 20 Turkey Vultures can be noted floating to their nightly roost among the houses.

Species hoped for but not seen included the Brown Creeper, and a kinglet. Though were potential indications of both, there was no visual confirmation of their presence.

During April in the past three years, there have been 72 species recorded, so with it still early in the month, more birds will be arriving soon to take their place as part of the local avifauna.

There have been 120 species of birds denoted in Elmwood Park and Memorial Park since the start of 2008.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Cedar Waxwings were seen in the park a couple of days later.

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