The April Bird Counts of the Buffalo
Ornithological Society are conducted by many parties of observers who cover all of the
water bodies in our region at about the height of the spring waterfowl flight. The maximum
number of species, 125, was recorded on April 12, 1959.
With the melting of the snow cover
many seed-eaters arrive, including several species of sparrows. Birds on the previous list
increase in numbers and the following birds usually join them:
These species are usually joined
about mid-April or shortly afterward by the following:
Black-crowned Night Heron*
Most of the wintering and migrant
waterfowl depart before the end of April, as do other winter visitants such as Common
Redpolls and Tree Sparrows.
Toward the end of the month more insectivorous birds arrive, and new migrants include:
Black-throated Green Warbler
Either in late April or early May
there are liable to be spectacular hawk migrations along the south shores of Lake Erie and
Lake Ontario, usually on southwest or west winds. Broad-winged Hawk flights at the height
of migration often rival the large flights seen at Hawk Mountain in the fall.
This is the month dear to the hearts
of most bird students, since it is possible to see more species at the height of migration
about mid-May than at other times of the year. Now the long-distance land bird migrants
arrive, many, from as far as Central and South America, and it seems that in general these
travelers from afar arrive at more nearly the same date each year than do those from
nearby wintering quarters. Weather does have an effect which sometimes produces a very
large movement on warm waves after a spell of inclement and cold days.
During the first ten days of May
birds on the previous list increase greatly in numbers, and the new migrants (some of
which occasionally arrive before May 1) include:
Great Crested Flycatcher
Long-billed Marsh Wren
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Cape May Warbler
The above group usually arrives in
greater numbers from May 10 to May 16 and is then joined by these new species:
Wood Pewee (a few)
Short-billed Marsh Wren
Mourning Warbler (a few)
The next week's arrivals usually
The period from May 17 to May 23 is
usually the height of migration. in the Niagara Frontier Region. It is possible in most
years for a single, small group of ardent observers to list over 150 species in the course
of a day. Our May Bird Counts are taken near the peak of the spring migration, when many
observers, divided into at least 25 parties, cover most of the choice localities in our
entire study area. The maximum number of species recorded was 199 on May 18, 1958.
During the month of May such winter
visitants and early migrants as Red-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Water Pipit,
Evening Grosbeak, Pine Siskin, Red Crossbill and Fox Sparrow leave for their northern
During the last week of the month
the shorebird migration is often at its peak, the Knot bringing up the rear of the parade.
Now, and in early June, is the time to be on the watch for Brant. The warbler migrants are
still passing through, particularly the females of many species.