Thursday, May 20, 2010

5 hardest birds in Northern Jersey (Part II better late then never)

Excuse me for my tardiness in revealing the final 3 species that made my "5 hardest bird species to find in Northern Jersey." Just to remind the readers each species must regualarly breed in NJ and be considered a North Jersey specialty. Additionally, Ruffed Grouse and Winter Wren were chosen as number 5 and 4 respectivally. Now on to the top 3!

[ photo provided by Bill Hubick]

At #3 I have chosen Golden-winged Warbler. This species has drastically declined in numbers over the past 10 years, primarly due to loss of habitat and competition from Blue-winged Warblers. To my knowledge there are less than 5 breeding pairs of Golden-winged Warblers left in the state of New Jersey. Soon enough this species will no longer make the Lagerhead Shrike's checklist.

Coming in at #2 is a species common to most people's feeders throughout the winter but rarely seen past early May, Dark-eyed Junco. This species certainly nests along the high ridges of Northern Jersey but is always elusive around the World Series of Birding. The Lagerhead Shrikes have yet to nail down a nesting bird and can only rely on lingering feeder birds. Pounds of bird seed have been used to keep a single Junco around for an extra day or two during the middle of May.

[Photo provided by Bill Hubick]

Finally, the #1 hardest species to find in Northern Jersey is the almost mythical Northern Goshawk. This species is sighted every year during scout week in various locations of Northern Sussex County. If you were to ask most teams where Goshawk nested in Northern Jersey they could provide a 10 square mile territory to look. Sadly the Lagerhead Shrikes don't have the resources to send a search party out for this species and it is probably better off that way. Just knowing that the species is sucessfully breeding in the state is enough excitement for me.

And if you were wondering how the Lagerhead Shrikes did this year with seeing any of the what I have claimed to be the "5 hardest birds in Northern Jersey" on the Big Day; you will be pleased to hear it was a clean sweep!!!

Zach Baer

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