Migratory birds making way north early, birders say

Alain Clavette joined other birders recently for a day of birding in Albert County near Fundy National Park to look for early arrivals in the annual spring migration.

Spring bird migration 10 to 14 days early for the 2016 season

Song sparrows are among the many birds making their way back to New Brunswick ahead of schedule this year. (Ferne Williams)

Alain Clavette joined other birders recently for a day of birding in Albert County near Fundy National Park to look for early arrivals in the annual spring migration.

"It was unreal," Clavette told CBC's Shift New Brunswick of what they saw and heard in the village of Alma.

"You could hear dozens upon dozens of blackbirds and grackles. You would get to some backyards and there be two to three hundred birds in the trees and on the yard."

Clavette said was the same thing with juncos — they were everywhere.

"We hit a flock beside McLaren Pond in the Fundy National Park, we estimated there were over 200 birds in there."

He encourages people to get out and look for the birds including the American Woodcock.

"If we have a mild evening, get out," said Clavette as he made the bird's call.

Early arrivals

The group also saw song sparrows and juncos travelling together.

Green-winged teals, American widgens, northern flickers and big groups of robins  are also migrating back to the area he said.

The common grackle has been seen by bird enthusiasts near Fundy Park a bit earlier than expected. (Submitted by Karen Williams)

Their arrival is earlier than usual. "I would say by about 10 days to 14 days some of them," the birder said.

The early arrivals are the birds that go to the United States to access food for the winter.

"As soon as the food is available for them [here], they come back up," Clavette said.

He said he is wondering what would happen when the neo-tropical migrant birds arrive, if insect eggs are hatching early as well.

"Will they arrive and not find the insects because the insects all came out of their eggs and their puba two weeks in advance?"

Whether the birds are arriving early or late, it is something they and Mother Nature adjust to each year, he said.

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