Posted on May 12, 2013

The weather report was iffy for this spring Brookline Bird Club walk in the Arnold Arboretum this morning but the rain mostly held off. There was a large group of 23 birders, including several hawk-eyed youngsters and representatives from western MA and the UK, to enjoy the birds as well as the flora on the cusp of Lilac Sunday. With able assistance from Andrew Joslin and Will Cochrane, we saw a varied collection of resident and migrant birds with some good looks, although the flat light and expanding tree foliage made warblers tough to see.

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was high up in a tree but easily seen, and it sang endlessly. Such a beautiful bird:

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, male
Photo: Bob Mayer

Yellow Warblers that nest in the Arboretum were everywhere, and many were singing:

A singing male Yellow Warbler
Photo: Bob Mayer

We had ten species of wood warblers, which are migrating through Massachusetts now. One of the better seen ones was a Chestnut-sided Warbler:

Chestnut-sided Warbler. Note the yellow crown, black face mask and bold chestnut flanks in this lovely male
Photo: Bob Mayer

A Wood Thrush was heard coming from the base of Bussey Hill in the beech collection. These migrants are hard to see because they stay in the forest understory, but they are as pretty as their song:

Wood Thrush
Photo: Bob Mayer

We finished off with good looks at a striking, and more and more common, woodpecker:

Red-bellied Woodpecker, male. This species has moved farther north in the last several decades and now nests in the Arboretum.
Photo: Bob Mayer

Woodpeckers hammer away on trees and other things (transformers, metal siding) to define territory, prepare nest holes and maybe just for fun. On impact, their heads decelerate at about 15 times the rate that would cause traumatic brain injury in people. How is it possible that they avoid brain damage? Learn the answer at a talk this Thursday. arboretum sponsored talk.

Here is the complete list of birds seen on the May 11th walk:
Arnold Arboretum, Suffolk, US-MA
May 11, 2013 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.5 mile(s)
Comments: 60, cloudy
45 species

Canada Goose 2
Great Blue Heron 1 flyover
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Herring Gull 2
Mourning Dove 7
Chimney Swift 2
Belted Kingfisher 1 flyover
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Eastern Kingbird 1
Warbling Vireo 3
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 2
Tree Swallow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 30
Gray Catbird 12
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 3
Cedar Waxwing 4
Black-and-white Warbler 4
American Redstart 1
Northern Parula 5
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 8
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 2
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Black-throated Green Warbler 2
Chipping Sparrow 6
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Common Grackle 20
Orchard Oriole 2
Baltimore Oriole 5
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 6

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebi

The final spring bird walk in the Arboretum will be held next Sunday May 19, beginning at the South Street Gate at 8AM and co-sponsored by the Arboretum Park Conservatory. We will explore the newest section of the AA, Bussey Brook Meadow and Marsh.

Good Birding!