1,400+ birds banded
for research at our
Red-shouldered Hawk - Photography by Harold A. Davis
Young Mourning Warbler - Photography by Ian Stewart
migration, such as Eastern Meadowlarks. His work continued into summer where he confirmed
breeding by several species including Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Yellowthroats and
Field Sparrows, a declining species of conservation concern. Most of these breeding birds
were found in the natural areas as these remain un-mowed to allow birds to breed successfully.
The counts continued into fall where he found significant numbers of sparrows and insecteating
birds such as Palm Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets in the meadows of the natural
areas. These meadows were not mowed until the following spring which provided an excellent
resource for these birds to feed and shelter during the winter months. This research
highlighted the bird diversity found throughout Coverdale Farm Preserve and illustrated
the value of preserving meadow habitat year-round. This comparative meadow field
study work will continue throughout 2020.
Nest Watch and Ashland Hawk Watch
Through our Nest Watch program, in 2018 a remarkable total of 753 young birds
fledged and were mostly Tree Swallows, House Wrens, and Eastern Bluebirds.
The network of over 200 nest boxes spread across our properties are
monitored weekly by a team of dedicated volunteers. The data is shared
with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Nest Watch to study the current
condition of breeding bird populations and how they may be changing
over time as a result of climate change, habitat degradation and loss,
expansion of urban areas, and the introduction of non-native plants
For more than a decade, the Ashland Hawk Watch continues to
provide important data about bird migration. In 2018-2019, more
than 100 volunteers helped as spotters and data recorders
for a combined 1,700 hours. A total of 27,813 migrant raptors
were counted including fourteen raptor species such as
Sharp-shinned Hawks and American Kestrels.
The Bird Conservation and Research Program is made
possible through the funding, generous support and
numerous partnerships including: Starrett Foundation,
The Brokaw Family, Shrieking Meadow Foundation,
Delaware Ornithological Society, Bird Watcher’s Digest,
Longwood Gardens, and individual donors.
Photograph: Wood Thrush Singing