Where to Bird this Month: February

Who knows what this month will bring weather-wise? On average 116 species are seen in February.

Long-tailed Duck. Non-breeding Male with Tail Erect. Irondequoit Bay (© Jay Greenberg)

Long-tailed Duck. Non-breeding Male with Tail Erect. Irondequoit Bay (© Jay Greenberg)

Winter waterfowl linger in open water, and they are joined at month’s end by early spring arrivals.  There usually is open water for waterfowl along Lake Ontario, the Genesee River, and the Irondequoit Bay outlet.  Long-tailed Duck, goldeneye, Bufflehead and Greater Scaup should be seen at these spots. Slater Creek now freezes but you may find mergansers there.

Short-eared Owl and Northern Harrier are often seen in the fields near Nation’s Road and elsewhere.  Please use your best birding etiquette when you bird these spots – pull off to the side of the road as completely as you are able, and do not trespass onto the farm fields.  The first spring hawk flights may occur near the end of the month – stay tuned to happenings at Braddock Bay Park.

Snow Bunting may still be found along the edges of roads near fields where seeds may have gotten caught.

Virginia Rail, Mendon Ponds, NY. (© Richard Ashworth)

Virginia Rail, Mendon Ponds, NY. (© Richard Ashworth)

Mendon Ponds often produces a Virginia Rail, and careful birders can sometimes find a number of interesting half-hardy passerine species around the marshy Quaker Pond.

If you really need a bird fix, grab some sunflower seed and walk the Mendon Ponds Nature Center trails to feed the Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and nuthatches.

Feeders could become the best spots for seeing birds this month. Harsh weather will make a food supply attractive and draw American Goldfinch, Common Redpoll and of course Black-capped Chickadee.  The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place mid-month, so be sure to sign up and report your sightings.

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