Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Fall Brings New Birds to the Backyard

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Credit: Marie Longo

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Credit: Marie Longo

Autumn is a wonderful time of year in the Meadowlands, a time when the hectic days of summer slowdown in favor of the cool season’s winds and the beautiful golds, scarlets and crimsons of fall colors.

I don’t think I could live in a part of the country that didn’t have a real change of season like we have here in New Jersey. Every season brings many changes to the natural world, and none more dramatic and diverse than autumn.

Just as our lifestyle changes in the fall, it also changes in many ways not only for the birds of the Meadowlands, but also for our backyard birds.

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Birding By Boat Recap

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We had a great Birding By Boat excursion yesterday! Guided by the BCAS and NJSEA naturalists, participants spotted 30 species, including various herons, sandpipers, gulls and raptors. A complete list is below. Photos to follow shortly.

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Canada Goose
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Double-crested Cormorant
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Least Bittern
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Great Blue Heron
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Great Egret
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Snowy Egret
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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
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Northern Harrier
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Red-tailed Hawk
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Least Sandpiper
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Semipalmated Sandpiper
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Short-billed Dowitcher
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Greater Yellowlegs
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Laughing Gull
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Ring-billed Gull
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Great Black-backed Gull
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Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
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Mourning Dove
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Northern Flicker
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American Kestrel
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Peregrine Falcon
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Marsh Wren
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American Robin
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Northern Mockingbird
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European Starling
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Northern Cardinal
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Red-winged Blackbird
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American Goldfinch

Monitoring Monarchs

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For the past five weeks Marie Longo (left) of the BCAS has been busy tagging Monarch Butterflies at several locations including DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst, the Leonia section of Overpeck Park and other locations. Marie is a seasoned tagging pro and has been monitoring Monarchs for years.

Tagging Monarchs is a citizen scientist project led by Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas and it’s important because, as Don Torino wrote in his column last week, by tracking Monarchs movements as they migrate south to Mexico, scientists can gain information to aid the unfortunately fast disappearing species.

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Helping the Monarchs

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We need to take time to recognize the fantastic efforts of husband and wife team Mickey and Elaine Raine in helping to increase the Monarch Butterfly population at DeKorte Park. Mickey and Elaine have been nurturing dozens of caterpillars in their home garden that they were asked to care for by several organizations.

It seems these soon-to-be butterflies were exposed and vulnerable to predatory birds and wasps. Mickey and Elaine set up enclosures in their own garden to ensure the caterpillars matured into beautiful butterflies and have since introduced them to their new Meadowlands homes, namely Jill’s Garden in DeKorte Park and Harrier Meadow in North Arlington. We’ve included a few photos of butterflies released at DeKorte.

Thank you Mickey and Elaine for your enthusiasm, passion and love of butterflies and all Meadowlands wildlife!!!

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Kaleidoscope of Hope Walk a Great Success!

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A sincere thank you to the more than 250 people who participated in yesterday’s Kaleidoscope of Hope Walk at DeKorte in memory of Lyndhurst resident Diane Castle. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and the charity walk raises money for the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation. The organization raises funds for ovarian cancer research and increases awareness of the symptoms of the disease. For more information on the foundation click here

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Starting the Week With a Butterfly Release

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This morning we released a pair of Monarch butterflies into Jill’s Garden at DeKorte after nursing them as caterpillars. The NJSEA planted more milkweed plants this year thanks to a grant from our friends at the Bergen County Audubon Society. Some of the caterpillars were in danger from predators, prompting our Natural Resources Department to take them in. More butterflies will be released later today.

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