Monthly Archives: December 2015

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Time for Birding New Year Resolutions 2016


Having failed miserably in my past efforts at New Year’s Resolutions such as attempting to keep my car cleaner and get my birding books more organized, I hesitate to try to come up with any other attempts to change any of my old habits or ideas in 2016.

After all when you reach my age you are pretty much set in your ways. My car, which is really my BCAS mobile office, just seems to get more cluttered with binoculars, field guides, old coffee cups, garden tools and unidentified food wrappers of various kinds. My trunk is so deep in strange artifacts that only Indiana Jones would be brave enough to venture too far into it at this point.

Even an attempt in years past by a well-meaning and brave volunteer group of friends at organizing the disaster area in my trunk was doomed to failure. Never the less this is the time of year that society has decided for one reason or another that all of us force ourselves to commit to some kind of self-improvement agreement. So far be it from me to stray from tradition but this time I thought I would ask some friends for their Birding resolutions for the New Year and see if they will be more successful than me.

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BCAS Announces Certifed Wildlife Garden Program

Our backyards can become important habitats for birds like this Baltimore Oriole. Photo courtesy of Patrick Carney

Our backyards can become important habitats for birds like this Baltimore Oriole. Photo courtesy of Patrick Carney

The Bergen County Audubon Society is introducing a new program that the entire community can take part in. The BCAS’ Certified Wildlife Garden program will allow homeowners, communities, schools, businesses, places of worship, nature centers and others anywhere in New Jersey to have their gardens that benefit wildlife certified by Bergen County Audubon Society. Read more about the program here.

We Have a State Butterfly!

Black Swallowtail - Courtesy Alice Leurck

Black Swallowtail – Courtesy Alice Leurck

As reported in today’s Record, the State Assembly has voted unanimously to name the black swallowtail as the state’s official butterfly. The black swallowtail was chosen for several reasons, chief among them that it spends its entire lifecycle in New Jersey and can be found in all 21 counties, and is easy to attract to home gardens.

Don Torino, President of the Bergen County Audubon Society, says in the article that the black swallowtail is “a great choice, especially for a state that’s so built up, because you can find it in any backyard.”

For those who disagree with the choice, you can voice your opinion in a survey that accompanies the article. We’d love to hear from you here as well and encourage you to voice your opinion by leaving a comment.

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Mill Creek Point Park

My first quest to search out Mill Creek Point Park in Secaucus had me turning down a narrow street more suited for a horse and buggy than a car. The pocket-sized street turned into another and then another and just as I was ready to give in and do the most emasculating thing possible and ask for directions, the street began to enlarge until I glanced to my left and saw Spartina grasses moving in the marshlands like emerald waves in a sea green.

As I cruised cautiously ahead a big welcoming sign that read, “Mill Creek Point Park, ” came into view. I stopped and opened the car door and the effervescent, bubbly sounds of the Marsh Wrens filled the air from every direction. That’s when I knew I must in the right place for sure.

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Christmas Bird Count Report

Chris Takacs got some awesome photos at DeKorte and surrounding locations Sunday while participating in this year’s Christmas Bird Count.

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC), the nation’s longest-running citizen science bird project, fuels Audubon science year-round. The count is a census of birds in the Western Hemisphere, performed annually in the early Northern-hemisphere winter by volunteer birdwatchers and administered by the National Audubon Society. The purpose is to provide population data for use in science, especially conservation biology, though many people participate for recreation.

This year’s 116th count runs from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5, so it’s not too late to join in this fun and important project. To find out more click here.