Category Archives: Birds

Meadowlands Tree Swallows Are Back!

Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed small birds with white bellies and iridescent teal-blue backs zipping around DeKorte Park. These are Tree Swallows and they represent some of the earliest migrants of the season and are a telltale sign that spring has sprung in the Meadowlands! These charismatic, aerialist little birds feed primarily on insects that they catch mid-air. They naturally nest in tree holes, hence the name, but are very attracted to bird houses too.

Each spring, MRRI biologists make their annual run through DeKorte and other Meadowlands sites to replace old and install new homes for the swallows. Many of the boxes are occupied by the birds almost immediately upon installation. They will often dispute who gets the best real estate, but there’s plenty of houses to go around, thanks to the Bergen County Audubon Society and its volunteers. It’s shaping up to be another great breeding season for the Tree Swallows here in the Meadowlands!

Meet the Raptors – Up Close and Personal

raptorsWednesday, June 17, 3 – 4:30 pm
Meadowlands Environment Center

Join Bill Streeter, Director of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center, and several of his raptor friends, including falcons, a Golden Eagle and other amazing creatures from the Meadowlands region. Streeter will draw on his 30 years of experience studying and rehabilitating raptors to entertain and educate attendees. Register here.

Bobolinks Thrive at Bergen County’s No-Mow Zone

bobolink-jim-macaluso 3-401“Since the 1900s, bobolink populations in the northeast have been declining- with a 75% decrease occurring in the past 40 years according to the Breeding Bird Survey. Bobolinks are a grassland bird and a ground nester. The loss of North American grasslands and modern farming practices, that call for the harvest of the hayfields during nesting season, have led to their waning numbers.  But creating No-Mow zones, like those at Overpeck County Park, is one way that we in suburban New Jersey can help.”

This according to DonTorino, whose column Don’s Jersey Birding appears weekly in Wild New Jersey. Read the full article here.

Making Room for Ducks in England

Duck lanes are meant to reduce ruffled feathers on narrow towpaths. (Photo: Bethany Clarke/Canal & River Trust/Getty Images)

Duck lanes are meant to reduce ruffled feathers on narrow towpaths. (Photo: Bethany Clarke/Canal & River Trust/Getty Images)

“The Canal & River Trust is designating duck lanes — yes, lanes for ducks — along certain high-traffic routes, marked by a white line and a duck silhouette. Ducks are frequent users of the slender canal walkways, also known as towpaths, but they must compete for space with a gaggle of joggers, cyclists and other humans, many of whom are distracted by smartphones.
Even England’s most astute ducks probably won’t get it, of course, and no one really expects the birds to stay in their lanes. The markings are meant as visual reminders for humans to slow down and be courteous. ”

Read more on Mother Nature Network here.


Meet the Volunteer Artists

GroupYesterday we showed you the entries for this year’s bird box contest. Now here’s a look at the artists themselves, some staff members from Spectrum for Living, and our own Gaby Bennett-Meany.

Birding for Beginners with Bergen County Audubon

redwingedSunday April 12, 1 to 3 p.m. Free!

Birding for Beginners: Bird Identification
All ages, Meadowlands Environment Center

This free two-hour Birding for Beginners class starts with a short session on basic bird identification at the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst, followed by a nature walk in the park.  The event is run by the Bergen County Audubon Society and hosted by the NJ Meadowlands Commission. You will have to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year. To register, contact Marie Longo at 551-580-2372 or

or register here please.

Drowning Out the Sounds of Nature



Silence Map of the U.S. shows where we’re drowning out the sounds of nature.
“Noise pollution is just as real as other forms of pollutions, and we run the risk of losing something very precious if we’re not careful: Quiet, restorative silence, as well as the subtle sounds of nature that we’ve evolved to like.” Click here to read more.

Nature was not drowned out in my driveway on 3/14…check out this (admittedly shaky) video. I once read that grackles like these were the inspiration for Hitchcock’s The Birds.