Volunteers and personnel at Kensington Metropark in Milford Township lucked out on Saturday, May 14, as the weather was perfect for the metropark’s annual bird count, which allowed it to be “one of our best counts ever,” according to Nature Center Supervisor Bob Hotaling.
“The weather cooperated. Sunday would’ve been a problem, and it was too hot Friday. But Saturday was fine. We got lucky,” he said.
Close to 30 people split into seven different teams and were able to spot 113 different bird species within the metropark — Kensington’s third-highest count ever in the 35 years the metropark has been holding this annual census.
Kensington hosts these counts three times a year — one in January, one in May, and one in September.
“It gives us an idea of what birds are in the park at this time of year,” Hotaling said. “(The census) helps us with determining long-term trends.”
While Hotaling said spotters didn’t miss too many birds that they usually expect to find, there were a few surprise sightings.
“We found two Bonaparte’s gulls,” he said. “They’re normally not here in May, so that was a pleasant surprise. We also found 24 different species of warblers, which is a pretty good total. We had some unusual species mixed in that were a surprise — the golden-winged, the cerulean, the mourning, and the hooded warblers. Of the 24 species, these four were the more exciting ones to find.”
Orchard orioles were also spotted, a bird which, according to Hotaling, isn’t seen in this area very often.
“We see a lot of Baltimore orioles, but not that many orchard orioles,” he said.
Wild turkeys, sandhill cranes, and pileated woodpeckers — a species that never used to be seen in the area — all increased in number. However, once again no eastern meadowlarks were found.
“We haven’t found any in the park the whole year. It used to be something we always found, but it’s less common than it once was,” Hotaling said.
Nevertheless, Hotaling said he feels the bird census was an overall success.
“I’m very pleased with the number of people who helped and the number of birds we were able to find,” he said.