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My Column: Best Birding Time of the Year

DeSantis DeKorte Snowy EgretMy column in The Record and other USA Today newspapers in New Jersey is all about the terrific birding that should be in store in the next 10 days or so.

A big thank you to D. M. De Santis for her photo of a Snowy Egret at DeKorte Park.

You can download the column here:

Download TheRecordBergenEdition_20210429_LF03_0

You can read the column here:

By Jim Wright

Special to The Record

    This is the best time of year to look for birds. The spring TheRecordBergenEdition_20210429_LF03_0(1)-page-001migration is going great guns, and many of the birds in our region are starting families.   

    What’s more, few mosquitos are around to bug you, temps are in the comfortable range, and many trees haven’t fully leafed out. All of which makes bird-watching more enjoyable.  All you need is a pair of binoculars and a curious eye.

   Now is also a great time to think outside the yard -- especially with so many upcoming birding events you can join locally, statewide, and globally.

    Nearby, many birding clubs have started group walks again. Check with one preserve near you to see what’s on tap. The Bergen County Audubon Society, for example, offers three free walks over the next 11 days at three of the best birding spots in the region: 

    May 2 (Sun.) 10 a.m.,  DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst.  Warblers, spring migrants.  Contact:  Don Torino [email protected].

   May 5 (Wed.) 10 a..m.,  Halifax Road/Lake Henry, Mahwah.  Warblers, spring migrants.  Park by Continental Soldiers Park.  Contact:  Chris Takacs, [email protected] 

   May 9 (Sun.) 8 a.m.Garret Mountain, Woodland Park.  Warblers, spring migrants.  Meet at the tiered parking lot, entrance off of Mountain Avenue.  Contact: Chris Takacs [email protected].

    Note: The BCAS says there will be enough walk leaders to ensure adherence to outdoor gathering protocols. Social distancing (six feet apart) and masks are required.

On the statewide level, the renowned World Series of Birding is Sat., May 8. Over its 38-year existence, it has attracted some of the best birders in the world (think David Sibley) to compete in this Jersey-centric event. 

Because of COVID, last year the event’s sponsors changed the rules to enable more birders to participate in the safest fashion. 

“Readers can participate by starting a team or joining a team,” says Lillian Armstrong, NJ Audubon's Special Events Director. “Several of our fund-raising teams are unlimited in size, and they have team members all across the Atlantic Flyway.  And remember, readers can be on a team and just cover their backyard and neighborhood!”

You can register until midnight on Friday, May 7. To learn more:

On the international level, consider the Global Big Day on Saturday, May 8.   You can participate from home in as little as 10 minutes, Just report your bird sightings to You can also submit checklists throughout the day. 

The sightings will become part of a worldwide mosaic of bird observations. Last year, more than 50,000 people from 175 countries submitted 120,000 checklists with eBird, setting a record for one day of birding.

“Our priority is to increase the number of people participating in birdwatching and enjoying the birds they see,” says Tim Appleton, a noted British conservationist and founder of Global Birding.

That includes you.

To learn more:

The Bird-watcher column appears every other Thursday. Email Jim at [email protected].

Cutline: DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst is a great place to see snowy egrets and other spring arrivals.

Photo credits: Courtesy of D. M. De Santis