EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Looking for something to do while staring idly out our windows or wandering the neighborhood getting fresh air and some exercise? Watch the birds! They are varied, beautiful and plentiful diversions during these stressful times. Winter may be ending, but there are many kinds of birds in the neighborhood, both year-round residents and winter guests. (Yes, Central New Jersey is a warm winter spot for “snowbirds” from far, far north.) Of the roughly 220 species of birds that have been identified in East Brunswick, there are probably almost two dozen species hanging around our neighborhoods right now.
Cardinals, Blue Jays, Goldfinches and House Finches abound and make their presence known year-round. So do the smaller Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and Carolina Wrens. Also up in the trees are woodpeckers – Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy and Flickers being the most common. And of course, I shouldn’t forget to call out Mourning Doves, Mockingbirds. After all, they call out plenty on their own. The more extensive woodlots and tree stands might hold Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks. These are bird-eating predators and if you have a feeder these might be attracted to your feeder flock. A local, overwintering “Sharpie” has taken one or two Mourning Doves in my yard this season.
Down from the north are Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows. The latter sing a very beautiful Oh-Sweet-Canada-Canada song, even before they leave to go back north. Both will stay until the end of April or even into May.
If you look skyward, you might be treated to Canada Geese, maybe beautiful white Snow Geese, Red-Tailed Hawks, Turkey and Black Vultures. And, there are gulls, especially around the landfill and the South River marshes – mostly Ring-billed (the common parking lot gull), Herring and Great-Black-backed Gulls.
And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Bald Eagles. East Brunswick hosts as many as a dozen or so over the winter, primarily near the landfill. And a pair or two actually nest nearby. Look for a large soaring bird, on large flat wings. If your first impression is wow, that’s a really, big bird, they you might very well be looking at an eagle.
If you’d like to follow the exploits of East Brunswick birders, check out the Birding East Brunswick Facebook page.
Good birding all of you, and stay safe!