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Nature Notes

Written by Tolly Beck
Tolly Beck is the horticulturist at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County. She was formerly a horticulture educator for New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, NY.

Eastern Bluebird

The Birds at Lasdon

Fourteen baby bluebirds were banded and fledged at Lasdon this summer, as part of Sandy Morrissey’s Eastern Bluebird Project. It was a difficult start to the nesting season for the bluebirds as well as other nesting birds as the weather remained cold and stormy for quite an extended time. The birds adjusted and postponed egg laying until there were sufficient insects to feed themselves as well as their future nestlings.

On a visit to Lasdon these days you may find a few more bird feathers on the lawns, trails, and pathways. Many birds, especially those that migrate further south for winter, finish their molt in September and early October. During a molt, all (or many) of a bird’s feathers are gradually replaced with new ones. Molts often vary among bird species, but molting usually occurs after birds have finished nest building in spring and raising their families in summer. Their new feathers replace their tattered, worn feathers and better equip the birds for their winter migrations as well as provide increased warmth if they are year-round residents.

Many of the birds we see all summer do remain in the area. Cardinals, titmice, chickadees, woodpeckers, goldfinches and many of the bluebirds can be seen at Lasdon throughout the year. Our local resident songbirds, though, are a little more difficult to spot right now. They molt primarily in July and August and tend to be quiet and more secluded in the woods as their new feathers continue to grow out. They will soon be more visible and in their fresh plumage. Come and enjoy the beauty of the park and the birds that live here.