Thursday, May 26, 2011

Avian Wildlife

Indigo Bunting
The diversity of bird species in West Virginia is truly remarkable. The Atlantic Flyway includes the Allegheny Mountains in northern West Virginia, and many migratory birds use this flyway. There is a bird-banding station near our property in the Dolly Sods Wilderness. However, West Virginia is also unique in that it includes the northernmost area of south-wintering species like the Dark-eyed Junco and the southernmost area of north-summering birds like the Baltimore Oriole, Eastern Phoebe, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, or Brown Thrasher. Other birds like the Wood Thrush or Ruby-throated Hummingbird are truly seasonal. Since building our house in 2005, we have kept a log of bird sightings on or near our property. In no particular order:

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
The most useful application I have on my iPhone is iBird Explorer PRO. My version was $30, but well worth it. It contains descriptions, drawings, photos, identification parameters, and songs of all North American bird species. It isn't internet-based, so it can be used anywhere. Several versions are available from iBird.

The Allegheny Mountains or Allegheny Front are among the oldest mountains in the world, formed 250 million years ago from the collision of what is now Africa and North America. They extend a unique climate from Canada far into the south, and thus there are many species of plants and birds unique to this area.

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