Seasonal Happenings in Nature
March 20, 2023 (N. Hemisphere)
Our SF Bay Area Spring migration happens from late February through May/June. You will notice a change in the species found in your backyard as many of the species that wintered with you will soon migrate away to their breeding grounds in the north and east. This also means we’ll be seeing a return of the birds that wintered elsewhere as they migrate back to feed and, or nest in your neighborhood. You will also notice a change in bird plumages and an increase in bird song as this is also the start of the breeding season. The males sing to attract a female.
Begins in April
Nesting season in the SF Bay Area starts in April. Owls, raptors, and hummingbirds may start as early as December. Habitat is the single most critical factor for successfully attracting certain bird species to nest in your yard. The kinds of trees and vegetation, on and near your property, will determine what kinds of birds will nest in your yard. Sparrows, towhees, and juncos may even nest directly on the ground and need safe places to hide underneath garden shrubs. Other birds, like doves, robins, and orioles, make their nests up in the trees using branches or mud and even plant fibers. Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Titmice, Violet-Green Swallows, and Wrens require cavities in trees to make their nests. If you do not have natural cavities in your yard, you can offer these birds a man-made nest box as a substitute.
Breeding season is roughly from May to August with some Hummingbird species starting as early as December. When the breeding season arrives each spring, neighborhoods come alive with bird song and courtship. If birds are not able to successfully breed during this time, their numbers decline. We can help birds increase their numbers if we work together by keeping cats inside, and trimming trees and shrubs before the breeding season starts.
June 21, 2023 (N. Hemisphere)
Begins in August
As the days get shorter the fall migration begins as birds leave their northern breeding grounds and head south. Offering food, clean water and a place to rest helps many on their journey through the Bay Area. Our SF Bay Area’s fall migration starts in August. You will also recognize birds in your yard that return to spend their winter with you.
Sept 23, 2023 (N. Hemisphere)
Dec 21, 2023 (N. Hemisphere)
GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT
Monitoring birds is an essential part of protecting them. But tracking the health of the world’s 10,000 bird species is an immense challenge. Scientists need hundreds of thousands of people to report what they’re seeing in backyards, neighborhoods, and wild places around the world. No matter what aspect of birdwatching you love most, there’s a citizen-science (community science) project that needs you. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a 4-day count held over a long weekend every February. Watch birds in your backyard or anywhere else, be part of this 20+ year tradition, and help provide scientists with a snapshot of bird populations. You can participate from anywhere in the world. More about the GBBC.
Every April, Earth Day takes place around the world, when we come together to celebrate nature. Here at the Los Gatos Birdwatcher, we encourage you to take time out to enjoy a bit of nature and celebrate Earth Day. Get outside, take a walk, have a picnic, go birding, or just remember to look up! Earth Day was founded in 1970. If you would like to get ideas on how you can celebrate Earth Day, visit www.earthday.org
WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY (WMBD)
May (this event happens twice a year in May and October)
World Migratory Bird Day brings awareness to the need for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. Every May, the world takes time to celebrate the long-distance journey many of our feathered friends make as they migrate across the globe.
NATIONAL POLLINATOR WEEK
PollinatorWeek is an annual event celebrating pollinator health and how we can help them flourish in a modern world —from birds and bees to bats and butterflies. #PollinatorWeek
NATIONAL MOTH WEEK
July 22-30, 2023
Moths often don’t get the love they deserve, but they’re important creatures. Not only do they serve as food for many animals, including bats and birds, but they also pollinate plants. We celebrate them on this week annually.
INTERNATIONAL BAT NIGHT
August 26/27 (the last full weekend in August every year)
This event is observed in the United States of America and Europe mainly. However, 30 countries have come together to spread awareness of bats and their habitat and bust some myths.
INTERNATIONAL VULTURE AWARENESS DAY
The first Saturday in September each year is International Vulture Awareness Day. Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds that face a range of threats in many areas where they occur.
NATIONAL HUMMINGBIRD DAY
INTERNATIONAL HAWK MIGRATION WEEK
SFBBO’s CALIFORNIA FALL CHALLENGE
Celebrating 40 years, the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory has conserved birds and their habitats through science and outreach—to better understand our local bird populations and habitats. This annual California Fall Challenge (CFC) is one of their most important fundraisers. It takes place over four weeks in September and gives folks the opportunity to go birding with area leaders or sign up for various activities. Learn more at SFBBO.org
WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY
World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) happens twice a year in May and October and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international support.
SWALLOWS DEPART FROM SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO DAY
Oct 23 (the arrival celebration is on March 14)
This day commemorates the yearly migration of the cliff swallows from their summer home in California to their winter home in Goya, Argentina. The cliff swallows typically travel around 5,000 miles to reach their destination.
An international celebration of the role of bats in nature. Bat Week is a great time to do something positive for bats. Build bat roosting boxes, pull weeds out of bat habitat, plant native vegetation that attracts bats, create bat art, and ask your governor to proclaim your state’s Bat Week to help bats.
PROJECT FEEDER WATCH
Nov – Apr
This joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada is a fun way to learn about your backyard birds and contribute to a 30+ year-and-running data set of bird population changes. FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of the birds that visit all locales in North America. With FeederWatch, you become a scientist in your own backyard and your counts become part of something bigger. Learn more at feederwatch.org
ADOPT A TURKEY MONTH
AUDUBON’S CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT
Audubon’s community science project IS an event held annually around the world, involving single-day counts between December 14 and January 5. Birders count every individual bird they see or hear all day, traveling in organized groups that can include both experienced birders and beginners. If you want to get involved, visit Scvas.org.