NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 2, 2013

When Matilda came to visit

It is surprising how many rare or unusual birds show up at bird feeders. This month alone, a black-throated gray warbler visited a feeder in Taunton, a Cape May warbler was a regular visitor to a North Andover feeder, and a blue grosbeak still visits a feeder in Merrimac.

In recent years, boreal chickadees, Townsend’s warbler, Baltimore oriole, and even a rufous hummingbird were frequenting area feeders into the winter. If you are lucky enough to have a different bird show up in your yard, you then have to make the decision whether or not to share that bird with others. Depending on the rarity of the bird, you could have tons of birders stopping by to view it. At times, that can be a problem. In most cases, though, it becomes a rewarding experience for the homeowner. Dana Fox, and her husband Bob, hosted the Cape May Warbler in North Andover last month.

With Dana’s permission, I will share her sentiments on the experience:

“On Friday, Jan. 4 at 9:30 a.m. a ‘special’ bird arrived at our feeders. It was only a few days earlier that I had speculated with a good birding friend about what I would do if a ‘special’ bird arrived in my yard. As I recall now, I voiced a reluctance to have a raft of folks coming into my yard — both Bob and I are avid gardeners and are quite particular about our garden. Well, if you have been watching Massbird recently, it wasn’t more than a few minutes later (my email record says 9:34 a.m.) that I posted the arrival of the bird and began to make a few phone calls to nearby birding friends. Soon, she — who along the way became he, and then back to she — even had a name ‘Matilda.’

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