Mariton: Nesting Bird Census

June 3, 2019

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

Indigo bunting

We had a great morning for the Annual Nesting Bird Census. This census has been conducted yearly at Mariton beginning in 1981.  Thirty-nine years is a great tradition and I am pretty proud and humbled to be part of this ongoing data collection.  We call this a nesting census, because bird migration is pretty much over for the spring.  Birds should be on their breeding grounds and we assume that any birds that we count during this walk through will be nesting at Mariton.  Like our other censuses, this is a snapshot look at things at Mariton which helps us see trends.

We ended up with forty-two (42) species and 277 individuals. This year Ovenbirds were the most dominant species that we counted.  We counted 17, and they were very vocal throughout the preserve.  Ovenbirds nest on the ground and so they are very prone to nest predation from raccoons, opossums, and foxes.  Mariton has a dense understory which is good for Ovenbirds and other ground nesters.  It is always reassuring to get good counts of ground nesters as well as ground foraging birds on the census.  It indicates that the forest is healthy.

This Box Turtle was spotted early on the census. It was a large male.