Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 04-25-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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16 SPRING IN THE VALLEY 2019 APRIL 24-MAY 1, 2019 | THE VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER in the early part of spring in the Cumberland/Lincoln area. "We usu- ally see them further down the Valley Marsh closer to Valley Falls Pond," she said of the best place to look. Keep an eye out for dead or mostly dead trees. "They like to be out in the open. They don't care for cover like certain hawks," Flannery said. Eagles Beth Milke, who leads Birding on the Blackstone guided bird walks in the spring with the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, said the rise of bald eagles in the Blackstone Valley is evidence of their recent resurgence. "The bald eagles are a most won- derful success story," she said. "Some young ones are lost each year, but the survivors go off and find their own mates. It's a good lesson in how the recovery of a species works, and it gets you excited to see a bird that's been brought back." Milke said she expects the number of eagles to continue to increase each year. Where should one look? Parmelee advised heading down to Festival Pier in Pawtucket with a good set of binoc- ulars, specifically around steel power or transmission towers. Falcons A live video stream of nest- ing peregrine falcons atop the Superman Building in Providence by the Audubon Society has helped popu- larize the bird of prey locally, but the state's most famous falcon box isn't the only place these birds have made homes in recent years. A pair has been spotted settling in atop City Hall in Pawtucket, and nesting along bridges throughout the state. The falcon population is also increasing with help from humans, who build nesting boxes like the one in Providence. "As our Rhode Island popula- tion increases we'll see more nests," Parmelee said. How can one spot a peregrine fal- con? "If you hear blue jays or crows going crazy, take a second look. They're the neighborhood watch," Parmelee said. Hawks Along the Blackstone River, Parmelee said red-tailed hawks are the most commonly seen bird of prey, which can be seen all year. "Look for that rust-colored tail," Parmelee advised, "and listen for their high-pitched identifying call." There are also red-shouldered hawks and broad-winged hawks, the latter of which travel south for the winter in large flocks called kettles. If someone has bird feeders at their home along the Blackstone River, they might see a Cooper's hawk wait- ing for an unsuspecting smaller bird. Owls Along the Blackstone River, a variety of owls can be found, with the most com- mon being barred, great horned and screech owls. "Great horned owls will eat just about anything they can eat," said Flannery. "They're very opportunistic. I've seen them attack on film at night ... they'll pick off a red-tailed hawk." Owls are active this time of year, though one's chances of hearing one are far greater than the chances of spotting one. Vultures Though there's debate over whether they can be considered a bird of prey, Parmelee said another large bird along the Blackstone are vultures. "While they resemble birds of prey, they are scavengers," she said, adding that they have a sense of smell that helps them search for food. In the Blackstone Valley, one might spot a group of turkey vultures (which have bald, red heads) or black turkey vul- tures (marked by their black feathered heads). Though Milke knows the birding hobby doesn't appeal to everyone, she said the ones who pick it up often stick with it. "It's a reason to go out and walk in the woods. We had no idea how many different kinds of birds there are. You realize that not every bird comes to your yard ... you have to go find the bird." Rhode Island Audubon walks Novice bird- ers are welcome. Walks are geared for teens to adults. Register online through the events calendar at www. asri.org. • Sundays: Caratunk Wildlife Refuge, 301 Brown Ave., Seekonk, Mass., May 5, 19; 8-10 a.m. • Mondays: Fort Nature Refuge, 1443 Providence Pike, North Smithfield, May 6, 13, 20; 8-10 a.m. • Tuesdays: Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge, 2820 Victory Highway, Coventry, May 7, 21; 8-10 a.m.; Caratunk Wildlife Refuge, 301 Brown Ave., Seekonk, Mass., May 14, 28; 8-10 a.m. • Wednesdays: Locations deter- mined weekly, visit the Audubon website or Facebook page for details, no registration necessary; May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; 9-11 a.m. • Thursdays: Marion Eppley Wildlife Refuge, Dugway Bridge Road, West Kingston, May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; 8-10 a.m.; Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge, Touisset Road, Warren, May 2, 16, 30; 9:30 a.m.- noon.; Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge, Seapowet Ave., Tiverton, May 9, 23; 9:30 a.m.-noon. • Fridays: Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge, 99 Pardon Joslin Road, Exeter, April 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; 8:30-10:30 a.m. Birding on the Blackstone The program is held at local parks inside the National Heritage Corridor. The walks will take place from 8-10 a.m. • Saturday, May 11, River Bend Farm, 287 Oak St., Uxbridge, Mass. • Saturday, May 25: The Monastery/Library, 1464 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland • Saturday, June 1, Chase Farm, 667 Great Road, Lincoln • Saturday, June 8, private farm in Uxbridge, Mass. • Saturday, June 15, Blackstone Gateway Park at the new Visitor Center, 15 McKeon Road, Worcester, Mass. If it's raining at the time of the walk, the walk is held the following morning. Binoculars are suggested but not essential. Participants are asked to register with Beth at veery@charter.net, who will pro- vide more information. Free bird walks BIRDS From Page 14 $60 Introductory Treatment 1/2 acre or less $429 15 Weeks of Protection 1/2 acre or less Too precious not to protect. Pretreat for Ticks NOW! $10 OFF One-Time Tick Treatments Call today 401-441-5444

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