Flowers blooming, leaves on the trees and Peregrine Falcons nesting – it’s spring in Providence!
Walking down Westminster Street from Small Point Café to Burnside Park, Peter Green of Providence Raptors kept stopping to listen. “Do you hear that?” Looking up at the ledges on buildings were little nests and birds flitting between them. The birds we could hear singing loudly are House Finches. Peter points out that you tell the finches and the sparrows apart from street level because the finches sing longer, prettier songs, while the sparrows sing shorter chirps.
Male House Finch, American Robin, Male sparrow, Mourning Dove
Making our way around City Hall and into Biltmore Park, we spot the official harbinger of spring, the Red Robin, looking for worms in the grass. While we don’t spot any on our walk, Peter tells me that mourning doves can also be spotted in trees around the city. Up in the trees, plenty of sparrows and starlings sing, and Peter is quick to note that these plentiful birds are actually invasive to our region, but have managed to flourish here. In fact, this year one invasive starling took over a vent where Peter had watched Kestrels nest last year.
Over in Burnside Park, I tell Peter that I haven’t spotted any hawks up in the trees lately. He tells me that in general, during the spring there are only half the number of raptors flying and hunting, because the other half are nesting.
And speaking of nesting, our resident raptors, the Peregrine Falcons of 111 Westminster Street, have a record number of eggs in their nest this year. For the first time, Momma Falcon is sitting on 5 eggs.
Once again this year, you can watch the falcons in real time from the live Peregrine-Cam run by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. The babies should be born in late April, three weeks later they will be banded for tracking and around June, they leave the nest. (I assure you, watching the baby falcons eat and grow through May will become your favorite reason to procrastinate.)
As always, thanks so much to Peter for opening my eyes to what is happening all around me. For more incredible shots of our urban wildlife, check out more of Peter’s photos.
All photos courtesy of Peter Green.