If you've always wanted to learn about birds and birding, migration is a great time to get out and do it! Birders are very excited during this time of year and you will find numerous guided tours through local Audubon centers and town conservation commissions. Google: "Guided bird tours near me" and see what comes up! You can also sign up for birding email lists and Facebook groups to receive notifications when birders are going out, as well as alerts about rare birds are in your area. Birding is fun, it's healthy (you get exercise, fresh air and vitamin D!) and you'll be so happy you took that leap! Most birders are happy to take a beginner "under their wing" since everyone needs to start somewhere and we all know that first you learn, then you participate and then you are more likely to conserve, and we all want birds protected.
Remember, you can play your part to keep migratory birds safe and healthy by eliminating pesticides from your lawn and garden, growing native plants that attract insects which are a critical food source for many migratory birds, only buying Bird Friendly Certified coffees and never cutting trees in the spring and summer (nesting season). We don't want to lose these treasures, so we all need to do our part to protect them.
Below are a few of the amazing migratory birds you may see in your area during the months of May and June. Many of these are east coast species.
Can you tell the difference between poison ivy seedlings and red maple seedlings? Early spring when both begin to grow (and quite often occupy the same habitat) these two seedlings may cause some confusion. Right now they are both a couple of inches tall and easy to miss in your lawn or garden. In the photos below you can see the obvious differences, which will hopefully help you identify them and avoid making a mistake and winding up with contact dermatitis, i.e. the itchy poison ivy rash.
Unless it has been browsed, poison ivy has three leaftlets per leaf which are alternate along the stem. The seedling leaflets can be red or green and fuzzy, shiny or dull. Red maple has a simple leaf, which grows opposite along the stem and can be red or green as well, but not usually fuzzy. See below.
Poison ivy seedlings vary in appearance as much as they do in habitat, so be on the lookout for those inconspicuous seedlings since they can deliver a nice dose of urushiol to that bare, unsuspecting forearm while gardening.
Check out our Rash Plants app for more identification tips for poison ivy, oak and sumac and stay safe this spring!