For the birds

An Island expert weighs in on avian comings and goings.

—Kate Feiffer

Susan Whiting of Chilmark has spent her life as a birder and naturalist. She says she is retired, but the Susan we know never stops. Edible Vineyard asked her about the seasonal migration of birds, the comings and goings of birds on Martha’s Vineyard.

Fall on the Vineyard sees a human migration to points off-Island. It is not a surprise that many birds that breed or spend time here in the summer head south for the winter. However, if you were to try to figure out how many birds are left after the fall migration, it would be difficult. Why? Because although our warblers, sparrows, hawks, and shorebirds leave, there is another group of birds that comes from north of us to spend the winter on the Vineyard.

Which birds are those? Sea and dabbling ducks, winter wrens, and different species of sparrows, to name a few. So your guess is as good as mine.