March 2016


Fewer regions on earth have the diversity of wildlife found in the northeastern U.S. The life forms, such as birds, are dictated by the various climates, altitudes, latitude, and soil types of the region. The resulting natural habitat in the Northeast ranges from boreal and northern hardwood forests in northern New England, to oak-hickory and mixed forests in the Appalachian Mountains, to northern and mixed pine-oak woodlands along the Atlantic coasts and off shore islands from New England to the eastern shore of Virginia.


Overall, the Northeast is still dominated by temperate forests that receive a substantial amount of annual rainfall. Before Europeans settled the Northeast, the region was one vast forest of varying tree and plant types, interrupted only by an abundance of lakes, streams and rivers. Much of the water remains, but the uninterrupted forests are now broken by cities, towns, suburbs, shopping centers, highways, and farms. The forests that remain have greatly matured, diminishing the understory, due to a lack of fire and an unwillingness of people to cut trees.


What's happening in your backyard this month

  • Red-winged blackbirds are back on nesting grounds; European starlings are evicting woodpeckers.

  • Black-capped chickadees are singing their phoebe courting song; mourning doves cooing.

  • House finches are singing a lovely warbling song; juncos twittering and becoming feisty.

  • Northern Cardinal males are feeding their mates sunflower seeds in courtship.

What to do in your backyard this month

  • Keep the feeders filled, because March is the time of greatest natural bird food scarcity.

  • Put up birdhouses, including purple martin houses, before the birds return from the South.

  • Feed robins and bluebirds mealworms, raisins and apples during spring freezes.

  • Place suet in feeders with feeding side down to keep European starlings away