Ok, now a bit about our colorful birds. These guys are in town in big numbers, but they are not your typical birdfeeder species. See if you can spot these vibrant birds in The Parklands this summer. Most of the birds below are males as they tend to sport the brightest colors. The colors of these birds make them easy to spot (sort of) and fun for families to do together.
Tanagers (Summer and Scarlet) – Often heard and seldom seen, these summer visitors hang around in the upper parts of trees and forests. Look for them in the woods just off the hill out of Distillery Bend in Beckley Creek Park, or along the Big Beech Woods Trail in Pope Lick Park. Scarlet tanagers have a noticeable black wing while summer tanagers are almost strawberry in their coloring. These guys are our buddies as they eat bugs – particularly wasps!
Orioles (Baltimore and Orchard)
Fruit lovers, these two summer residents of The Parklands are most frequently found in high tree branches along the Louisville Loop Trail. They love flowers and can often be seen in close proximity to hummingbirds as they seek the same nectar sources. Orchard orioles are noticeably smaller than Baltimore Orioles. Look for them along the Humana Grand Allee in Beckley Creek Park and sections of The Strand. There is a nesting pair of Baltimore Orioles in the trees directly downstream of the Thornton Bridge in Beckley Creek Park.
Birds of the Blue (Eastern Bluebird, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak)
Eastern Bluebird – Prairie Preserve in Pope Lick Park is your best spot. Look for them in their bluebird boxes and perched on trees in the prairie. This bird is a resident of The Parklands and can spotted throughout the year.
Blue Grosbeak – A resident of Turkey Run Park’s Boone Bottoms area in particular, these guys are more often seen than heard. Their arm bars differentiate them from indigo buntings. They are also stockier.
Indigo Bunting – Called the “blue canary”, these guys are spectacular and fun to watch once you get the hang of it. Much smaller than blue grosbeaks, look for them around parking lots and forest edges where woods and meadows meet. One of the easiest places to spot these guys is the wooded area around the Marshall Sprayground and Creekside Paddling Access in Beckley Creek Park.
Summer Tanager (Female) – Yes, the females are entirely different from the males. Look for them high in the trees in our wooded areas. They occasionally come into fields and wood edges to feed. A top spot for these guys is the wooded area behind John Floyd Fields in Pope Lick Park.
Prothonotary Warbler – This bird can be found in our lowland, riparian forests. Look for it along old snags and holed-out trees right along Floyds Fork. The Strand is a great place to spot these summer residents as they tend to fly low, beneath the canopy, and flit back and forth between trees.
American Goldfinch – a resident of our meadows, look for these birds amongst cone flowers. Stunning males in their summer yellow robes make for an unforgettable sight. Active and acrobatic, look for small flocks of them to be present in July throughout The Parklands. Top spots to see them are Sky Dome in Turkey Run Park and the Humana Grand Allee in Beckley Creek Park.