Bird Habitat

The variety of fields, woods, hills, hedgerows and wetlands which make up Dionondehowa's landscape provides a wide range of habitat for birds. The over-wintering species are abundant. Thickets, deep woods and cavities in dead trees provides shelter. Berries, nuts and rosehips are easy to find and plentiful; safe water sources are to be found throughout the Sanctuary. In summer, the bog/estuary provides hunting ground for the Great Blue Heron, Little Green Heron, Spotted Sandpiper and a variety of duck species. Mergansers are common in late winter and early spring along the Battenkill and its banks provide nesting sites for Kingfishers, Rough-winged Swallows and Bank Swallows. Water is a prime attraction for many warbler species. And the varied collection of hedgerows, forest breaks, meadows and widely mixed trees & bushes make the Sanctuary a good stopping-off point for many species in migration and an ideal nesting place for many more. Of the species listed most are nesters:

Birds of Dionondehowa

* indicates birds seen or heard on the 2009 Bird Walk with Nat Parke

In and around the barn yard and orchard

Eastern phoebe *   Tree swallow * Baltimore oriole *    Orchard oriole
Baltimore oriole *    Orchard oriole Ruby-throated hummingbird *    American Robin *
Eastern bluebird *    Yellow-bellied sapsucker * Downy woodpecker *    House wren *
Grackle *    Black-capped chickadee * Northern cardinal *    Chipping sparrow *
Chimney swifts    Barn swallow Fox sparrow    Worm-eating warbler
Tufted titmouse    Rock dove


Great-crested flycatcher *   Scarlet tanager * Rose-breasted grosbeak *    Red-eyed vireo *
White-breasted nuthatch *    Wood thrush * Veery *    Chestnut-sided warbler *
Black-throated green warbler *    American redstart * Pine warbler    Ovenbird *
Grackle *    Yellow-rumped warbler * Ruffed grouse *    Wood peewee
Canada warbler    Black-throated blue warbler Woodcock    Red-bellied woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker    Hairy woodpecker Northern goshawk    Cooper's hawk

Fields, hedges and edges

Black and white warbler *   Yellow warbler * Blue-winged warbler *    Indigo bunting *
Field sparrow *    Song sparrow * Gray catbird *    Common yellow-throat v
Eastern towhee *    Yellow-throated vireo Bobolink    King bird
American kestral    Prairie warbler Yellow-billed cuckoo    Golden-winged warbler
Nashville warbler    Northern shrike Northern harrier (Marsh hawk)    Sharp-shinned hawk

Near the Stream

Louisiana water-thrush *   Brewster's warbler (hybrid) Green heron    Sandpiper Kingfisher

High Above

Bald eagle   Golden eagle Osprey    Turkey vulture *


American crow *   Raven * Red-tailed hawk *    Black vulture
Brown-headed cowbird *   Magnolia warbler Myrtle warbler    Cedar waxwing

Among Vireos, the Red Eyed, Warbling, Philadelphia, Solitary and Yellow-Throated all have been sighted on the Sanctuary. The Indigo Bunting and Scarlet Tanager are regular summer visitors. The presence of many small birds and good habitat for rodents attract raptors both common and rarely seen. Among Owls, the Great Horned, Barred and Screech Owl have been sighted and may nest here. Osprey and the Bald Eagle are often seen in migration; a nesting pair of the latter has been confirmed on the Batten kill somewhat downstream from the Sanctuary. Kestrels, Merlins, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Northern Harrier, Red-Shouldered, Broad-Winged and Red-Tailed Hawks all have been sighted at the Sanctuary. The Dionondehowa Sanctuary has instituted two programs to insure habitat for certain species. A nesting-box trail for Bluebirds has successfully attracted nesting pairs for many seasons. About 24 acres of fields are maintained as grassland and lie undisturbed throughout June, July and into the first week of August. For species which were once common, providing this increasingly rare habitat has proven a boon to nesting. In just one summer, under this schedule, numerous Bobolinks, Horned Larks and Meadowlarks began nesting in the medium-length grass. It is hoped that in future years, this method of cutting will attract Lincoln's Sparrows and, in areas where fields approach wetlands, Sedge Wrens. The deep woods are, of course, alive with bird songs in spring and summer. The many varieties of Thrush are augmented in the morning and evening by the Veery's haunting melody. And the orchard attracts Orioles with their unique dress and song every spring.