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Bird City Voting

Natural Landscaping

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Help Select Middletown's Signature Bird!

We're excited to announce the opportunity for you to vote and choose Middletown's signature bird. Join us in celebrating the diversity and beauty of our local avian residents. Help us choose a bird to symbolize our community and soar with us into the future!  

 

Voting is open thru Monday, May 13th. The signature bird will be unveiled at Middletown’s Migratory Bird Day Celebration event on May 18, 2024 at 1:00pm at the Middletown Library.

These birds were nominated by members of the Middletown Sustainability Committee. 

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis):

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Male Eastern Bluebirds are a brilliant royal blue on the back and head, and warm red-brown on the breast. Blue tinges in the wings and tail give the grayer females an elegant look. You can find Eastern Bluebirds in open country with patchy vegetation and large trees or nest boxes. In Middletown, there are nest boxes along the Foxfield walking trail and in the County Park. Bluebirds typically sit in the open on power lines or along fences, with an alert, vertical posture. When they drop to the ground after an insect, they make a show of it, with fluttering wings and a fairly slow approach, followed by a quick return to the perch. Eastern Bluebirds east mostly insects, wild fruit, and berries. Occasionally, Eastern Bluebirds have also been observed capturing and eating larger prey items such as salamanders, snakes, and lizards.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula):

The rich, whistling song of the Baltimore Oriole, echoing from treetops near homes and parks, is a sweet herald of spring. The male’s brilliant orange plumage blazes from high branches like a torch. Nearby, you might spot the female weaving her remarkable hanging nest from slender fibers, as we saw a couple years ago right above the walking trail at Wiles Branch Park near Catoctin Creek. Baltimore Orioles seek out ripe fruit – cut oranges in half and hang them from trees to invite orioles into your yard. They got their name from their bold orange-and-black plumage: they sport the same colors as the heraldic crest of England’s Baltimore family (who also gave their name to Maryland’s largest city) and Middletown’s own Knights.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura):

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If you’ve gone looking for raptors on a clear day and seen a large, soaring bird in the distance with its wings raised in a V and making wobbly circles, it’s likely a Turkey Vulture. These birds ride thermals in the sky and use their keen sense of smell to find fresh carcasses. They are scavengers, cleaning up the countryside one bite of their sharply hooked bill at a time, and never mussing a feather on their bald heads. The Turkey Vulture can digest just about anything which allows them to eat tainted carcasses without getting sick. By taking care of the carrion, vultures provide an essential service for the health of our ecosystems. In cowboy movies, the bad guy usually threatens to leave the hero in the desert for the buzzards, meaning the vultures. In Middletown, we see buzzards all the time in the sky, and there are many members of the Bussard family living in Town.

Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica):

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A bird best identified by silhouette, the smudge-gray Chimney Swift nimbly maneuvers over rooftops, fields, and rivers to catch insects. Its tiny body, curving wings, and stiff, shallow wingbeats give it a flight style distinctive as its chattering call. This bird spends almost its entire life airborne. When it lands, it can’t perch – it clings to vertical walls inside chimneys or in hollow trees or caves. This species has suffered sharp declines as chimneys fall into disuse across the continent and newer chimney designs are unsuitable for nesting. In Middletown, they have been seen using the chimneys at Fordham Lee Distillery on South Church Street. Swifts even bathe in flight: they glide down to the water, smack the surface with their bodies, and then bounce up and shake the water from their plumage as they fly away.

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus):

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The Red-shouldered Hawk is one of our most distinctively marked common hawks, with barred reddish-peachy underparts and a strongly banded tail. In flight, translucent crescents near the wingtips help to identify the species at a distance. These forest hawks hunt prey ranging from mice to frogs and snakes. Red-shouldered Hawks return to the same nesting territory year after year. By the time they are five days old, nestling Red-shouldered Hawks can shoot their feces over the edge of their nest. Bird poop on the ground is a sign of an active nest. See if you can find one here in Middletown where the hawks are a common sight!

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