Conservation // 5 min Read

Eye to the Sky: March

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Mar 8, 2021

February was an exceptional month for bird watching, even with the cold, wet weather we experienced. American robins and tree swallows were seen in massive flocks feeding on holly, wax myrtle, and cedar berries. By mid-February, songs could be heard resonating throughout Palmetto Bluff from Carolina chickadees, northern cardinals, and other year-round species looking to attract mates.

The uncommon loggerhead shrike made an appearance during the Great Backyard Bird Count, coincidently in the same area of Davies Road as the year prior. Meanwhile, purple finches and pine siskins were observed at residents’ bird feeders in Moreland and River Road neighborhood.

A surprise sighting included American white pelicans soaring over both Wilson and Moreland Village, likely preparing for their journey north. And the last unique observation in February included an increase in wood duck activity around Barge Landing and River Road Preserve. Maybe we will see these ducks nesting in March?

February spotted birds: American Robin, Tree Swallows (shared by Wendy Goshert), Caroline Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Loggerhead Shrike, American White Pelican

March is when the birding world gets wild, as it is the first month of the spring migration and the beginning of the breeding season. We may observe a vast variety of songbirds traveling to their breeding grounds or setting up shop at Palmetto Bluff.

My tell-tale sign that the migration has truly begun is when I hear northern parulas singing from the trees. Their distinct song is a rising, buzzy trill that suddenly drops at the end. Another warbler to look out for in March includes the prairie warbler, which can be heard along the Longleaf Pine Nature Trail. Their song is a consistent “zee” sound that accelerates and rises in pitch.

For those who enjoy a bit of nightlife, spend some time outside during the evening as chuck-will’s-widows, great horned owls, barred owls, and eastern screech-owls add their voices to the cacophony of frogs, all looking for mates or establishing territories. The last arrival I will mention is the ruby-throated hummingbirds making their appearance around mid-March. Need some nectar? The best recipe for hummingbird food is 1 part granulated sugar to 4 parts water with no red food coloring.

Bluebirds also begin their breeding season this month and you can either put up a bluebird box around your house or sponsor one through the Conservancy! For those looking to get more involved in bird watching, March is the perfect time to break open your field guide or birding apps and see what species can be expected during the migration.

Birds to spot in March: Chuck-will's-widow (caught while mist netting for bats), Barred Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Eastern Bluebird, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pileated Woodpecker

There are many species that can be seen in March that went unmentioned above. If you see or photograph something you wish to share, you can submit your sightings to Aaron Palmieri at and they may appear in next month’s update!

February’s Unique Sightings:

February Contributors:

David & Jerry Miller, Mark Aher, Bruce Becker, Paul & Jeanne Yhouse, Amy Shakelford, Charlie Bostwick, Brian Byrne, Joseph Teklits, Wendy & Rob Goshert

Click to open a printable version.