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Join Beth Tiller for a bird-watching walk at 7:15 am on Sunday May 22 and May 29. Meet at the north parking area. Bring binoculars and dress for the weather. We will go unless it is a driving rain or howling wind. We will be back in time for 9:00 am Mass. (How perfect is that?).

HOLY STROLLERS MINISTRY: Come and explore the outdoors! Families are invited to hike around St. Thomas Becket and learn about the nature around us. The excursion will be led by parishioner and naturalist, Beth Tiller. The fun will begin at 10:00 am on Sunday, May 22, and will complete before the 11:00 am Mass. So get ready to spot your favorite wildlife and have some fun!


Becket Bird watching
St Thomas Becket Bird Report for Spring 2016

Beth Tiller

“What did you see on your birdwatching walks?”

Well, for starters, 48 species on the grounds, on the adjacent water bodies, or flying over. And all these even with two of the three days being less than ideal weather-wise and a disrupted migration this spring in general. As a consequence, most of these species are regulars that breed on or near our campus. And once the leaves are out, one only hears many of these. Participants can attest to this! The list is a work in progress..

“What was your favorite?”

I do very poorly at choosing favorites!  My answer is usually the bird I have in my sights!  But three species that breed on the campus that are very nice to have here are blue-gray gnatcatcher, yellow-throated vireo, and great crested flycatcher. All three walks recorded these species. In fact, the property has three species of the caterpillar-eating, tree canopy-dwelling vireos: red-eyed, warbling, and yellow-throated. Those who joined the walks can report on their own favorites!

Who did we see only flying over the property?

Great egret, green heron, turkey vulture, double-crested cormorant, barn swallow, tree swallow, and chimney swift; I am sure there are some that we missed. I have certainly seen bald eagles and red-tailed hawks just south of the church.

“What could we do to attract more birds?”

We might consider creating some clumps of a diversity of flowering, fruit-bearing native shrubs in areas other than the prairie. A baltimore oriole or a tennessee warbler might stop for a nectar fix. The prairie itself is very good for birds too. Because of it we have field sparrows, song sparrows, tree swallows and eastern bluebirds. We could create some more concentrated native pollinator gardens as part of the prairie plantings that hummingbirds would like and monarch butterflies would use. They would also attract insects that many bird species eat and feed their young.

Our little patch of God’s earth has an important role to play on the larger landscape. Thank you to all who joined me for these first annual walks.  Stay tuned for potential botany explorations later in the summer and perhaps even some mammal tracking in the winter.

We have a beautiful campus. There is always something new to see and savor. It is part of what I love about Saint Thomas Becket (but only a small part!)

St. Thomas Becket Birds 2015

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Wood Duck
  3. Mallard
  4. Hooded Merganser
  5. Double-crested  Cormorant
  6. Pied-billed Grebe
  7. Great Blue Heron
  8. Green Heron
  9. Great Egret
  10. Turkey Vulture
  11. Killldeer
  12. Mourning Dove
  13. Chimney Swift
  14. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  15. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  16. Downy Woodpecker
  17. Hairy Woodpecker
  18. Great Crested Flycatcher
  19. Least Flycatcher
  20. Eastern Kingbird
  21. Red-eyed Vireo
  22. Yellow-throated Vireo
  23. Warbling Vireo
  24. Blue Jay
  25. American Crow
  26. Tree Swallow
  27. Barn Swallow
  28. Black-capped Chickadee
  29. White-breasted Nuthatch
  30. House Wren
  31. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  32. Eastern Bluebird
  33. American Robin
  34. Gray Catbird
  35. Wilson’s Warbler
  36. Yellow Warbler
  37. Nashville Warbler
  38. Common Yellowthroat
  39. Tennessee Warbler
  40. Song Sparrow
  41. Field Sparrow
  42. Chipping Sparrow
  43. Northern Cardinal
  44. Red-winged Blackbird
  45. Brown-headed Cowbird
  46. Common Grackle
  47. Baltimore Oriole
  48. Euopean Starling
  49. House Finch
  50. American Goldfinch