Seasons of Birding at Soldiers Delight
Each season, in turn, offers great birding at Soldier's Delight NEA. Visiting throughout the year offers an opportunity to understand the role that this rare and wonderful habitat plays in annual bird movements.
The Sparrows and Woodpeckers are the highlights of winter birding at Soldiers Delight. Seven species of tree-clinging birds that winter at SD are: White -breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Downy, Hairy, Pileated and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Red-breasted Nuthatches are likely to be found in conifers, while the White-breasted are often in broadleaf trees. Walking through the leafless broadleaf forest will present an opportunity to see woodpeckers. The American Tree, Field, Fox, Savannah, Song, Swamp, White-crowned, and White-throated Sparrows are regular visitors during this season. In January look for American Tree Sparrows in the open areas around the star-gazing field. The other sparrows can be found throughout the park all winter.
In May, Soldier's Delight comes alive with the songs of birds in colorful breeding plumage. The male Scarlet Tanager, a brilliant red bird with black wings, can be found around every corner. Eastern Bluebirds and Indigo Buntings show-off vibrant blue hues in the open areas along open trails. Warblers and other spring migrants can be found in the broadleaf and scrub pine forest around the nature center, and along the hiking trails.
Soldiers Delight's unique habitat has attracted over 67 breeding bird species. Summer specialties include: the Whip-poor-will that can be heard calling throughout the evening hours; Eastern Bluebird, found in open areas around the park; Summer Tanager, which can be seen in open areas on the edge of the forests; Scarlet Tanager and Hooded Warbler - look for them in the secluded broadleaf forest; Pine Warbler - you'll see them in scrub pines; and Yellow-breasted Chat, which can be seen in or around dense thickets. Baltimore Orioles can be found in tall broadleaf trees along the forest edge. Breeding species can be found feeding young in June, July and August.
September is a very busy month for birding at Soldiers Delight. Neo-tropical fall migrants can be found in the broadleaf forest around the visitor center and along the hiking trails. From the overlook on Deer Park Road, walk west on the White trail when looking for Warblers. In September, look for roosting Broad-winged Hawks in the forest on the east side of Deer Park Road. They take flight just after 10:00 a.m. and can gather by the hundreds before flying South. Migratory Sparrows arrive in numbers in October and can be found in the forest as well as the open areas.
Get an early start. Birds are most active early in the day.
Bring water. On a long outing you will want to stay hydrated.
Take time to enjoy the other animals and plants. A fuller experience helps you to better understand and connect with nature.