At the Pond

Posted: Nov. 03, 2014


Jacobs Pond is not a major migration stopover for any species of waterfowl. This we know from our nearly two completed migration season surveys. That said, there are several species that do arrive here in small numbers in the shoulder seasons, birds that we cannot see during breeding season or when, of course, the pond freezes entirely. They include:

American Black Ducks
Ring-necked Ducks
Hooded Mergansers
Ruddy Ducks
Pied-billed Grebes

Beyond that, it’s the old standbys, the Mute Swans (as of this weekend’s storm, which included some snow, they seem to have moved on), Mallards and Canada Geese.

Sometimes it’s not whether or not they are there, it’s where they’re hiding. Here’s a tip. On cold, windy days when the wind is blowing out of the northwest (like this morning, 16 mph, 34 degrees), the birds like to hide behind Jacobs Island, the larger of the two islets in the eastern half of the pond. The island has a cove on its eastern half that is perfect for shielding out the winds.

Moreover, the town has added a pontoon bridge between the smaller and larger islands, and as we can see above, it has effectively become a breakwater. Not only are the waters behind the island protected from the winds, they’re now less turbulent on windy days. So, the next time you decide to walk there on a cold windy day, check the cove. It may be where the Pied-billed Grebe is taking a break!