Birders record diverse bird populations along the Stony Run

The precise number is hard to pin down but Baltimore is thought to host over 250 bird species throughout the year. You can find many of these in the parks along the Stony Run.

Wyman Park and Stony Run Park are two of 100 “hotspots” around Baltimore mapped on, Cornell Ornithology Lab’s app and Web platform that allows birders of any experience level to record and share their observations from the field via species checklists. Data collected on eBird is used in scientific research, conservation and education, and the site provides a wealth of information for knowledgeable and new birders alike.

More than 20 birders have shared 60+ checklists for Stony Run Park since 2014, while more than 300 checklists have been posted from Wyman Park since the eBird project was established.

With 100 species noted, educator Brian Rolfinke holds a record for sightings in Stony Run Park. Lynn Parkes is the top eBirder in Wyman Park having sighted 121 species. Rolfinke has led a contingent of Friends School students and teachers to Stony Run Park each May through the Irvine Nature Center’s annual Bird-a-thon. In 2019, the group spotted 58 species, including a bald eagle, an osprey and an ovenbird — a small migrator with a big song that sounds “teach-er, TEA-cher, TEA-CHER!”

Bird populations will change along with the landscape. Parks notes the impact of the recent stream restoration in Wyman Park, which removed several trees to make way for new wetlands. “I’ve seen fewer songbirds and more herons. A Great Egret showed up a few times to feed in the new pools. When you are concerned about birds, you assess the health of their stopping points… find ways to engage to help keep habitats healthy.”

Photo: a yellow crowned night heron enjoys a plenitful meal. Photo by Alice Greely-Nelson.

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Friends of Stony Run is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the entire Stony Run stream valley. 

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