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Bright Travelers Arrive on Wing

Potomac Pathways 5-4-05

Look who just flew in from Central America. By early May, hummingbirds and warblers are among the migratory birds that return to Montgomery County. Leslie Sturges, naturalist at Locust Grove Nature Center, welcomes the aches and pains they’ll cause.

“May is a big warbler month. … I call them neck-ache birds,” said Sturges — seeing them requires lots of looking up in the trees.

Warblers reward a birder’s efforts, though. Spotting a warbler is like finding a jewel, Sturges said. Warblers come in bright colors ranging from yellow to orange to blue. “They’re also known for their songs,” said Sturges.

Warblers and orioles are usually May arrivals, and they will join hummingbirds, tanagers and indigo buntings, who have already returned.

At Locust Grove, they celebrate the return of warblers and other migratory birds with Happy Bird Day, an all-ages event on May 14. There will be crafts and migration games, and a guided bluebird walk — some are nesting at Locust Grove’s bluebird-houses.

Happy bird day guests include the National Fish and Wildlife Service, Second Chance Wildlife Center of Gaithersburg and the Maryland Ornithological Society, Montgomery County Chapter. The Second Chance Wildlife Center of Gaithersburg will bring live raptors — a redtail hawk, barn owl and screech owl have been there in previous years.

HAPPY BIRD DAY

Celebrate the return of spring migrants at Locust Grove’s annual fiesta. Play games, make crafts, and learn basic bird identification. Special guests, guided walks, treasure hunts and prizes at Locust Grove Nature Center, Cabin John Regional Park, 7777 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda on Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. All ages; $2.

BEGINNING BIRD WALKS

Join the Audubon Naturalist Society Saturdays through June, at Woodend Sanctuary book shop, 8940 Jone Mill Road, Chevy Chase at 8 a.m. Bring binoculars or borrow a pair from Audubon. Free.