Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Bird Report

The towhees, robins and white-throated sparrows are here, but the juncos have not yet left for their homes in Canada. Normally by the third week of March, bluebirds are nesting in their house in the meadow, but this spring they are very few, even around the soybean fields. I'm concerned that the chilly, snowy spring will discourage the hummingbirds who always arrive around April 24, a month from now (with the exception of 2008, when they were very late). Doves have arrived. I made a shelter of tree limbs and branches beneath the bird feeder so the doves can eat without the resident hawks diving and snatching them up for lunch. My year-round cardinals must be either breeding or nesting; they come for their sunflower seeds only very late in the day, at twilight. Owls are calling, but they do this year-round. Eagerly I wait for the whippoorwill or chuck-wills-widow whose nighttime song means "no more frost," but I don't expect to hear one before the end of April. The woodpecker population -- Downies, Hairies, and Pileated -- is normal, which means fat and lazy. The Downies are always first and last at the suet. The Pileateds sleep in until about 9, eat heartily and then go to bed early. This year I have a young pair who don't know me very well and don't yet trust me enough to take their picture.

Found this teacup-sized nest in the blackberry briars when I was cutting a path between them, planning for easier berry-picking this summer. Right now we're awaiting a spring snowstorm, but I am determinedly thinking "spring" and "summer" and "birds" and "berries" while monitoring bird arrivals and departures.

No comments: