Words On Birds by Steve Grinley
Birds on Schedule Despite it All
April 11, 2020
By Steve Grinley
The birds know nothing of coronavirous, nor its impact on the humans that they live amongst – the humans that often gawk at them and, sometimes, even feed them. The birds are going about their business as they have for hundreds, if not thousands of years. They continue their flight and their song, unaware of their positive impact on those humans.
This time of year birds are busy migrating north out of our area, or from the south, to our area. Resident birds and newly arrived migrants are courting, nest building, and starting to raise a new generation of birds. Other migrants may be stopping to feed in our fields, woodlands, seashores, marshes, and even our backyards to continue further north.
Many birds benefit by the nest boxes and nesting material that we provide, the seed, suet , mealworms, nectar and fruit that we offer, and the fresh water they find readily in our yards. They continue to dazzle us with their stunning spring plumages. They continually serenade us with their varied chorus of song.
This spring is happening as it usually does. Bluebirds are inspecting available housing and some are already starting their first brood. Phoebes arrived in numbers this past week and soon will be building nests on an appropriate ledge, under a deck, under a small bridge. Resident chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and woodpeckers are already searching for the perfect cavity or nest box.
Chipping sparrows are arriving and joining the soon-to-migrate white-throated sparrows feeding on millet on our trays and on the ground. The male goldfinches are sporting their spring yellow and black plumage at our thistle feeders. In a few weeks, we will need to put out grape jelly and oranges for arriving orioles and catbirds, as well as nectar feeders for hummingbirds.
Other migrants are arriving on schedule. The great egrets are back in area marshes and they were recently joined by the smaller snowy egrets. Great blue herons are already back on their nests in area swamps. Glossy ibis are just arriving this past week.
Ospreys are returning, some staking claim on last years platforms. Kestrels are just starting to migrate along the coast. Yellowlegs are starting to arrive and will soon be joined buy other shorebirds on area mudflats. Tree swallows are arriving and will soon be joined by barn and rough-winged swallows. Pine and palm warblers started to arrive last week starting the season’s parade of warblers through our area. The first gnatcatchers and Louisiana waterthrushes were reported this week.
Spring migration doesn’t peak until mid-May, but it is well on its way despite everything else that is happening around us. It is a refreshing continuum during this “new norm.”