WORDS ON BIRDS
Warmer Weather Brings Spring Birds
April 15, 2017
By Steve Grinley
New England for a few days and the migration went on without us! The
warmer weather last week brought in a number of spring migrants and
the migration should continue as the warm southwest winds keep
pushing bird northward. It is a great time to get out and experience
the spring arrivals first hand.
and palm warblers are showing up on schedule in our area, and at
least one black & white warbler and an early parula warbler were
seen in the Boston area. Blue-headed vireos and blue-gray
gnatcatchers are already reported in many areas. Eastern towhees are
being seen and heard near lots one and two on the Parker River
Wildlife Refuge, and a brown thrasher was also found further down
Plum Island. Purple finch are singing at Hellcat and the new Pines.
Great and snowy egrets are appearing in the marshes as are greater
and lesser yellowlegs and the first pectoral sandpipers.
Other birds also seem to be right on time. Hermit thrushes are
showing up, as are Savannah, field and chipping sparrows.
Ruby-crowned kinglets are arriving in good numbers and, in some
cases, outnumber the wintering golden-crowned kinglets. Phoebes are
singing their raspy “fee-bee, fee-bee” call everywhere. They will
come back to their previous nest sight and build a new nest on top
of the old one.
Barn swallows are
joining the tree and rough-winged swallows that are already here,
and the barn swallows will soon be searching out a barn near you.
Wood duck have arrived at the Ash Street swamp in West Newbury as
well as other area wet spots. Coots and pied-billed grebes are
arriving as well.
A few of the
resident birds have already begun looking for nests or actually nest
building. One customer reported bluebirds nesting in their box
already. Other customers are succumbing to the onslaught of house
sparrows in their bird houses.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds have already arrived in Connecticut and
southeastern Massachusetts. One slipped by us and moved into New
Hampshire already! Though these may be “scouts”, it won’t be long
before the masses follow. You can view their progress here:
http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html. It is time to dust off
those hummingbird feeders and get them ready to put out. Many trees
and plants are flowering, so the hummingbirds will surely follow. As
the April weather continues to warm, the hummers will welcome a
supplemental feeder to help sustain them during the more chilly days
Baltimore oriole are not
be far behind. The first orioles should arrive in our area in the
next couple of weeks and will, like the hummingbirds, come through
in good numbers in early to mid May. So it is not too soon to get
your oriole feeders ready with offerings of nectar, oranges and
goldfinches continue to be emptying the feeders here at the store.
We have a couple of males that are turning into their bright yellow
and black breeding plumage. We have a couple of thistle feeders and
and we are still filling them several times a week.
We also have a few redwings visiting the sunflower and mixed seed
feeders, but it is the grackles that are dominating. The best
defense against the grackles is feeders with small, or no perches
that will accommodate just the smaller, clinging birds. There are
also the “cage” feeders with openings that small birds can enter,
but they exclude grackles and other large birds. Other feeders have
collapsing perches or feeding ports that will allow a cardinal to
feed, but not the twice-as-heavy grackles.
The coming weeks are some of the most exciting for bird watching.
The juncos, tree sparrows, and other wintering birds are departing
and more spring migrants and summer residents are arriving. The
scenery is changing and so are the birds. Inviting these birds to
your yard with houses and feeders helps them, and it enhances your
enjoyment of the season ahead.
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Route 1 Traffic Circle
194 Route 1
Newburyport, MA 01950
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