Despite a two-inch overnight snowfall overnight on April 3 that covered everything, it was quickly gone. But the quick, little snowstorm brought many bird species to our backyard and feeders that had been absent since last fall including dark-eyed juncos, song sparrows, a yellow-rumped warbler, fox sparrows, Eastern phoebes, yellow-shafted flickers, hermit thrushes, robins, purple finches and American goldfinches with males molting into their golden summer plumage. Others reported seeing or hearing a merlin saw-whet owl, rough-legged hawks, Eastern bluebirds, belted kingfisher, and marsh hawks. It was good to see these migratory birds return and on time giving some orderliness to our otherwise chaotic world right now.
The migratory birds in our yard this past week complemented our resident woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees that frequented our winter bird feeders. Those feeders had very few birds of other species during the winter. That is because many northern birds that usually migrate south from Canada looking for food didn’t have to because their natural food supplies in Canada were plentiful.
The migratory floodgates also opened for waterfowl last week as the ice melted. Newly arriving species were spotted almost everywhere there was open water. These species included Canada geese, trumpeter swans, wood ducks, hooded mergansers, mallards, common mergansers, buffleheads, ring-necked ducks, and American goldeneyes.
Now is the time to get out your bird book, camera, and binoculars and get ready for one of nature’s greatest shows on earth and in the sky, spring bird migration. It will continue through the end of May, so get the kids involved too as it is educational and a lot of fun!