Early Spring Birding: Five Favorite Birds
After months of snow on the ground, freezing temps, and frozen icy trails everywhere, these five birds in early Spring are a very welcome sight!
Many of these birds are present in the winter; however, they become much more prevalent in the Spring.
Here are my five favorite early spring birds:
Red-Winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
1. Red-Winged Blackbirds
are considered short-distance migrants, travelling up to 800 miles to southern Canada and northern United States. They are one of the most abundant birds in North America. They are also easily recognizable with their bold flashes of bright red and yellow wing patches sported by the highly territorial males.
During breeding season, they can be found in marshes and wetlands, commonly atop cattails.
Although the males spend at least 25% of daytime hours fiercly defending their territories, they are also highly polygynous. In some cases, he will have up to 15 female mates. However, up to half of the nestlings will be be sired (fathered) by another male out of the territorial range. Busy birds!
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
2. Eastern Bluebirds
Although Bluebirds can be found all winter, sightings increase in early Spring, as they begin to look for nesting sights. Bluebirds use nest boxes, but they will also use tree cavities if necessary.
The male will pick out the nesting site, usually oferring more than one nearby location. He will bring nesting material guide to each site, show her around, and she will ultimately decide if it is suitable to raise their family of up to seven baby bluebirds.
Once the nest is confirmed, the female will build the nest. The male will gather food for her during incubation. He will fiercly defend the territory by dive-bombing and making a loud clicking sound to anything or anyone approaching the nest.
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Here’s one you don’t even have to look for – just listen for the drumming sounds of Woodpeckers tapping away. Their goal is to make the loudest sound possible, which is why they may sometimes drum on metal objects like the downspout on your house. Drumming is a major communication tactic to defend territory and to attract a mate.
Woodpeckers are cavity-dwellers. The male will begin to carve out, or drum, a tree for his female mate. Once breeding has begun, the drumming will mostly likely stop.
American or Eastern Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis)
If you are familiar with the Eastern or American Goldfinch, then you know their Sweet song. During Winter, it may be difficult to recognize them when they are not singing because they blend into the scene, sporting buff or dull-looking plumage.
However, as the temperatures begin to rise, the Male Goldfinches begin to molt. They unveil a brillant and happy shade of yellow that pops along bare branches and at the feeder. Their beautiful hue is reminiscent of the first Daffodils to appear.
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Perhaps the most sure sign of Spring is the first arrival of Robins. As the snow melts and the warmer temperatures thaw the ground, worms begin to rise to the surface. A tasty and nutritious food for the Robin, they will also settle for mealworms (the Bluebirds also love mealworms).
So there you have it, five favorite birds that indicate Spring and warmer temperatures is on it’s way. What is your favorite Spring bird?
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