Guest Author - Kimberly Weiss
OK, so itís not too cold to go birding any more. It is officially spring, as of a couple of days ago. So who has arrived from their wintering grounds?
Of course, it depends where you are from. In the Northeastern United States, hereís whoís back:
First to arrive was the red-winged blackbird. These birds, sometimes considered the most common in the United States, usually appear in late February, around Presidentís Day. They were a little late this year, but by today (March 22), they are back in force, noisily performing their distinctive mating calls. Welcome back!
Also coming in for arrival is the mourning dove. These birds usually arrive a little later than the blackbird. This year, they were a little bit earlier. I havenít heard them cooing yet, but since they are generally quiet birds, I may just not have heard it. Good to see you, doves!
Another spring nester that has come north is the green winged teal. The females of this species look like tiny black ducks, except they have a patch of green on their wing and not a patch of blue. The males are quite striking. They have a rust colored head with green cheek feathers. These ducks have suffered from habitat loss in recent years, but I saw a fairly large flock of them just the other day in a protected swamp area. It was great to see them.
Of course, the most famous bird of spring has also arrived, although just a few have made it up so far. The American robin hasnít started singing yet, but I did see one picking for worms not far from the green winged teals. The rest of the flock should be up from their perches in Florida or South America soon.
The buzzards have returned to Hinckley, Ohio. I wrote about them last year in more depth, and although Iíve never been to Hinckley Ohio, the internet reports that they came back right on schedule.
The swallows appear to have arrived back to California, although they rarely nest at the mission in Capistrano any more. The bald eagles at Doris Duke Farms have begun incubating their eggs, although the eagle cam doesnít seem to be working.
And in related reptile news, Iím happy to report that the hibernating turtles have woken up.
Although the main migration and nesting season will not begin for a few weeks, there are definitely signs that the long, hard winter is almost over.
Of course, itís going to snow tonight, so maybe I spoke too soon!