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The birds are returning.

Hello Birders. In the interests of privacy and whenever I remember to do so, I try to send these emails out as blind copies to all who have been on our birding hikes in past years. And while we cannot go out birding together this year we can spend time outdoors, always a good distance from others, to watch and listen for the newest spring arrivals. So why not share your observation of avian newcomers with me and I will pass them along to the group. If our current situation has any positives, one of those must be how quiet it is outside now – very little traffic noise, no kids playing on the beach and even overhead airplanes are few and far between. That makes it far easier to hear and recognize the songs and calls of our bird friends.

In Lion’s Head many birds think spring is here. American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles have been back for a while, on Isthmus Bay and in small ponds in the area we are seeing lots of ducks including Mallards, Common Goldeneye, Common and Hooded Mergansers and Buffleheads. Just yesterday we saw our first Eastern Phoebe (a flycatcher that when sitting on a branch is always pumping its tail up and down) and this morning as we headed out to do some early morning shopping at Foodland (THANK YOU FOODLAND!!) we were regaled with the beautiful call of a Song Sparrow who seemed extremely happy to be here – or perhaps he/she was just horny and looking for a mate. And don’t forget the common guys who are around all year but are very special in the spring. For example, look for male Northern Cardinals passing seeds to their mates and American Goldfinches slowly changing colour –right now they are pretty bland with just a touch of yellow but over the next week or two will gradually change so they look like the picture in your bird book. And lastly I have a good news story. This past fall near our home we observed a Carolina Wren (very uncommon in this neck of the woods) and thought it was just passing through to warmer territory. However it hung around into the winter and we really thought it would not survive the cold weather. However, every few days we would see it at our feeder and our last sighting was just a few days ago. It is probably out now looking diligently for a summer partner.

Please do keep me posted with your observations and if you do not live on the Peninsula let me know your location so we will know how close the newcomers are to reaching us. Good birding and STAY HEALTHY.

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