I am staying home like many of you, but I am still watching for spring birds to arrive.
There is a regular schedule for their arrival, but, because of the warm weather, some may choose to arrive early. Red-winged Blackbirds are already making their loud calls over the marshes and fields, staking out their territories. Common Grackles are pairing up in the flocks they joined on the way north. Robins have broken off from their flocks to find their own field or your lawn.
Many of them stayed around for the winter, surviving on berries and other fruit. Insect eaters will arrive as soon as insects start hatching or coming out of hibernation. Eastern Phoebes as well as Tree and Barn Swallows will be searching for emerging insects.
Some of our residents, like Titmice and Cardinals, are already collecting materials for their nests. They will build those nests in bushes, maybe right around your house.
One of the first insect eaters to arrive will be the Tree Swallow. If you live near water, they will be skimming over the ponds and lakes searching for emerging insects. Phoebes, looking for flying insects, will sit on a branch before darting out to eat and then returning to their perch.
Robins will be looking for worms and insects in lawns and fields. They look for food by turning their heads; they seem to be listening, but they are really searching.
Getting outside to garden or to allow your kids a bit of fresh air is a great time to listen to birds. Red-shoulder Hawks have been screaming overhead. Crows have been forming large flocks, flying from tall tree to tall tree, calling to one and other. House Wrens and Catbirds will soon be singing their own songs to defend their territories and attract mates.
One winter resident, the White-throated Sparrow, is singing “Peabody, peabody.” They nest in northern Connecticut, so they may stay in our area longer than most winter residents because they don’t need to fly that far north.
Even if you don’t have feeders you can still attract birds to your yard. Stick orange halves onto a fence or branch and you might have Orioles and Red-breasted Woodpeckers visit for a snack.
Suet or peanut butter smeared on a tree trunk will attract woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and, unfortunately, squirrels, but then they are fun to watch.
Soon the hummingbirds will arrive. If you want to see them up close, you can purchase feeders online. Your order will arrive just in time to feed these little jewels.
Watching and listening to birds may be a great way to relieve some of the boredom of staying at home during this hard time.