Changing Seasons: Spring

I haven’t seen a junco since mid-April.  It’s hard to mark the day they leave except to note when some has time gone by since I’d last noticed one.  Here, they mark the beginning of winter and the promise of spring.  As the juncos leave, the spring birds arrive.  I see the most diversity of birds during spring migration.  For whatever reason, fall migration doesn’t bring as many stopovers at my feeding stations and water baths as the reverse trip.

Some birds, like the white-capped sparrows and ruby-crowned kinglets, are only around a week or so before they continue northward.

White-capped sparrow

 For others, like the ruby-throated hummingbirds and song sparrows, this is their last stop. They will stay here until fall beckons them south again.

Song sparrow with grub

Others linger longer, frequenting the yard for a month or more, before life takes them elsewhere.  More and more Baltimore Orioles and Rose-breasted grosbeaks are spending their transition season here. Male grosbeaks

They told their girlfriends (female and male grosbeaks)

The gold finches have swapped their drab winter coats for bright spring yellow.  

A flock of gold finches

The phoebe is calling, calling, calling, the bright notes of her “Fee-bee, Fee-bee” floating in through the open windows.

Eastern Wood Phoebe

 Our great blue heron is back from the south and seems to have brought a friend.  

Great Blue Heron in breeding plumage

He’s been around here enough summers now that he is not bothered by the dogs.

And our resident pair of green herons is back from the southern coast.  They, like the phoebe and catbird, are more often heard than seen.

Green Heron
Gray Catbird

When the calendar says spring and the weather says winter, the birds always speak the truth.

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