Sunday, February 17, 2013

Anticipating the Arrival of Spring

It is a little early, but this time of year when I am birding less, busy with work and craving a bit of sunshine and warmth, I like to start anticipating the arrival of spring. Although flocks of Red-Wing Blackbirds have been apparent passing through, next month, I expect to start hearing the Kee-kee ronk of the males as they arrive and start to stake out their territories. We have had several thaws and freezes the last two months, each thaw seems to leave the average temperature a little closer to freezing on the thermometer, giving us some thawing during the day.

The feeders at the house are made up mostly of Dark-Eyed Juncos, Black-Capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice, with the occasional American Goldfinch and regular visits to the suet by Downy, Hairy and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers. Gone are the Redpolls. New arrivals, likely as they just discovered us, a flock of 10-12 Mourning Doves, who seem more intent on sunning on the deck than feeding.

Red-Tail Hawks are more apparent in the stark branches, hunting in the fields.

The White-Throated Sparrows are starting to reappear - I haven't seen or heard them much since December.  As our new spring approaches I wish everyone well and lots of sunshine.


  1. Great post, Dan! Your photos are awesome! I am seeing pretty much the same birds here. And I am really looking forward to spring! Have a great weekend!

  2. What state are you in, Dan? The earliest I've seen redwings here in Wisconsin is February 22nd. I don't think it will happen this year!

    (Fabulous photos!)

    1. In Idaho, we have some Red-winged Blackbirds that spend the winter with us in little flocks, but often by late January some males are returning to territories and singing their hearts out.

  3. I am in VT and I should have clarified, the RWBB shots are from last spring not this year. sorry :) I do see flocks hanging about, but none are calling or showing their epaulets

  4. The red-winged blackbirds have been vocalizing this week in southern NY/northern NJ. Very exciting to hear spring approaching!

  5. Terrific shots, Dan! Red-wing Blackbirds are still weeks away. I do hear some male House Finches singing though as if it was spring already.

  6. I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing Red-winged Blackbirds soon! Here in the Midwest, we are seeing similar birds mentioned in this wonderful post. Terrific photographs, Dan! I especially love the close-up of the Mourning Dove.