Wed10222014

     Subscribe  |  Contact  |  Advertise  |  RSS Feed Other Publications

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 01:49

Homecoming

Written by 

out natcornThe blue-headed vireo sang to me of spring sometime around the first week of April. Blue-headeds are generally the last “non-resident” songbird we hear in the fall (sometimes into November) and the first we hear in the spring — probably due to the fact that many overwinter in the warmer climes of the Southeast.

But the liquid, slow trilling, “can you hear me?” is a sure sign that neotropical nesters are on the way home to their nesting grounds.

On April 14, I heard the first flute-like “eee-oo-lay” announcing the return of wood thrushes to the woods adjacent my home. A black-throated green warbler showed up on the next day.

On April 18, the rising “zzeeezzeeeezzee” that breaks off at the end with a sharp “tsip,” let me know that a northern parula was surveying the landscape. I have had one nest in the front yard for the last two years.

Last Friday morning, I was snoozing in and out on the couch after a 12-hour work night. The rain was falling, drawing a grey curtain around the large windows, making for perfect napping — but, somehow, a jolt of color grabbed my attention. There in the platform feeder, digging through wet black-oil sunflower seeds, its crimson breast shimmering in the rain was my FOY (first-of-the-year) rose-breasted grosbeak.

Without banding, there’s no way of knowing if these particular grosbeaks will be the same ones that nest in my woods; flit in and out of my feeders all summer and bring their young for buffets in the autumn, but I do know that I will share my yard, feeders and deck with these striking creatures from now until October.

I don’t know if it was that same rainy day or the day after that I was headed to town and a silhouette caught by eye; standing on a limb at the side of the road was the small slim shadow of a broad-winged hawk. One of two truly neotropical raptors (Swainson’s hawk is the other) the broad-winged also spends the summer in the woods adjacent to my home.

Even though the nights this past weekend flirted with or dipped below freezing I knew that with the company I had, ruby throated hummingbirds could not be far behind. On Saturday, April 20, I filled my hummingbird feeders and put them out. Sunday morning after breakfast, I walked past the bedroom window just in time to catch a male ruby-throat bent over the feeder inhaling a beak full of sugar water.

It’s clear that spring is here, but I still have a few summer residents that I am anticipating. I haven’t seen a single flash of crimson or heard the growling “chickkkburrr” of a scarlet tanager yet. And while I don’t need any competition for lazy, I’ve yet to hear the “I am sooo lazzeee” of the black-throated blue warbler.

(Don Hendershot is a writer and naturalist. He can be reached a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

blog comments powered by Disqus
Read 1082 times Last modified on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 13:19

Media

blog comments powered by Disqus