This spring we’ve already seen a bounty of early birds. And it’s not even spring yet (at least not officially).
That hasn’t stopped birds from winging their way north, some as early as February. Clouds of geese, plus ducks, grebes, killdeer, blackbirds, larks, shorebirds and sandhill cranes — were lured north by the freakishly warm weather.
Others, mostly neotropical birds that winter in Central and South America, don’t take their cues from the temperatures. They move north according to internal clocks set eons ago. But these brightly colored jewels in springtime’s necklace — orioles, warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, buntings and hummingbirds — will be heading our way soon.
Yellow-rumped warblers are among the first vividly colorful birds to look for, certainly in April. A few could be here this month. They’ll soon be joined by palm warblers. Other warblers (we can see 28 different species, migrating through or nesting) will make their appearances from late April through May.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds and Baltimore orioles will arrive in late April or early May. If you want to see these beauties, which travel thousands of miles to get here, put out feeders designed specially for them by the third week of April.
If your backyard isn’t the best place to see birds, go to a lake or park. Walk along a creek, or head to a wildlife refuge.
Take your time, look up and down and listen carefully. (You often hear birds before you see them.) If you want help with identification, bring a guide book or download an app. But don’t try to take pictures. Not on your first outing.
Just enjoy these birds, many of which are short-timers here. You can post to Facebook next time.