Log In

Reset Password

It’s in your nature: Spring birds

I’ve ignored/avoided suggestions to move somewhere winters are less harsh. Florida, Arizona and the Carolinas were all suggested. I really don’t “love” the cold, especially those few mornings where the thermometer hovers near zero.

But it appears over the past 20 or 30 years that those low temperatures are few and far between. Heck, I guess I can handle a few cold mornings. You simply layer for the cold. Besides, now even our Decembers aren’t very harsh either.

I guess besides the fact I prefer to be closer to my children and their families, I actually enjoy our changing seasons. Each one has something to offer. However, as I indicated in an earlier column, I do have a favorite season and it is spring. (Autumn does rank a close second.) As I write this column this last week of April, my fruit trees are just past their “blooming peak” and neighborhood flowering trees are at their finest. Now the best part. The forest trees also have finished flowering and now the leaves are beginning to appear.

The new foliage now signals the return of a myriad of our forests’ and woodlots’ insect eating birds. Their arrival coincides with the greening of our forests as they move into their breeding areas or their daytime feeding stops on their way to more northern areas. The new vegetation provides the caterpillars and other insects they need.

I do keep a yearly log of the Carbon County birds I observe. It took nearly four months to see 90 different species. However, as the trees leaf out over the next three or four weeks, I’ll have logged at least 70 or 75 more in that short time frame. On April 28 this year, in less than three hours of snooping around “Penn’s Woods,” I saw 65 different species. Thirteen of those 65 species were new finds that morning. This is why I really look forward to spring.

By the time you read this column you can expect arriving Baltimore orioles, catbirds, indigo buntings, rose-breasted grosbeaks and wood thrushes. Toss in about four vireo species and a bunch of flycatcher species, and your list grows quickly. Last week’s warbler test was to remind you that the “anticipated waves of warblers” will grace our tree tops and shrubs now as well.

I recommend, if time permits, to take a morning walk or two during May’s first couple of weeks to see the great variety. If you still can’t identify them all yet, the birds’ morning singing will certainly make your hike enjoyable. I bet in a half-hour walk you could probably hear about 20 different bird songs. No matter what, it is still time to just “get out there.”

Test Your Outdoor Knowledge: Robins, bluebirds and ducks are already warming their eggs. Which of these will be the last to nest? A. screech owl, B. barn swallow, C. goldfinch, D. tree swallows.

Last Week’s Trivia Answer: Probably the earliest warbler to migrate back to our area in spring, and the last to migrate back south, is the yellow-rumped warbler. Occasionally yellow-rumped warblers can be found overwintering in some secluded hollows in our area.

Contact Barry Reed at breed71@gmail.com.

Baltimore orioles prefer deciduous tree habitats to feed and hang their basketlike nests. The oriole males have already arrived in this region. BARRY REED/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
If your walk takes you along the Lehigh Canal, a pond or lake shore, look for the spotted sandpipers now migrating.
House wrens are probably “checking out” your nest boxes now after just returning in the past week.
Even common in towns and suburban areas, chipping sparrows have returned after spending six months migrating and wintering south of our area.