Inspired by change, challenge and creativity

Wildlife Lesson-Early Spring Critters

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“My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather.”

 ~Loire Hartwould

 

 

 

As spring (March 21st) dawned in the purply-pink sky, there was a perceptible shift in the air, urged on by the warmer spring weather.  As we walked around the area and observed our surrounds, we were greeted by crowds in the trees, in the sky and on the ground; crowds of migratory birds who had returned here early to nest and raise their young.

 

 

Of course it was different when the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) came around in mid-February.  The birds scattered to find warmth as it fell on the coldest weekend of the year with -20F temps and -40F wind chills.   It was lonely and the trees were pretty bare.  Now weeks later, the birds are showing up to usher in spring right on schedule….March 21st.

 

 

 

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When we returned in early March from our trip out west, the weather had warmed a bit and the peepers were singing us to sleep.  And when I walked around our pond, the first week of spring, I saw tadpoles swimming.  The frogs are usually not long off.  The first are usually the Northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens).

 

 

 

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Prior to the new birds arriving, I noticed the Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) were pairing off and looking around for nesting sites.

 

 

 

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And American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos), along with various hawks, were seen gathering nesting materials.  This crow was ripping bark from an old vine growing in the meadow.

 

 

 

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Canada geese (Branta canadensis) were also returning, in droves, in mid-March, littering the skies on their way to the lake across the street.

 

 

 

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And many blackbirds descended upon us as spring started….Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater), and Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula).  A few Red-winged Blackbirds were back in February, but the raucous noise of the males returning to their nesting sites was a glad spring chorus in late March.

 

 

 

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But I knew spring was here, when we heard the familiar banging on our front windows.  Our female ‘crazy-toes’ American robin (Turdus migratorius) was back to claim her nesting site, our garden, for her third year.  The banging meant she was back to fight the imaginary robins in our windows.  You can read more about our journey with her here.

 

As I report on the events of the start of spring in March, April receded to winter with snow and cold.  The robins were especially struggling, and you can read about their struggle here.  They seem to have made it through and are now building their nest next door at the abandoned house.

 

 

So there you have some of our first spring visitors.  I will update you on more spring critters next month….April warmed, and the critter activity has been busy!  What signs of spring are you seeing in your area?

 

 

 

With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.

 

 

 

I leave you with another thought about the lessons to learned from the singing birds.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

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16 Comments

  1. May 5, 2016    

    Love your birds. Feathered enchantment.
    I am so glad that they survived the return to winter.

  2. May 5, 2016    

    I love migration time. Birds are busy nesting, singing and making their living. Many animals awake to spring ready to take on the world. In winter, I see just as many birds at my garden since they are less active and very hungry. As a dedicated birder, I follow the migrations in our area and others, so spring is always a delight.

  3. May 5, 2016    

    I agree it is a great time and busy here right now with new visitors daily. Orioles are back and we spied bluebirds who we hope are not too shy this year. And hummers have been spotted around too! Spring is busy from March through June and into summer when the babies are all about. Enjoy your migration time Donna!

  4. May 5, 2016    

    I had to double check the date of your post Donna, I hope you have some warmer weather soon for you and your wildlife.

    • May 5, 2016    

      Still a bit cooler than normal, Julie, but critters are returning although flowers are blooming slow.

  5. May 5, 2016    

    The opening shot is a stunner! Love your bird photos, especially of the Mourning Doves. They’re common here, but oddly I rarely see them in my gardens. I’m glad to hear that your robins made it through that rough, cold patch of weather. Thanks for joining in this month!

    • May 5, 2016    

      So glad you enjoyed the post Tina….many spring visitors are showing up now with May warming a bit!

  6. May 5, 2016    

    The phoebes have been very active in my garden, a sign of spring. I also have larger critters showing up, like foxes and — this week — a porcupine (not sure how I feel about sharing my garden with the latter!).

    • May 6, 2016    

      Oh phoebes….how lovely….we don’t see them in our garden. How cool to see a porcupine, but I don’t think I would want to share my garden with it.

  7. May 6, 2016    

    I love the Rumi quote at the end, Donna. So perfect for this post. I wake up in the mornings and hear the birds thoroughly enjoying being alive and well. What a witness to Life and living in the moment!

    • May 6, 2016    

      I was so happy to find that wonderful quote Ginnie! Waking to birds is bliss, I agree!

  8. May 7, 2016    

    Such a lovely post and I’m happy to read the return of warmer temperatures ushered back your more familiar songster friends.

    I get a few migratory visitors but am both too close to urban areas and too far from any large water source to see many flocks either overhead or in our trees. The exception, especially this year, are cedar waxwings who visited to eat ripening loquat fruit for a couple of weeks in a row. I never got good photos of them but their antics were wonderfully diverting even if for a limited audience of one!

    • May 7, 2016    

      Thanks Deb….I do find we are lucky to see some of the migratory birds here….and Waxwings are a hoot to watch. We usually see them in later May but I bet they show up soon.

  9. May 7, 2016    

    Hello Donna, you have some lovely spring visitors there. The Robins are one of my favorites. I love the gorgeous sunrise image, the color is beautiful. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

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