Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Migration time

Check out the lineup of starlings sitting on the split rail! They're chockablock as if they don't want to get their feet wet. I've been putting out mixed seed recently, with corn and millet in it. These birds today have joined their blackbird buddies the red wings - who arrived here a week or so ago in groups of first a pair, then 14 then 30.

They appear to be the bird version of gourmands - piggy-type birds who need to keep their energy high with the cold that followed the warm air we experienced a week ago. And with voracious appetites. The mourning doves that have been about recently appear to have moved on, though two or three try to edge in for a quick mouthful.

As kids we used to worry about the robin that arrived before spring really started and was threatened with March and early April's traditional big snowstorms. Since then I've learned to provide the birds with enough fatty seeds and suet to help them get through the icy nights. I suspect if the snow continues this large group of blackbirds will join the 100 plus goldfinches and their pals the red polls who have decided that Barbara's diner is a good place to rest up for the next leg. Sort of like a bird version of Tim's?

The video shows many of the little birds, joined by others of their size, chickadees, nuthatches, American tree sparrows, who will mostly move north when it turns hot. The sound when I'm outside - of the little wings fluttering around is mesmerizing. I hear it in my sleep sometimes.
Meantime the hungry hordes await the next serving - noon perhaps? Goodness this could get expensive!

But it's fun to watch. I've noticed migrating ducks on the river, pairs mostly, buffleheads and a couple of mergansers. Canada geese heading north fly high in the sky with only an occasional cry in the evening to let me know they're passing. Two ravens have been hanging about and crows continue to assure me that regardless of the snow, spring is in the air. Hope that you are enjoying some sort of "wild" activity in your neck of the woods.


  1. Quite a collection of black birds here! Starlings seem to group in unusual numbers, sometimes into the many thousands. A "murmer" of starlings it is called, from the noise that their thousands of wings make when they fly in unison.Check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRNqhi2ka9k . You'll love it!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Bill - it's interesting how many black birds there seem to be this year. Thanks for the tip on the video as well.