Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Get a room!
My car is coated with pollen, my normally polite students are grumpy and distracted, and field of boring (non-avian) warblers on American Idol is almost down to the single digits. Which means only one thing:
SPRING IS HERE!
It not only feels like spring, but sounds like spring. On my morning runs (just after sunrise, which is allegedly when all the muggers and kidnappers are back in bed) I hear calls and songs and scolds from seemingly twice as many birds as before, all going at double speed and double volume. The intensity and urgency of their calls makes me want to run faster—but it also tempts me to go home, grab my bins, and walk my route, checking the trees for migrants. Some of the vocalizations are unfamiliar, and I want to know who's making them. Most likely, our year-round residents in a hormone-induced frenzy, but still. Alas, this time-intensive option isn't doable on work days. So I run faster.
At our feeder, we're also seeing signs of spring. Our resident male Northern Cardinal has been feeding his mate, a sign that nesting will soon begin. Two Carolina Wrens have been following each other closely as they explore our peanut feeder and occasional meal worm treats—no doubt a pair. They've been eating heartily in anticipation of —well, whatever it is they're up to! Over the weekend, one of them managed to gobble down two meal worms at once:
I've learned, though, that spring migration doesn't hit Gainesville until relatively late in the season. The summering Northern Parulas are back, and word is out that the first Prothonotory Warblers of the season have been spotted—but we're not expecting a real influx of good stuff for a few more weeks. Meanwhile, our winter birds are still here: the Chipping Sparrows still arrive by the dozen at our feeder every morning, and on Sunday, we got a new bird at our feeder: a wintering American Goldfinch:
Now where was this guy back in December, when I put down major ducats for all that thistle seed nobody touched?