It’s Time to Build!

– so come on out. Spring is such a fascinating time to bird watch! There is sooooo much activity going on it will make your head spin. Not only are birds, like the Anna’s hummingbird, arriving from the south – some brave soles do stay up here throughout the winter – but some males, such as the American goldfinch, are changing from their drab winter colours into vibrant, you gotta notice me, yellow – have to impress those gals! And the singing – oh my goodness – can those males sing. It is enough to make a female bird’s heart flutter, and of course, that IS the whole point.

Love in in the air. It is time for the boys to strut their stuff. Who can sing the loudest or make the most noise? Whose plumage in the most stunning? Who gives the best gifts or picks the perfect nesting location?

The criteria for choosing a mate varies according to species as does the type of nest that will be built. As an oriole you would create a cozy pouch like nest that would dangle from the end of a tree branch – on the other hand, as a savannah sparrow, you would construct a small cup-like nest of grasses and moss. You would place it just slightly above the ground in a bush or – are you ready for this …. on the ground! This seems to be the sparrow thing to do – another good reason to stay on pathways and not go traipsing through the Stoney Creek area any ol’ which way. Oh the damage that could be done unbeknownst to you!

Well … we have just finished our walk for the morning. It was 8 degrees, at 9 am, when the three of us started out under clear blue skies on this 12th day of April. The air smelled sweet and the creek sparkled like diamonds as the sun kissed its surface. We recorded 13 bird species, spied five different types of nests, and saw eight squirrels.

The buzz of the morning was when Mojgan spotted two different Anna’s hummingbirds – the first of the season for us. We were also privileged to witness the courtship ritual of a couple of northern flickers consisting of calling, head bobbing, wing and tail flashing, and a graceful, well-synchronized aerial dance.

YES spring is most definitely an exciting time to be out and about bird book in hand. Why not join us on our next Thursday or Saturday morning walk? Check out our calendar tab. You are most welcome!

PS: The courtship song of the northern flicker is a loud woika woika woika woika! Now how romantic is that? I dare you to try that line on your sweetheart and see what reaction you get!

Photos: People by Wendy Snyder, Nests by Randy Snyder

Photos: Bird Watchers by Wendy Snyder, Nests by Randy Snyder