Archive for April 20th, 2010

American Goldfinches in various stages of colour change.

When I step out the door these mornings, what a joyful noise greets my ears! The air is filled with the songs of birds. The many Robins are “Cheer-up!”ing. The Red-winged Blackbirds are “Oak-a-lee!”ing. The Mourning Doves inquire “Oh, who? Who? Who?” The Chickadees whistle “Seaaa-beee!” The Grackles cackle. The Crows caw. The Cowbirds burble. The Phoebe wheezes his name. The Goldfinches and Juncos twitter. Overhead, Canada Geese honk their way across the sky. The neighbours’ pen of Turkeys gobble. The Blue Jays, seated high in the tree branches, call out “Jay!” as they wait for me to bring forth my daily offering of peanuts. In the last few days, a Hairy Woodpecker has been rat-a-tatting noisily on some metal siding.

Purple Finch and American Goldfinch at niger feeder.

Some bird-feeders stop putting seed out once the snow has melted away, figuring the birds can forage for themselves. If you carry on filling your feeders, however, you can enjoy the pleasure of having a whole raft of “spring” birds close at hand. It is fun to watch for the new arrivals and observe the Goldfinches changing out their drab gold feather coats for brilliant yellow ones. I didn’t see Purple Finches all winter, but now a few have joined the Goldfinches at the niger feeder. If you can keep your suet feeder stocked in spite of the assault of the melting sun and aggressive Starlings, you may be rewarded with the sight of parent Downy Woodpeckers feeding their youngsters at the suet station.

In the cacophony of spring voices, one of the sweetest belongs to the White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis). They are easily recognized by their yellow lores, spots over the eyes, and white throats. They sing a pure, whistled “Oh! Sweet! Canada! Canada! Canada!” And how sweet it is, indeed.

Whitethroated Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco

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