Outside my bedroom window is a curly willow tree. Most mornings, all winter long, I can see a bluster of blue jays decorating the tree top as they wait for me to shake off my lazybone ways and hurry outside with my daily offering of peanuts.
This morning when I opened my eyes, the birds waiting in the tree were black, not blue. Common Grackles! A warm wind last night carried a flock of blackbirds in from the south. The new arrivals included starlings and grackles and, most importantly, Red-winged Blackbirds, our favorite harbinger of spring. When I restocked the birdfeeders, I recorded a Red-wing in a tree near the house.
It’s more usual for the Red-wings to arrive a few days or a week in advance of the other spring migrants, but this year a mixed flock was foraging under the birdfeeder. The photos above and below were taken from the kitchen window.
The Red-wings are about on schedule, or maybe a day or two late. In 2012, I spotted the first Red-wing on March 3rd. His arrival is documented here.
In 2011, it was March 9th.