Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

The Return of Spring Friends

April 27, 2009

It has been slow going, but over the last few days Iowa has started turning green again. More importantly, yesterday and today saw the return of some of our good friends: hummingbirds, orioles, and grosbeaks are now at our feeders again. We’ve also had kinglets, phoebes, and meadowlarks for awhile, and the Goldeneyes have moved through already.  This weekend also saw the return of thunderstorms, tornado sirens, and flash flood watches. Spring is here indeed.

Why Birding Helps

January 17, 2009

Well, winter hit us with a vengeance this week.  Several clippers came through, dropping about 16 inches of snow on us and then a serious deep freeze settled in.  Wednesday and Thursday night both got down to -29 (that’s actual, not wind chill).  I do love weather like this at least for short bursts (I’m not sure, for instance, if I could actually live in Alaska even though the romantic winter-lover in me pretends he could).  Everything is so crisp and the snows whip into marvelous sculptures.  On the other hand, it does take it’s toll.  And that’s where birding comes in.  The more you learn bird songs, the more you can hear the shift in seasons before they actually arrive.  Thursday morning I was walking in to work, bundled up in layer after layer of clothing, walking across the creaking snow in the deep quiet of our small town.  The sun was brilliant but ineffectual.  It was a crystalline cold world.  And there, ringing sharp and brilliant through the cold, were the clear tones of a cardinal’s spring song.  It’s the first spring song I’ve heard, and it seemed so out of place in that context, but the birds don’t lie: no matter how deep the winter, spring is in fact just around the corner.

Notes from CA, part II: New Birds

April 21, 2008

MB’s and my bird lists grew a bit while we were in California. New species included Cinnamon Teal, Acorn Woodpecker, Golden Eagle, Black-headed Grosbeak, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Wilson’s Warbler, Surf Scoter, and Western Grebe. Though not new for us, we also enjoyed seeing the Stellar’s Jays and Scrub Jays again.

On birding notes in Iowa, the Red-headed Woodpecker and the Ruby-crowned Kinglet have returned to our yard. Spring keeps pushing forward!