Sunday, March 11, 2012

The First Wave

Dark-eyed Junco

Before I set out for Pheasant Branch today I had in mind a few species that might be new for the year. I was thinking of Wood Ducks, Song Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and perhaps an Eastern Phoebe. Well, I didn't see a phoebe, but all the others on my list were present. Before I went to bed, radar showed detectable migration over the Midwest so my guess is all of these birds (and more) came in overnight.

It seemed like woodland branches were vibrating with junco song today. If you know birdsong well enough, then you can likely guess the time of year – probably down to the week. It's neat to consider that nature has a unique soundtrack for every week, especially during migration. Perhaps it's a little like when listening to an old favorite song on the radio; we reminisce.

The sensation of the passage of time during spring is unlike any of the other seasons. Summer and winter stagnate and fall feels like one long farewell. We'll soon give farewell to juncos, but there are a lot more birds on the way. For many of them, their songs will grace our woods for only a week or two at most; they will continue on to Canada's boreal forest to nest and raise young. For birders and other nature aficionados, spring is one wild phenological ride of what's happening, what's coming, and remembering.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Mar 11, 2012 12:00 PM - 3:30 PM
39 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Golden-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
European Starling
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco © 2012 Mike McDowell

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