Sunday, March 17, 2013

Winter's grip doesn't hinder birdsong

The Vernal Equinox is still a few days off, but songs of new spring arrivals defied the lingering wintery weather. It was only 17 degrees when I set foot on the trails of Pheasant Branch Conservancy this morning, but at least the sun was out. The trail was covered with ice due to recent rain, thawing, and then a subsequent freeze.

Slowly walking by the oak trees just before the boardwalk, White-throated Sparrows that survived the winter could be heard singing their doleful Sam Peabody song. A nearby Red-winged Blackbird added a couple of konk-la-ree calls but he seemed like he would rather have been someplace where it was warmer. In the distance I could hear the calls of Sandhill Cranes and Canada Geese at the marsh.

"Sprout" the Barred Owl was perched at one of his usual spots and enjoying the warmth the sun was providing. The tips of his breast feathers gently waved in a breeze that couldn't be felt from where I was standing below; the roosting owl was otherwise perfectly motionless.

It looks like we're in for at least another week of cold weather. Hopefully things will turn warmer soon because Eastern Phoebes and Yellow-rumped Warblers are on their way!

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Mar 17, 2013 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
37 species

Canada Goose 
American Black Duck 
Ring-necked Pheasant 
Cooper's Hawk 
Red-tailed Hawk 
Sandhill Crane 
Rock Pigeon 
Mourning Dove 
Great Horned Owl 
Barred Owl 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 
Downy Woodpecker 
Hairy Woodpecker 
Northern Flicker 
American Kestrel 
Blue Jay 
American Crow 
Horned Lark 
Black-capped Chickadee 
Tufted Titmouse 
White-breasted Nuthatch 
Brown Creeper 
American Robin 
European Starling 
Cedar Waxwing 
American Tree Sparrow 
Song Sparrow 
White-throated Sparrow 
Dark-eyed Junco 
Northern Cardinal 
Red-winged Blackbird 
Common Grackle 
House Finch 
Pine Siskin 
American Goldfinch 
House Sparrow 

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

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