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Bird watching

In spite of all of our storms, spring is still marching towards central NY. The days are longer, and the number of chicken eggs I gather each day is steadily increasing. Even though temps are still cold, and snow is on the ground, spring birds are coming back to the area.

In the winter we still have the occasional flock of robins, usually thought of as the harbinger of spring. In my opinion the arrival of the Red-Winged Blackbird truly marks the start of the season. The males arrive first and their reedy voices incessantly call down from the treetops. Then they will spread out in the fields around them, calling fro the tops of the tiniest weeds, declaring their turf.

I keep track of bird arrivals each and every year. For example, this year the Red Wings arrived March 6 which is the third earliest since 2002 (arrived March 2). In 2005, they arrived March 21. Because of the birds’ loud calls, they are about the easiest arrival to notice!

According to my notes, the cowbird, phoebe and woodcock should make their presence known soon (although the woodcock doesn’t migrate, he just lays low over the winter). It’s comforting to hear his “peent peent” from the field when the sun is just beginning to rise or set.

If you are interested in birds, one of the best resources online is from Cornell – the Lab of Ornithology. They have an online bird guide that includes sound clips from their huge library. My favorite bird book is Sibley’s Guide, but be aware that it is more of a reference book than a field guide – not something to tote around in your pocket.

You don’t have to live on a farm to watch birds! There are birds to watch in every city, town and field. They’re coming – so watch for them!

Posted in weather.

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