Spring is definitely here. It has been for a few weeks now in Western, Washington. Typically I know by the return of the swallows, but they haven’t shown up yet this year. But Spring has Sprung!
The front walkway is bathed in the scent of Hyacinth with it’s pink and purple flowers. Buds are opening on all the trees with many in full bloom. If that alone doesn’t convince you, we’ve have temperatures in the mid-sixties for over a week! The weather has been extremely mild this winter and I fear we are in for a hot and smoky summer. But for now it is Spring with all the refresh that it provides the soul.
The calendar says it’s technically winter for another couple weeks. But Mother nature don’t need no stinkin’ calendar! If I don’t know by the flowers and the trees, then it must be ….yep you guessed it, the birds and the bees! Bees are busy buzzing around and looking for the nectar to make the honey and the birds have gone all aflutter with gathering sticks and fluff for their nests.
I hang a wad of cotton out each year and watch as they come and snag little bits and take them back to wherever they are building or fixing up their nests. So far the Anna’s Hummingbirds have been the most active with taking the cotton. That effort will soon shift over to the gold and house finches, then the chickadees and red winged blackbirds.
Today my feeders are a popular spot for the birds to chit chat about the weather. As dawn breaks the Anna’s come off of their torpor and swing by the feeders to drink deeply of the sweet nectar. The males swooping down in a steep dive, breaking away with a honk of their tail feathers inches above the feeder to woo a mate. This behavior continues all day, with males fighting incredible aerial battles.
Next up are the Juncos and Sparrows early birds for sure but they aren’t looking for worms, they are after seeds and nuts. Robins sing their songs as the sun continues to rise. Next is the squeaky call of the Northern Flicker, he flies down and hangs by his feet off of the feeder and pecks at the suet greedily. He flies off and it’s time for the hoard of Pine Siskins, goldfinches and a pair of house finches, the siskins swarm the feeders and I keep an eye out for the Sharp-Shinned Hawks that follow them around.
The Siskins share well with the black-capped and chestnut backed chickadees who doth protest loudly their disdain, the white breasted nuthatches that squawk obtusely as they come and grab nuts upside down and fly away in a flash. Then appear the Starlings by the dozen, these loud and spectacularly colored birds do not share well with others but they don’t stay long, they make a mess of the place and then take off as one for their next appointment. The Towhees can now have a turn at the nuts and berries of the bird feeders.
All day long it’s a rotation of species in and out of the yard, the siskins hang out in the trees nearby with a constant twittering from dawn ‘til dusk. Most of these birds have been around all winter, but you can sense the buildup of activity now that the days are longer and warmer. They have more energy and chase each other around like newlyweds on honeymoon.
Before too long we will see whole families of each species sharing and teaching the ropes of proper feeder etiquette to the next generation.
Welcome Spring! It’s great to see and smell you again!
A Puffed up Pine Siskin Bows down before the Chickadee Guardian of the food.
And is a bit embarassed when he notices I’m watching…
Pine Siskin enjoying the sunshine
Siskins in the trees waiting for their turn at the feeder…
Siskins and Juncos at the buffet…
Hyacinth in Winter?
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