Thursday, March 12, 2009

March into Spring with Careful Observations

Just a bit of "featherly" advice: Never Assume

As the old adage goes when you "assume" you are making an ass of U and me. Just because you see that "LBB" (Little Brown Bird) on your wooden fence or lurking at the foot of your shrubbery, that "'s just another House Sparrow." You see at this time of the year in my neck of the woods, visitors begin to come knocking. Based upon the hand-written records we keep as a family inside the kitchen cupboard door from year to year, it's quite possible for migratory species to begin to investigate the corners of the yard starting now until early June. Those of you reading this (and I sincerely hope that more than I read it) in warmer climes, are no doubt chuckling the knowing titters of the privileged who always have a plethora of species at the whims of your binoculars. Well, I ask patience and understanding as I try to convey the sheer wonder and excitement of that first White-crowned or White-throated Sparrow of the year. I caution you (especially the "ho-hum" amongst you) to look carefully at that next bi-pedal leaf-scratching LBB in the yard as it just might be a Spotted Towhee instead of a run of the mill American Robin.

Have a trusty pair of mid range 8 X 35 binoculars sitting uncased on the closest windowsill and be ready to check out each movement. For this reason, I continue to fill the feeders until (at least) after the migration period hoping to coax a hungry traveler into range for a quick peek. Too bad I still have to go to work, or who knows how long I'd sit and watch. Keep a list of your own handy so that you can nearly predict which species will appear when. So far this year, the American Robins are 10 days earlier than last in Milwaukee and the Dark-eyed Juncos are still here. So the moral of this story is simple: Keep your eyes open, cause Mother Nature is a crafty one who can surprise even the most bored among us with her unpredictability.

Happy (early) Spring Birding Everyone!
* (Oh, and the LBB pictured above is a rare spring visitor to our yard, a Fox Sparrow)