The Rhythm of Spring - Migrating Birds Begin to Arrive
It is comforting in these very hard and challenging times to see the cycles of nature beginning again, as they do each spring.
We awake each morning to bird songs, and in our back yards, we see American robins searching for worms in the soggy ground and male goldfinches turning bright yellow.
Above us we may see red-tailed hawks doing an aerial courtship ballet.
Late March and April is the period when we see many migrants returning from the warmer southern climes.
“We have not heard any migrants singing in our back yard except for a few Red-winged blackbirds, grackles, and woodcocks, but they are coming,” said Jim Berry, a highly-respected birder from Ipswich who has been leading Christmas bird counts and doing breeding bird surveys for decades in Essex County.
“So far, our yard has been pretty barren except for the wintering birds – Juncos, white-throated sparrows, song sparrows, cardinals, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, mourning doves, and woodpeckers,” Berry said.
Migrating birds don’t keep a precise schedule. Their arrival dates often revolve around weather conditions and the availability of food, but late March and mid-April are prime time.
Eastern Bluebirds can now be seen “house hunting” for boxes in which to make their nests. If you hang hummingbird feeders, April is when Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrive in Massachusetts. And you may soon see Rose-breasted grosbeaks on your feeders.
“In another couple weeks we should hear and see chipping sparrows, flickers, sapsuckers, field sparrows, blue-headed vireos, and on and on,” said Berry. “Warblers don't start showing up until the last week of April.”
With most now spending more time in their homes, it’s an opportunity to observe the rhythms of spring right outside your window. To see when migrating birds are usually spotted in Essex County, a chart can be found on eBird.
Greenbelt is grateful to several professional and staff photographers whose work is featured prominently within our website.
Thank you Jerry Monkman / ecophotography.com, Lynne Holton, Kindra Clineff, Adrian Scholes and John Raleigh.