A few weeks ago I reported on the sights and sounds of spring at the farm. As Bachman-Turner Overdrive sang, “B-b-b-baby you ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet.” During the past few days, we’ve been overwhelmed by the next phase of this wondrous season of the year. Plants in the garden continue to sprout, the trilliums provide a carpet in the woods, and leaves on the trees are unfolding in so many shades of green they must have come from a painter’s magic palette.
Among the more interesting new avian arrivals is a pair of eastern bluebirds that have taken up residence in one of the birdhouses we put up just for that purpose. (Note to others who might be on the way; there are still three available, each with a pond view.) The male has a vivid, almost iridescent blue back and a brick-red front. The female has similar coloration, just a little more muted.
She does all the work, gathering grasses to build their nest. He presides proudly from a perch on the birdhouse next door. Once he drove off a female red-winged blackbird who seemed bent on trouble. Now settled in, the female bluebird spends much of her time peering out of the tiny hole as if to see what’s happening in the world around. On the pond, a mallard remains, and a kingfisher flashes his crested self back and forth.
On May 14, a day earlier than usual, two ruby-throated hummingbirds appear at their feeder, hung out just the day before because they always return right around the same time. This would seem to be the same pair as last year. He is still angry with her, driving his mate away when she wants to put her long proboscis into the sweetened water and draw out a drink. Apparently she continues to allow his shenanigans. A Baltimore oriole takes a few sips, his black head and brilliant orange body a giveaway to his identity. The bird book says he likes to taste sweets, too.
Other sightings include rose-breasted grosbeak, red-bellied woodpecker, brown thrasher, and northern mockingbird. The latter’s song is unique, three trills, followed by three different trills, then a third set, all repeated over and over. In the woods are warblers, so high in the trees as to be unidentifiable. Lengthy gazes yield one of birding’s few diseases: warbler neck. It’s small price to pay for so many welcome visitors. And no masks required.