Just when it seems that spring can’t get any busier, it does. Reading the day’s emails is like reading a good book. You never know what turning the next page will bring. Sometimes problems do arise. What to do when a bird becomes trapped in your chimney can turn into an adventure. A home owner positive her hummingbirds have mysteriously disappeared needs assurance that they haven’t gone far. Other emails include reports of returning summer birds or focus on nesting activity. One of the latter arrived with photos showing the nest of juncos in a wreath on the front door.
It’s always unsettling when a bird becomes trapped in your chimney. Our neighbors experienced this, and I remember what it was like when a robin hopped out of our fireplace into the center of the family room.
This most recent report had the home owners trying to decide if the bird was building a nest or was trapped. Opening the damper was the only way to find out and that’s what they chose to do. The bird, possibly a varied thrush, survived the experience and flew out of their hands to freedom. Birds don’t nest in chimneys in this area, so if you hear one in your chimney, release is the solution.
Every spring, there is concern over the drop in hummingbird numbers. When returning rufous hummingbirds join the resident Anna’s at our feeders, things get pretty busy. What seems like their disappearance is related to a couple of things. The first rufous to appear will be moving on. Some travel as far as Alaska, and many move to the mountains to nest. Later, the birds that will nest in our yard arrive and activity picks up again. The Anna’s hummingbirds nest as early as February and once the females are on the nest, we don’t see them as much. It won’t be long and the young Anna’s will be making the yard busy too. More flowers means more hummer action. If you feel like some of yours are missing, try putting up hanging baskets near the feeders.
Reports of returning summer birds perk up the email more than anything. Since the first of April, the action in my own yard has been good. Discovering what others are seeing during the same time is great fun. Purple martins have been reported at their nesting sites throughout the region. The males return first and review the area, checking to see that their territory is unclaimed. After a lot of chatter, they can disappear for a few days, but it isn’t long and they are back and on site. Activity will become bee-hive-like once the females show up.
Other interesting reports of returning summer species include the osprey, Swainson’s thrush, orange-crowned warblers and violet-green swallows. The summer-like weather temperatures we enjoyed recently create the illusion that summer has arrived and the arrival of summer birds adds to the fun. It’s a happy thought that it’s still early and there is much more to come.
Excitement will only build when colorful warblers like the gray-throated or the MacGillivray’s stop by on their way to the mountains. Western tanagers and black-headed grosbeaks will add their south-of-the-border color to our yards and some of their number may nest with us. Like many of the returning warblers, vireos and flycatchers, most of these will also nest near the coast, in the mountains and in areas that are more rural. This facet of the spring migration gives us an opportunity to see and enjoy wildlife that is “wild.” We also have the option of seeing more of these birds by visiting the many beautiful county, state and national parks we are blessed with.
Yes, spring is getting very busy and the emails make it evident that we should make some summer plans to bird a bit farther from home whenever we can.
Write to Joan Carson at P.O. Box 217, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org