Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April Birds

Male American Wigeon

Our earliest migrants return in early March and each week a few more birds make an appearance. With an exceptionally warm spring, I would have thought migration would be ahead of schedule. The past couple of weeks places like Point Pelee and Long Point in south-western Ontario have reported that migration has been slow so far this year. The winds have to be favourable for birds flying north and today we have had strong north winds which would keep birds on the south shores of the Great Lakes.

Female Canada Goose

I have been out and about on trails most days and we walked the shores of Lake Ontario at Burlington on the weekend. Cormorants are nesting in colonies, but on the whole, things were very quiet. Canada Geese are nesting and hiss menacingly at anyone who approaches the nest. We have too many geese year round in our area and they produce healthy, large families every season. Walking the sidewalks and lawns in parks and near waterways must be done very carefully in order to avoid all the slimy goose pickles in the way.

Northern Shoveler, Goldeneye and Bufflehead Ducks
(click to enlarge picture)

Migrant ducks are making their way north and a few stop to rest in our local rivers and ponds. The American Wigeon was swimming with two females at Dufferin Islands Natural Area in Niagara Falls Canada. I saw the ducks in the collage above near our home during this month.

On the home front, the female Black-capped Chickadee has confined herself to the nest as she incubates her eggs. The male visits throughout the day and stops at the entrance just long enough to pass food to her before he flies off in search of more. He calls quietly on a branch above the house before he descends with the meal. I watch them with binoculars from the deck and suppress my urge to peek inside the hole. Perhaps I will have a chance to see the baby birds when they hatch.


  1. I am happy to hear that migration is slow elsewhere too. With the warm days I have been getting anxious for the birds to return.I enjoyed the pictures you posted.

  2. Those first two captures are magnificent Ruth. Nice that you can get outside into the spring migration.

  3. I love how the chickadees will nest in the oldest, or most decorative nest boxes. Hope you get to see the fledglings.

  4. I have been wondering when the birds will start to arrive. I too have been looking and finding little. I'm worried that the warm weather has the trees leaves growing and when they birds finally come it will be more difficult to spot them. I love the chickadee in his "manison". I have spotted 2 trees on my walks that are holding chickadee's nest. I'm hoping too to see the babies.

  5. Beautiful photographs. Our migration is much slower than usual due to the strange weather. I'm still waiting for some of my favorites to pass by.

    Happy Anniversary!

  6. Wonderful time of the year to be out and enjoy the beauty around us.

  7. I am guessing (because otherwise I have no idea) that migrations are triggered by light as much as the weather. That being said, it is puzzling that the migrations are a little behind schedule this year. Maybe the birds knew that the snow and cold of the past few days were coming.

  8. Happy spring Ruth!
    Hope you enjoy those baby chickadees. Is there a mealworm purchase in your future??


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