Spring migratory birds in the Garden

I suspect that anyone reading this journal entry will already be aware of the pleasure we take in enticing birds to visit our garden. This week has proved to be the (slightly delayed) peak week for northwards migration soy can feast your eyes on some of the photographs we have managed to collect since last weekend when the floodgates opened.

There’s nothing particularly special about our garden. The birds are not deliberately confining their flight paths to pass this way and our neighbours could – if the tried – see them as well as we do. However, we do aid matters a bit by the trees and shrubs we grow, the shady corners we have created and especially the small pond and its attendant waterfall. At the top of the waterfall is a small, shallow pool in which a very high proportion of the visiting birds choose to splash and wallow. If you want birds you need shelter, a bit of scruffiness and some moving water – the latter being the key item, as you may deduce from its presence in all the pictures we chose to post below.

Since last weekend we have totted up 30 species of birds of which 11 have been warblers. Quite possibly there have been more but we have to break off watching now and again for things like cooking and eating dinner. Early in the week the White-throated Sparrows were kind by a couple or three White-crowned Sparrows – they are the guys in “cycle helmets” with grey chests – and not long after a female Baltimore Oriole was attracted to a halved orange we put out with her in mind. The warblers started to arrive a couple of days later in some numbers, often around afternoon tea time so we could enjoy them in comfort.

The 30 species that we reported to eBird in the past seven days were as follows (Warblers in bold):

Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Archilochus colubris
Downy Woodpecker – Dryobates pubescens
Eastern Wood-Pewee – Contopus virens
Least Flycatcher – Empidonax minimus
Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
Black-capped Chickadee – Poecile atricapillus
Red-breasted Nuthatch – Sitta canadensis
White-breasted Nuthatch – Sitta carolinensis
Hermit Thrush – Catharus guttatus
American Robin – Turdus migratorius
European Starling – Sturnus vulgaris
American Goldfinch – Spinus tristis
Chipping Sparrow – Spizella passerina
White-crowned Sparrow – Zonotrichia leucophrys
White-throated Sparrow – Zonotrichia albicollis
Song Sparrow – Melospiza melodia
Baltimore Oriole – Icterus galbula
Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula
Nashville Warbler – Oreothlypis ruficapilla
American Redstart – Setophaga ruticilla
Cape May Warbler – Setophaga tigrina
Magnolia Warbler – Setophaga magnolia
Bay-breasted Warbler – Setophaga castanea
Blackburnian Warbler – Setophaga fusca
Black-throated Blue Warbler – Setophaga caerulescens
Palm Warbler – Setophaga palmarum
Black-throated Green Warbler – Setophaga virens
Canada Warbler – Cardellina canadensis
Wilson’s Warbler – Cardellina pusilla
Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis

For nerds who like numbers, we have had 51 garden species since the start of the year and 116 since we came to live here. For everyone else the list above is in taxonomic sequence and not chronological or alphabetic – we mention that because someone always asks. Not random order, anyway 😉

Enough of this – you are really here for the pictures:

Blackburnian Warbler

Three Bay-breasted Warblers

Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler and White-throated Sparrow

Two Bay-breasted Warblers and a Cape May Warbler

Two Bay-breasted Warblers and a Cape May Warbler

Two White-crowned Sparrows

Canada Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler