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Spring migration progress – reactivate blog

April 1, 2020

I get my inspiration every morning from birds – they are the first thing I hear this time of year, when I wake at 5:00 am to a lone Robin or Cardinal song. Sometimes these songs are woven into my dreams, as are the birds. Many times I have caught myself waking up from a ‘birding’ dream in which I just identified a species that was actually singing outside my window. By sunrise, the cacophony of many songbirds is impressive. The Cardinals and Robins are joined by the beautiful two-note “Love You” of the Black-capped Chickadee and the recently returned Song Sparrow’s melodic cantor reminiscent of the opening music from some old TV western of which the name escapes me.
So, this morning I started a new routine. I put on my hiking boots and headed out at 7:00 am for a one hour walk through the nearby subdivision and University campus to a trail on public lands along the Ottawa River. The trail has a great lookout over the river and is a good birding location. There was light but steady rain. No one, not one person but me was out walking. The busy road between my place and the river was essentially deserted with two almost empty buses passing me – the only vehicles observed over the 3 or 4 minutes during which I walked along the sidewalk parallel to the road.
The walk was fruitful and produced many species – 20 in fact including several ducks along the river that were the first of the year for me – Hooded Merganser, American Black Duck, and Northern Pintail amongst the expected Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers and Mallards. There were large V formations of Canada Geese overhead – in groups of 50 to 100. The small islands along the river were a buzz with Ring-billed Gulls – flirting with each other or scuffling over the best square metre of territory for a nest site.
In a subdivision before the river, several Starlings were busying themselves from perches high in the urban tree canopy with their favourite imitations of other bird species. Amongst them was the classic “Killdeer” in perfect tone and pitch. This time they didn’t trick me, but I was still in awe of their prowess. These members of the Myna family that were introduced to North America in the late 19th century in New York’s Central Park are an important part of the urban environment of most cities in the Americas. While they are much maligned by some conservationists because of their sometimes-aggressive behaviour and competitive advantages over some native migratory species, I have learned to enjoy their incredible mimicry this time of year. There are always one or two moments when they must snicker to themselves, softly whispering “got him” as I hopelessly scan the sky for a Killdeer, Meadowlark or Pewee, even though these species are not expected for a few weeks.

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2 Comments
  1. maryhouston2013 permalink

    Thank you!

    From: birdingfromthebalcony Reply-To: birdingfromthebalcony Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 1:00 PM To: Subject: [New post] Spring migration progress – reactivate blog

    tedbirdingfromthebalcony posted: “I get my inspiration every morning from birds – they are the first thing I hear this time of year, when I wake at 5:00 am to a lone Robin or Cardinal song. Sometimes these songs are woven into my dreams, as are the birds. Many times I have caught myself w”

  2. Welcome back!

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