Migration- Southern Minnesota, Midwest Flyway
Spring migration is always exciting in Minnesota.
Not only does one look forward to having the birds return, but one is very
happy to know that winter has left. My "snow sign" is the Dark-eyed
Juncos. When they arrive, snow is not far behind; when the last one is gone,
warm days are certain.
Note: I am going
to begin including more on the weather because it is changing and seems
to be affecting both the regular and migrant bird visitors.
There seems to be fewer of the House and Gold Finches at the feeders. I
have been spotting hawks occasional and hear reports of more predator birds
being spotted within the town. Used to see them only in the farming country
With a winter of little snow, a warm spell in March brought enough of a
spring-like spell that allowed me to plant the cool weather crops in my
vegetable patch a month early. However, no robins returned with it. Instead
of my usual early bird robin yelling at me from the window sill asking for
raisin, on Easter Sunday, March 27th, an entire flock arrived amid a slush
and rain storm. It is the first time I have seen them arrive in a flock.
On the 28th I heard the first Eastern Phoebe calling but did not see it.
The rest of this week brought the Kiinglets which arrive here before the
big, nearby evergreen that was a bird favorite, blew down this winter. I'm
sure it will somewhat change the scene in my garden. However, other neighboring
young evergreens have reached "nesting" size. Should be an interesting
year for nest watching.
Weather returned back to winter cold but with only minor snow flurries.
1st Week: Many Juncos left during the first week with a few stragglers remaining.
White throated Sparrows are coming.
2nd Week: Warblers returned. I can hear them but have only seen the Yellow
Throat and the Black Throated Blue.
3rd Week: Last of the Juncos left. Starlings are building
a nest in a eave fascia opening. There seems to be fewer of them every year.
Neighbors have spotted a Bald Eagle at a local lake. There were elusive
sitings last summer but am hearing more frequent reports this spring. Some
thought they had seen a nest in the adjacent wooded park.
4th Week: No new sitings. Hear the White Throated Sparrows. It is still
very cold, into 20s overnight
1st Week. The wren returned Friday. The Brown Thresher was digging through
garden mulch Saturday morning. It finally warmed this week and more garden
planting is happening, still early for Minnesota.
A Merlin Falcon has been stalking my back yard,
which is a bit farther North than his normal range. I first spotted him
about 8 feet from my window sitting under the bird feeder tree. Several
times later, I have seen him scope my bird feeders from nearby trees and
occasionally from my back yard gate arbor.
--3rd week: Although we still have snow and cold, is seems the junco are
already leaving. This usually doesn't happen until all the snow has melted.
We are having above normal warm weather, 20's to occasional 30's for highs,
and the snow is beginning to melt. Weathermen say this week will end in
rain. I have seen no Junco's this week and assume they have gone North.
Usually my raisin eating Robin arrives before the Junco's go, but I have
yet to see him. Last year he announced his arrival by landing outside my
kitchen window during an ice storm. I hear the Cardinal's mating call and
suspect the female is already nesting. Some of the house finches and sparrows
have begun carrying dried materials and one pair is building on top
of a birdhouse.
2003-2004 has been the saga of feral cats in my yard. That is a story for
another time. With help from the Human Society, live trap use and a too
kind heart, the situation in the garden is much improved. Two now watch
the birds looking out through the window. Obviously, watching for birds
migrations was greatly hampered.
There are fewer Juncos this week, but the weather is still
freezing and there is snow on the ground.
March 17th: I heard the first Phoebe singing loud and clear this morning.
He arrived with our spring thaw which began the 14th, and not a moment too
soon for someone suffering with severe cabin fever.
3rd and 4th weeks: Saw the Phoebe catching insects in the garden. Robins
are back and the familiar ones are waiting at the window sill for their
raisins. Yellow throats are flitting about the shrubbery and trees. Juncos
are definitely gone.
2nd week: Had much rainy and cloudy weather.
Difficult to see when birds arrived, however, on the first clear day it
appears all the warblers and finches have returned. There are few white
throated sparrows, but many less than in years past. Also seems to be fewer
3rd week: Have not seen the oven bird this spring but did spot a Wilson's
warbler for the first time in my garden. He hung around for several days,
but have not seen him since. Spotted an oriole in the trees and put out
the nectar feeder. This is very early for him.
has been much too gloomy this month to take any photos.
1st week: It appears all migrating birds are where they plan to be for the
summer. With a very chilly, wet and gloomy spring plus a surplus of feral
cats in the neighborhood, observing this migration has not been very successful.
I focused more on handling the cat problem. Several went to the Human Society
and two became residents in my house. They seem to be adjusting to becoming
"inside" kitties, however, I moved one feeder away from the window.
Perhaps later the birds will learn that the cats cannot get through the
glass. The cat saga is another story that may one day show up in the Gardener's