Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bird Songs

It has been a long cold winter in West Michigan, again. But, despite the cold, spring can be heard in the air.

Yesterday, while sitting at breakfast with my husband, I heard a Red-winged Blackbird. I was lucky, too, since the temperatures were in the 50's and I could and did open my window and listened to them sing ALL day. A little later, I saw 6 blackbirds in our willow tree. These birds are the early scouts establishing nesting territories with song, posturing, and other aggressive behavior. Their songs, though, give me great joy and I never tire of listening to them.

Photo taken at Saul Lake Bog, MI on 4/23/2003
Then, this morning as I ran in the rain to get the mail, I heard just one short melodic call. I hurried inside to tell my husband that the American Robin was back (or should I say home). Shortly, afterwards I saw 6 robins on the lawn. All summer long, I have robins singing in the early evening. I have learned to identify individuals by their song. Once, I had a young robin, practicing its songs and he could not reach the high notes. (definitely an alto)

Photo taken at New York City Central Park, NY on 5/5/2000
Reflecting back on the other bird comments made in this house, I realize that we hear the birds first, and then we know to watch for them. I heard my first Sandhill Cranes in mid February but only saw them this week.

Photo taken at Saul Lake Bog, MI on 6/4/1998
Even though many birds winter here, their songs are different and happier in the spring. Last evening in the dark, the Canada Geese were flying overhead, calling to each other, and looking for a place on open water on the lake. (a most welcome summer sound.) Since early February, despite the near zero temperatures, the Northern Cardinals, Tufted Titmice, and Black-capped Chickadees have been singing their love songs to each other.

Photo taken at Murray Lake, MI on 7/14/2002
Photo taken at Murray Lake, MI on 12/13/2003
Photo taken at Bay City State Recreation Area/Tobico Marsh, MI on 10/11/2003
Despite the weather, bird song is in the air and spring is around the corner.

Hope you hear them, too.
All images © MSCI