Spring - a glorious time for birds and birders. Here are a few of the smaller-sized birds, at times better heard than seen. Enjoy these photos by Mike Bailey. A large number of Fox Sparrows had a good-sized area cleared out in Bill's Woods as they foraged. Many were singing. A Brown Thrasher was taking a break in Second Point Woods near one of the gullies that had running water from snow melt. Swamp Sparrows were foraging in the muck at the edge of University Bay. Yellow-rumped Warblers were mingling with the Swamp Sparrows. Dark-eyed Juncos were singing.
Avid birder Roma Lenehan reports "Tonight (Saturday) there were at least two (maybe three) Woodcocks displaying in/over the prairie at around 8:30 PM. One sounded like it was toward the lake from the Purple Martin house (it sounded quite close) and another one (distant) sounded like it was near the original prairie toward the north. There may have been a third distant bird near the orchard. At least two flew multiple times (less than 10 but more than 5 times) and "peented" persistently (between flights). The close one was still peenting when I left, but there had been no flight for a while. This was a good night because it was warm and calm. They also like clear nights and a moon.
At about the start of April a huge number of these tiny fluff balls of beauty flooded the area. Dozens of Golden-crowned kinglets ended up in the woods around the Lakeshore Preserve where Mike Bailey photographed them from all possible angles. After a week, the numbers were less, but many are still scattered about in the woods. These photos showcase their stunning coloring.
During migration, kinglets frequently join other songbirds, such as warblers. The last photo in the sequence shows one of the first Yellow-rumped warblers in the area. The tiniest of birds, kinglets winter throughout much of the continent often in dense conifers which provide some protection in cold climates. They tend to breed in the northern forests. They are hard to spot, as they flit about among the branches, often hanging upside down to glean insects.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors