Spring migration

Cerulean Warbler

Cerulean Warbler

Spring migration is in full swing which means there will be a lot of interesting birds to see if you spend a little time looking around your yard, or at any of our wonderful parks and green ways. Get your binoculars out and your ears ready because the neo-tropical migrants are passing through or arriving in middle Tennessee everyday on the way to their summer breeding areas.  Warblers, Vireos, Tanagers, Swallows, Hummingbirds, and many other species are there for the viewing if you try.  Early in the morning, between 6 am and 10 am are best to see some of the mentioned birds because many of them migrate at night then settle down in the mornings to feed and rest.

The first Ruby-throated hummingbirds to arrive or pass through TN are just about a week away. Usually one, maybe two hummingbird feeders at this time of year is enough.  Don’t bother filling your feeder to full capacity at this time as the feeders are of little interest to them this early.  

At your feeders expect to see the always popular Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings.  Of course American Goldfinches are here in abundance year round but are now beginning to put on their bright yellow spring plumage.

For daily sightings reports of migrating birds you may want to subscribe to TN bird list, or visit Tennessee Birding on Facebook.

Richard Connors spring birdsong workshop is open for enrollment.

This class is designed for those who have had a beginning class, or already have some basic knowledge of our birds, although beginners will be welcome. Emphasis will be on bird identification by song, "birding by ear", as well as by sight. Participants will be trained for finding and identifying birds by song, especially those colorful songsters the wood warblers, some of whom are seasonal migrants and only stay for a brief visit. Radnor Lake is the perfect place to find and study songbirds, and we will take advantage of this with instructor-led bird walks specifically for this class.

Class dates: TUESDAYS April 10, 17, 24, & May 1, 8, & 15  

First meeting:  TUESDAY April 10, from 10AM – 12:00 noon, in the visitor center meeting room Radnor Lake State Natural Area, 1160 Otter Creek Rd., Nashville. Subsequent Tuesdays will begin with early bird walk.

Bird walks before class starting Tuesday April 17, begins at 7:30 AM. With classroom study from 10 AM to 12 Noon. The morning walks will continue thru May 15, with the last class room session May 8th.

There is a $75 fee for this 6-week class, with a portion of the fee going to Friends of Radnor Lake S.N.A.  Class size limited to 20 participants.

CONTACT RICHARD TO REGISTER for the class, not the park.  email Rconnorsphoto@aol.com, Home/office 615 832-0521, or mobile 615 330-7142 (call or text)

See this page for more information: http://www.pbase.com/rconnorsnaturephoto/bird_class_2018

Bird Bio: Orange Crowned Warbler

In the recent wintery weather did you see anything “different” at your feeders?  Just yesterday, Jan. 17, I noticed something different at a tube feeder with a variety of Wood Thrush Shop blends.  What caught my eye was a bird smaller than a Goldfinch that moved differently than the other birds.  It was quicker as it moved among the branches to the feeder, and it was by itself.  I then keyed in on the color which was more greenish-yellow than Goldfinches.  Looking through my binoculars that I keep by the window where I watch birds it became clear I had an Orange-crowned Warbler.  And it was the first recorded in my yard.  I got a little video to share with you although the quality isn’t great. 

The Orange-crowned warbler measures about 4 ½” in length and has no wing bars or distinctive marks.  It’s olive-green to gray above, and yellow-green below.  Looking through binoculars you may notice faint streaks on the breast.  The orange on the crown is barely visible and seldom seen.  They are primarily insect eaters but in this kind of weather they can adapt to small bits of seed and fruit. 

Other birds of note during the snowy weather are the Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Fox sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Eastern Bluebird (eating suet and mealworms), and Red-winged blackbirds.

Always be extra vigilante during winter weather for the more unusual birds.  They notice the additional bird traffic at feeders and follow in to investigate.