Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Louisiana Waterthrush, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch

For me, the song of a Louisiana Waterthrush is the anthem that officially announces the arrival of Spring each year. Cardinals, Chickadees, Pine Warblers and many other year-round residents have been singing for some time now, and a Black and White Warbler or a Blue-headed Vireo are usually our earliest returning migrants. But when the song of a Louisiana Waterthrush rings out from down in the still-gray woods around the creek, it sounds like a fanfare – loud, clear notes heralding the rush of musical birdsong that’s just about to begin.

This year, I was beginning to worry because its arrival here was later than usual. There’s been a steady, slow spread of development around the area, and over the past eight years we’ve seen a noticeable change in the kinds and numbers of bird species that nest here. So when I heard the song this morning, it really made me smile. Of course, it remains to be seen whether it will stay around or not, but I’m hopeful.

We also heard the spee-spee calls of our first Blue-gray Gnatcatcher this afternoon, in trees around the back yard, and at the same time, the nasal ank-ank of a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the woods nearby. At least one Red-breasted Nuthatch is still coming to our feeders, though not as often as earlier in the season.


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