For the Birds: Migrants are arriving

Monday, April 29, 2019

Great Blue Herons on nests at Kenmore Park and Ride
Photo by Elaine Chuang


By Christine Southwick


Great Blue Herons are nesting at their heronry located at the Kenmore Park and Ride on Bothell Way and 73 Ave. This heronry has at least 37 active nests!

The heronry has at least 37 active nests
Photo by Elaine Chuang
The Ospreys have returned from Mexico or lower California, and the ones taking up housekeeping in Shoreline are located on at Hamlin Park near Shorecrest High School, and on the North City water tower.

I am certainly enjoying hearing these pairs calling.

Red-winged Blackbirds are back at Cromwell Park and at Echo Lake. 

Even though there are Red-winged Blackbirds in other locations in western Washington, the vegetation in our area dies back, so “our” Red-winged Blackbirds don’t show up until the cattails and reeds start leafing out.

The Wilson Warblers are arriving from lower California. I have heard at least two of them, one near my house.

Juvenile Hairy Woodpecker on
woodpecker type suet feeder
Photo by Christine Southwick
(through a window)

I haven’t seen any flycatchers here in Shoreline, but they are showing up in areas with tall leafy trees, especially near rivers and wetlands like in Duvall.

Merlins, using tall top-exposed trees found in Shoreline, will be building/ renewing their nests soon. These Merlins could be returning from South America, with the males returning first, and their partners joining them here later.

Some bird newbies are showing up at feeders:

I saw a juvenile Anna’s Hummingbird learning to use the feeder— it would take a drink, then lean back and flap its wings to keep its balance -- juvenile hummingbirds fledge (fly from their nests) before their bills have grown to full length.

I also had a juvenile male Hairy Woodpecker using the suet feeder designed for woodpeckers.
  
How did I know that it had recently fledged? Because there is still red on the top of his head (woodpeckers in the nest all have red coloring on the tops of their heads (believed to help the parents locate their young in the many-holed nesting tree). This coloring fades within a month of leaving their nest.

Bewick's Wren feeding nestlings
Photo by Greg Pluth
Bewick’s Wrens and chickadees (both black-capped and chestnut-backed) are feeding their first brood of nestlings right now.

Song Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, and Dark-eyed Juncos all nest on the ground from now through August (may have more than one brood), so please keep your dogs leashed, and watch for nests where you weed-whack.

Yellow Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers and other warblers are wending their way northward, and if you haven’t seen them yet, keep your eyes skyward (actually treeward). 

They will come!



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