For many of us fascinated with birds, we get great joy to see birds returning that we have not seen since last year. As residents in this outstanding migratory area, springtime is a highlight of our year.
Migration Highlights in Late Winter and Early Spring
By Tom Fishburn
It's getting to be that time of year when we get excited about the changes that late winter and early spring brings. Late winter waterfowl migration peaks in February/March for many sought after species. Hopes of seeing some less common Northern Pintails along with a variety of others gets us outdoors looking. And in April we look for the likes of Common Loons and Horned Grebes in breeding plumage as those later stragglers pass through Ohio.
Although I am a person who enjoys four seasons, the usual long extended winters in northern Ohio makes me yearn for the changes. Temperatures rise and we look for buds to start growing on trees and the wildflowers on forest floors to start blooming. For many of us fascinated with birds, we get great joy to see birds returning that we have not seen since last year. As residents in this outstanding migratory area, springtime is a highlight of our year.
So as the waterfowl migration winds down we begin to look for passerines to return. Years ago many of us would consider the return of the American Robin as a harbinger of spring. But since not all robins leave the area the way they used to, we now look at other species as indicators. The Red-winged Blackbird and American Woodcock may be what many consider when the ‘firsts’ return to shout “Spring is here!”
As for me, I look to the return of swallows. In April we should be seeing the bright iridescent blue backs of Tree Swallows. With their contrasting clear white breasts, those are hard to miss. Colorful Barn Swallows with their forked tails and the dull and dingy looking Rough-winged Swallow soon follow. One may also see Cliff and Bank Swallows.
Early spring arrives and the warblers and many other anticipated species will inevitably follow. We’ll be eager to shed our layers and get outdoors and stretch our legs in the variety of wonderful parks Ohio offers.
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