BIRD WATCH: Spring birds liven up yard activity

FEB. 28 IS the earliest date for returning rufous hummingbirds in my yard.

That was a long time ago.

They usually show up within the first 10 days of March.

The lone male that tangled with the male Anna’s got here just before the month ended.

He was gorgeous and worth waiting for.

This small hummingbird is known for his feisty personality, but I think the Anna’s that ruled the yard all winter are more than holding their own.

Most of the action comes from the males because the females are on eggs.

Their feeder visits are few and far between.

While the returning rufous are livening up the action around their feeders, other signs of an advancing spring are all around us.

Walk out the door and the first sounds greeting you are the singing birds.

House finches and white-crowned sparrows are battling with other finches and sparrows.

Sometimes one will begin its loud song before its rival has finished its repertoire.

In between singing bouts, the house finches are continuing to munch on the flowering trees’ blossoms.

They have been joined by the juncos who gobble the flowers even faster.

This is the time of the year when the singing white-crowns are heard just about everywhere.

This sparrow often claims a nest site in busy commercial areas where the landscaping includes dense evergreen shrubs.

They remind me of the nesting mocking birds serenading pedestrians on the sidewalks in Washington D.C.

The expected battles over bird houses is well underway.

Chestnut-backed and black-capped chickadees are arguing over the two houses they usually argue over.

The red-breasted nuthatch also wants one of them and often wins the battle for one of the houses.

House sparrows have entered into the battle this year.

Now, one house is down for some remodeling, but the nest-building in the other has been underway for several weeks.

In the midst of spring action with its trials and tribulations, another familiar performance has once again started.

A flicker is hammering away at one of the front porch pillars.

This is a signal for the dog to start barking because it sounds like someone is knocking on the door.

I keep checking to make sure a hole isn’t being made on the pillar and so far it’s looking good.

However, this is an interesting flicker and very, very stubborn and bold.

I never thought the day would come when I would use a broom to chase a flicker off my porch.

It’s happened twice — so far.

When tapping on the window didn’t scare the bird away, I went out onto the porch and pounded on the pillar.

Nothing happened.

I pounded again and verbally tried to chase it away.

Nothing moved.

Finally, I walked around to the other side of the yard and looked up at the house.

There was the culprit.

He was on the pillar and wasn’t moving a feather.

I went back onto the porch and leaned around where I could see him and pound on the pillar again.

Wouldn’t budge.

That’s how it happened.

Into the house, grab the broom and reach up to where I could almost touch the bird.

Then, he flew.

Ten minutes later, the “knocking” started again.

It was back for the broom and everything was repeated.

This is going to become one of those spring bird mysteries where you just don’t know how it will end.

It’s never dull, bird-wise, when spring hits full stride.


Joan Carson’s column appears every Sunday. Contact her at P.O. Box 532, Poulsbo, WA 98370, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Email: [email protected]

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