Although I don’t consider myself a “birder” by any stretch of the imagination, one of my favourite things about spring returning to the area is the sound of the birds searching the forest behind our house for food, the right mate and the perfect nesting spot. Throughout the rest of the year we see the usual suspects – the chickadees, nuthatches, finches, and dark-eyed juncos – at our feeders.
But when spring arrives, we start to see the arrival of new and old friends. Sitting on the back deck, having a coffee in the morning, we are treated to the sounds of the kingfishers as they fly up and down the river behind the forest. We hear the woodpeckers, both big and small, working hard on many of the trees around our house. We even see ducks landing in the trees – something I did not know ducks do until I saw it with my own eyes.
While listening to the birds of the forest, some other species start to search our yard for food and nesting material. The robins are particularly busy.
We watch the Flicker family come and go – they are much more shy than our Robin friends, which is why there are no photos. The same with the Orioles, who we only see very rarely and never for long. My personal favourites, the Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, also stop by for a while – a little longer than the Orioles – but also seem to be on their way to somewhere else.
Depending on the year, the Cardinals can be very active. They usually only feed one at a time at our feeders, but this year, I finally managed to get a shot of a pair sharing the food.
And our usual final arrival are the hummingbirds. They are also the hardest to photograph. I think I waited patiently for a couple of hours to get the shot below.
We are still waiting for them to get here this year.
Outside of the usuals, we are sometimes very fortunate to see the odd turkey – sometimes on their own, like the one below, and sometimes entire flocks.
And, on only two occasions, we have been lucky enough to have a very brief visit from an Indigo Bunting.
The only bird that I have not been able to capture is my favourite, the Owl. At night, we can hear them in the forest, so I know they are around. But they are very elusive. The only owl I’ve ever captured was a Snowy Owl that was hanging around my school in Owen Sound.
I was also lucky to photograph this family of Pileated Woodpeckers that had made a nest on my in-laws’ property.
As my more serious birding friend once told me, we live in a birders’ paradise.
All images are property of John Fearnall/Good Noise