We’re hearing lots of old familiar sounds these days, more signs that the winter season is giving way to Spring. This Song Sparrow is one of the earliest singers and also one of my favourites. He has a beautiful song, with several bright notes followed by a sequence of warbles and trills . Listen to this recording – you may recognize it as one you’ve been hearing recently.
In nearby Sargeant Bay, the red-wing Blackbirds have been singing for a month. It is the males who sing in the birding world, to both announce territory and attract their mate. The blackbird not only has a distinctive song but also flashes its brightly coloured shoulder markings while issuing its territorial call. Red-wing Blackbirds can be found in marshy areas and often perched upon the furry seed heads of long cattails.
The Woodpecker family doesn’t sing but that doesn’t stop the males from drawing attention to themselves as they seek their mating partner. Instead, they drum upon trees and snags in the early Spring to announce their presence.
The most obvious is the drumming of the Northern Flicker with its impressive red slash across its cheeks. This common species inhabits our gardens and has discovered that drumming on chimneys and metal flashing produces a louder sound.
While homeowners ofter worry that these birds are drilling into the wood of their houses, this is not the case, but rather an ageless courting ritual that does no damage. One way to get a closer view of these colourful and interesting birds is to hang a feeder filled with a suet mixture, as we’ve done here. Be sure to have your camera ready.
Special thanks to Tony Greenfield for the inspiration behind this blog and the opportunity to share some of my birding images (click on images for a larger view.) Tony has been birding on the Sunshine Coast for over 30 years and leads birding groups on the first Sunday of each month. Contact us for more details.
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