Brown Bird Migration

A quick public service announcement to those in Minnesota:  you might want to put your hummingbird feeders out.  This hummer migration map shows their arrival is eminent (to Mom in Indiana, your feeder should already be out).

We ended up spending another night at Mr. Neil's and leaving for home this morning.  I did not want to leave, migration is hot and heavy--I barely paid attention to the bees yesterday.  As I was packing my birding gear back in the car, I heard a newly arrived brown thrasher.  I was about to unload it for a quick video when rain began to pour as if someone turned on a faucet.  We had to leave to get Non Birding Bill into town to get to work on time and I momentarily wondered if he wished the rain into existence to keep me on schedule.

Chipping sparrows were the most vocal arrival.  There loud extended trill was all over the yard--such a clear sign of spring.  I have to say that I am totally digging eBird's BirdsEye app for the iPhone and iTouch for migration.  I did a quick check to see what birds had already been reported in and around the area with it before we headed out to Mr. Neil's and had an idea of what to expect around our bee yard.  I also could see what had not been reported yet and give myself a little goal of trying to find it.

Every bird needed to be checked when I was out yesterday.  What at first appeared to be a flock of chipping sparrows would have unexpected jems like this little field sparrow.  I was hoping to hear it sing, but it was focused on foraging and loading up for a flight further northward.  As I worked the sparrows, I heard a familiar call.  I scanned the nearby field and found:

It was the soft song of the Savannah sparrow, there were at least three of them in the field.  I tried to convince myself that I had never heard them this early but after a check of the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union migration arrival dates, this bird is right on time.  Perhaps I don't recall April including 74 degree days.

Someone emailed recently asking where the hermit thrushes are.  I check the BirdsEye app and that was one of the birds that's been reported so I kept an eye out for them.  Sure enough, down by the creek was a small flock quietly foraging on the ground.  That's a bird I wish I could have heard, they have a gorgeous song but I guess I will have to wait a few weeks more.  Ah well, at least I have them as one of my ring tones on my Blackberry Manilow.

I didn't want to come back to the Cities this morning but I have lots of work to get through and I'll have more chances to see birds this weekend.  If you like, you can join me Saturday at Coon Rapids Dam at 9am for a digiscoping workshop and bird walk and there will be great birds along the Mississippi River to see.

Also, this Sunday is the Birds and Beers Woodcock Edition gathering.  Hope you can make it for some birding and birder camaraderie.  We're gonna lek out with a our woodcocks out!