Spring is underway (Soon we hope) and some of our songbirds have already returned from the south. Two early arrivals that have already been seen in the area are the Redwing Blackbirds and Robins although some robins have stayed here throughout the winter.
The Robin is one of the easier birds to identify, with its grey back and rusty coloured chest. Males have a darker grey or black head and some black in the tail feathers, whereas the females are lighter and more grey. They will make their nests up in trees or shrubs and sometimes in little nooks or crannies of buildings. Young robins will leave the nest in early to mid-summer and have a speckled chest. Adults will reach a length of approximately 8.5” or 22 cm.
The Redwing Blackbird is also easily identified, especially the males. They are black with a striking red patch on the upper shoulder which is underlined with a pale yellowish bar below. When at rest the red patch is hardly visisble and usually only the underlining bar is visible. Both the female and young are a brownish colour with some striping on the chest. They prefer to make their nests among the reeds or cat-tails in swampy areas or in the long grass and weeds in open fields. Adults are about 9.5” or 24 cm.
Some other song birds that have stayed with us all winter are the Cardinal and the Goldfinch. Hopefully I will have more information and photos to share for our next newsletter.
Photos and write-ups by Ted Kelly