Week of May 15, 2022 – May 21, 2022

staff member Anna Stunkel Environmental Educator

by Anna Stunkel, Environmental Educator

Over the past week, it has felt almost like winter has sprung forward right into summer! This has accelerated the arrival of many spring birds, and it’s been a joy to observe new arrivals every day here at Baltimore Woods. Along the brushy banks of the pond, Yellow Warblers, Hooded Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and Blue-winged Warblers have been among the new species singing. Their melodic songs match the vibrant colors of their feathers as they flutter through the treetops in search of insects.

Venturing into the cool forest, the flute-like songs of Wood Thrushes and Veeries drift through the trees. Their spotted undersides camouflage well with the dappled shadows and newly emerging leaves of the woods. These birds are more secretive than many of the warblers, and their songs provide an ethereal soundtrack among spring wildflowers and mossy trees.

In other local areas such as Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area, birds have also been very active. In these marshlands, Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows fill the skies and zip low over the water as they catch insects in midair. Rusty Blackbirds have been singing, which sounds a bit like the squeak of a rusty gate hinge swinging open.

The sudden arrival of so many birds always awakens a feeling of joy and wonder for me at this time of year. Many of them are Neotropical migrants, meaning they’ve traveled from Central and South American wintering grounds to return north and nest. Spring is a bustling, busy time for many of us as we plan for new outdoor activities and adventures. I hope you enjoy some moments to pause, look, and listen for these beautiful birds as they arrive.