by Steve White
Weirs Times Contributing Writer
After reading this article, venture outside and listen for just a moment. Do you hear spring? Wait for it………do you hear it now?
All around your home, nature is anxiously awaiting the new life that springtime embodies. Look for that first “cardinal kiss.” Watch as the male, with a magnificent air of regal ceremony, gently offer his mate a sweet morsel of a freshly hulled sunflower kernel. A tilt of her head allows her royal majesty to accept his gift.
The tapping on trees, telephone poles and even human abodes are signals used by territorial male woodpeckers to search for a mate before the upcoming nesting season. These sounds can be heard from miles around, greatly increasing responses from other dominant males or receptive females. Woodpeckers are one of the first wild bird species to start nesting, usually at the end of February or beginning of March.
Mourning doves are earning their name as they commence their “mournful” cooing to each other. Male and female mourning doves look the same, but with the advent of spring, it is very easy to distinguish the sexes. The bird doing the chasing is the male, pure and simple. The other dove acting shy or “hard to get” is the female. She picks only the best mate available to ensure that her offspring possess the strongest traits she can find.
Bluebirds arrive toward the beginning of March around the New England region in search of last year’s successful nesting area. Nest boxes for these migrants should be thoroughly cleaned out and already on their free standing poles. Be sure to face the hole east or south, any direction but north. Yes, birds know directions. After all, birds fly south for the winter, not north.
Backyard birders can offer nesting birds assistance in many ways. Save all hair from haircuts and pet grooming. Place handfuls of this soft material in an old suet basket or fine mesh bag. Hang this offering in the shelter of the nearest tree. Birds love to line their finished nest with human or pet hair to soften the rough twigs or stiff grasses used to form the basis of each nest.
Cut pieces of string or yarn about 6 inches long and use with the clumps of hair. Never use dryer lint as some sources recommend. Dryer lint may absorb the wetness of spring air or rainfall and soak wild bird nestlings.
Not matter what the calendar tells you, a true backyard birder will employ the wild birds to notify them about the upcoming seasons.
Enjoy your birds!
Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.