For the Birds: That springtime feeling; (and Bird Quiz IV answer)

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Carolina wren sings on a branch this spring in New England.

I’ll start another series of photos tomorrow, but I figured I’d bridge the gap with the latest For the Birds column. The answer to yesterday’s Birding Quiz is at the bottom of this post.

Spring is in the air and it couldn’t have come at a better time with global anxiety sky high and most of us living in relative isolation.

The other day, while on a video conference call while working from home, I had to unplug my laptop and go to a different room because a Carolina wren was making such a racket outside the window. “Tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle!” It was a pleasant disruption, for sure.

Later, it was a northern cardinal distracting my work with one of his beautiful, clear spring songs. I’ve been hearing that more and more. Thankfully.

The other day while walking in the woods I heard the much more subtle song of the eastern phoebe, one of the first songbirds to return to New England each spring. Phoebes are named after their song, just like the chickadee, whip-poor-will, bobwhite, pewee and many others. Last year, a phoebe pair built a nest under my raised deck. I hope they come back this spring.

Late March is also a good time to look for American woodcock. This strangely awesome bird does a dazzling aerial dance at dusk, coupled with an odd “peent” call. Woodcock are back in New England already. I received an email from Tricia from Alstead who heard the peent call while taking a walk with a neighbor. The neighbor later found the woodcock, or timberdoodle, in her yard hunting for worms. Woodcock are Continue reading