Birds that winter in the south don’t exactly know that we are having an early spring. They generally leave the same time each year based on internal circadian rhythms and subtle changes in the sunlight. However once they begin their journey, the weather in the United States can play a big role in how quick they reach their nesting grounds.
When we have unexpected cold fronts in the spring, birds can stop temporarily or even reverse direction to wait for better traveling conditions. And with this yummy spring weather we’re experiencing, the birds may speed up their migration spending less time at their normal pit stops to reach their destination.
Lately there has been a lot of excitement in the air with this crazy weather. I have seen waves of Dark-eyed Juncos stopping briefly at my feeders only to leave the next day on their way further north to their nesting grounds. The chickadees have been conducting battles for territory through song and checking out nesting sites. Bluebirds and other birds have started to carry off mouthful of nesting materials. While robins and cardinals, up before the sun, sing lovely ballads for their mates.
Things seem to be moving much faster than normal and people are curious if the migrating orioles and hummingbirds will show up earlier this year. I usually put my nectar feeders up April 15th and expect to see regular birds visiting by May. But I just checked the migration maps, YIKES!!, they've been sighted in Michigan!
It's still early but I think I'm going to wash up my nectar feeders and put them up today. If you want to check the maps or report the sighting of a bird go to www.hummingbirds.net to check the status of hummingbirds and http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/Maps.html for a lot of other spring sightings.