Great Crested Flycatcher and Other Recent Arrivals

The past few days have been picture-perfect, beautiful spring days, with blue skies and scattered white clouds, and a very warm sun – and the arrival of more and more spring and summer birds – Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Chimney Swifts, at least one singing Red-eyed Vireo, and today I heard the first deep, rolling whreeep of a Great Crested Flycatcher.

Meanwhile, a Black-and-white Warbler continues to sing in the woods around our back yard; a Louisiana Waterthrush sings from down along the creek; and now and then a Yellow-throated Vireo passes through the treetops near the house – whenever I hear its song I stop whatever I’m doing, if I can, and just listen, happy to have it here. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds – both male and female – come often to the feeder now.

Early mornings begin with the songs of Northern Cardinal, Eastern Towhee, Carolina Wren, Eastern Phoebe, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Bluebird, Pine Warbler and Chipping Sparrow – and the sweetly whistled songs of White-throated Sparrows, which are all the sweeter because it won’t be long before they leave for their summer homes in the far north.

House Wrens have also returned to the neighborhood over the past week – and I can’t say I’m happy to see them. Their bubbly, cheery songs used to sound pretty to me – but now I’m afraid their arrival is not good news for our Carolina Chickadees and Eastern Bluebirds, both already nesting in four bluebird houses around the yard. Already we’ve seen a House Wren sticking its head out of one bluebird house that did have a bluebird nest, and we checked another house and found a chickadee nest in which several eggs and two tiny nestlings all had been destroyed.

On a brighter note, the nest of a pair of Eastern Phoebes in the high crook of a gutter along one corner of the house seems to be doing just fine. The parents are going back and forth frequently, feeding nestlings.

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