Blue Grosbeak – First of the Season

From the top of an oak by the side of the road, across from the old field, I heard several emphatic, metallic chink calls. Just as I got close enough to see it, the Blue Grosbeak flew, but perched again only a short way down the road in the top of a chinaberry tree, in full view. In the gray light, it didn’t look very blue, just dark, but I could see the rusty orange wing-bars and the big silver, conical bill, and it continued to call chink!

Unfortunately, though, at the same time I heard no White-eyed Vireo singing in the nearby field. Although they usually are among the earliest migrant birds to return in the spring, this year I’ve only heard one singing in the field and one in an area of thickets near our yard, and each of these I only heard one day, and not again. I’m always amazed that any birds at all find the old field along the highway an attractive place to nest – although it’s lush with weeds, shrubs, vines and a good many large trees now in some places, the noise of tractor trailers and other traffic gets louder every year. So I’m not too surprised if birds choose to go somewhere else. Each year, it seems, fewer species return. And I really don’t know whether to hope a White-eyed Vireo will show up yet – or not.

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