Monday, May 09, 2005

Return of the ovenbird

It is not hard to tell when the ovenbirds have returned to our woods. Their loud, shrill "tea-CHER tea-CHER tea-CHER" call is distincitive and is part of the repertoire of sounds that I have come to associate with this place, this season. I heard it yesterday morning for the first time this year as I slowly, reluctantly emerged from a short nights' sleep. (It's been a long time since I stayed up partying until 2 AM!)

My first positive identification of an ovenbird here, before I knew their call, was from a dead one that had crashed into a porch window. Since ovenbirds tend to stay near the forest floor and away from open areas, they are far more often heard than seen. I have not yet found an ovenbird nest, the quaint on-ground covered structure that gives the bird its name. The opportunity abounds here, I just have to go looking for one some day. I really should do a survey of nesting birds in our woods this summer.

In addition to ovenbirds, warblers are here. In a morning walk in the woods with Joey I located one black and white warbler (as opposed to a Technicolor warbler!) and heard the call of one other species I could not identify. I am still in a learning stage with warblers; I'm sure for every species I've positively identified, there are five others I have only seen for sure in field guides.

Other new arrivals this weekend were brown thrasher, house wren, and American bittern. I'm sure there were more, but I was too busy cooking and cleaning to notice. More on that later.

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