April Fool's day was a typical early April day, 50 degrees and light rain. I didn't expect to see any new birds today because wet weather usually slows the migration of the wild songbirds. Just after sunup, however, a small flock of bright yellow goldfinches landed on the bird feeder. A pesky little chipmunk was giving them a rough time so they all flew over to the window feeder. Their pretty yellow plumage did a lot to brighten up an otherwise dreary day.
The light rain didn't dampen the spirits of the turkey vultures, and they glided over the house several times during the day. Speaking of turkeys, I could hear at least three old Toms gobbling in the upper pasture. Their spirits surely aren't dampened by the rain as their courtship strutting begins. A turkey gobble is one of my favorite early morning sounds.
Sitting in his favorite perch on a branch that hangs over the creek, the Phoebe cheerfully sang in the rain. Then came a single, familiar call of a new bird. A male Rufus-sided towhee was hiding in the brush pile, and his single note song rang out like three harmonious notes blended together. I made a squeaky noise like a mouse with my lips, and he popped up to see where the sound came from. He gave himself away and I got a good look at the first Towhee of spring.
There's been a pair of Pileated woodpeckers in the valley this past week. It was fun to hear them call back and forth to each other. Their loud, high-pitched chatter can't be mistaken for any other bird. It's a treat to see these huge woodpeckers fly out in the open as they move from one side of the valley to the other. Like most in the woodpecker family, the Piliateds are loners. It's not often you see one with another of its own kind.
The local Barred owls have been very vocal the past week or so, which tells me they are still courting. Their singing was especially good last night, not just because they were right up behind the house, but because there were four of them all calling together. It sounds like there may be 2 pairs overlapping each other's territories. Anyway, it was nice to hear a Barred owl quartet.
The garden is a favorite place for a couple of male Robins to hang out. There are insects and worms to be found there, and besides, they can keep an eye on each other. Every 5 or 10 minutes they square off to do battle against each other, with wings fluttering and feet kicking. When another male Robin shows up at the far end of the garden, they both take off, chattering after the intruder. I guess in the garden, three's a crowd.
The cool, wet weather is normal for early April, which is nice to be able to say. Thing is, it's going to get cold over the next few days. That's normal too, but it's never easy to welcome the spring frosts. Things being normal as they are, the cold spell won't last long, and spring will push on, I hope!
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