Migrants Trickle In

by Carl Strang

It’s time to play catch up on the migration season. We have been seeing mainly birds that spend the winter in the southern U.S., but the last week of April usually brings the first wave of tropical migrants, so I want to clear the deck of accumulated migrant photos from Mayslake Forest Preserve.

Every spring a few lesser scaup stop by the preserve’s lakes on their way north.

Last week a ruddy duck spent a day on May’s Lake.

This was a new species for the preserve bird list.

Waves of northern flickers have been passing through.

This has been more a migrant than a nesting species at Mayslake.

Brown-headed cowbirds have been around for a few weeks, now.

Some of these males have been setting up group territories and courting females.

Ospreys have stopped by a couple times, but we haven’t yet seen a prolonged stay by one as has happened the past two years.

Nevertheless, a glimpse of this species always is welcome.

 Swallows have been coming through in large numbers.

In addition to tree swallows, many northern rough-legged and barn swallows have been foraging over May’s Lake.

 While the golden-crowned kinglets mainly have shifted north of us, ruby-crowneds still are coming through.

These tiny birds delight with their active movement and their bubbling, forceful songs.

 As of last week, most early migrants have made their first appearances earlier than in 2009 and 2010 despite the cold weather we have been experiencing. While weather can influence them, they are driven mainly by photoperiod and will push north as long as they are finding food.

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