“O Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada”
By Noreen O’Brien, Purchasing, Marine Parts Express
Years ago, when I lived in Massachusetts, a birding friend and I would meet early every weekday morning beginning April 1 for some field birding to watch the spring unfold. As the month progressed, nearly every day saw the arrival of a new species. In Maine, it’s a bit different, mostly because the birds arrive here later than they do a couple of hundred miles south in Massachusetts.
However, things are indeed happening here now. Over the past few days, several species—bird and otherwise—have made an appearance, signaling that spring is well on her way to arriving in full bloom.
The first arrival I noticed out amongst the juncos recently was the Song Sparrow—feeding on seeds around the first shoots of daffodils. One summer, I lost my resident Song to a hawk—while I watched. I felt complicit in its murder. Let’s hope for better things for this tie-tack sporting fellow.
Today, though, I noticed the White-Throated Sparrows have returned. Their tune is what grabbed my attention. Heard as “O sweet Canada, Canada, Canada” by our neighbors to the north, to the rest of us, it’s usually rendered as, “Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody.” I so love the White-Throated’s plaintive whistled tune—and they will sing well into the darkness of late evening. I haven’t seen them since early winter.
Another newly arrived species this morning is the Chipping Sparrow. At first glance, I thought it was a late American Tree Sparrow, passing through from lower New England. But I’ve been anticipating the Chippie’s arrival, so I looked closer and sure enough, it was indeed a newly arrived Chippie rummaging through old seed on the lawn. Before I head in to the office, I must remember to toss some fresh seed at the base of the feeders in a show of welcome to all the arriving sparrows.
Sparrows have always been my favorite group of birds, referred to collectively as a “host” or a “quarrel” of sparrows. I’ve never quite understood the “quarrel,” because I don’t see these as quarreling birds. “Host” is more appropriate, because they frequently hang out in a group of their own kind, and readily with other species.
For the next round of arrivals, perhaps once this heavy dose of fog lifts, releasing a clear nighttime path for the migrants to pass through, I’m keeping an eye peeled for phoebes and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. Meanwhile, I have yet to hear spring peepers, but I have had the first of the wood frogs quacking. Spring really is close at hand.
Till next …
As we await the arrival of spring migrants here in the northeast corner of the States, we are also fielding many office calls from boaters eager to begin the boating season. Join them and get a head start on readying your boat for the season by calling Marine Parts Express toll free at 877.621.2628.
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April 5, 2011 / Noreen O'Brien / 0
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