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Feb 14, 2011

Can spring be far off?

(Photo ~ Tim King / OFO)
Here's a great shot of an Eastern Bluebird, taken a week ago by Tim King at Sherkston, Ontario.   Sherkston is halfway between Fort Erie and Port Colborne, on  Lake Erie's north shore.   Tim took this picture a week ago and it promptly showed up on the OFO (Ontario Field Ornithologists) website.   The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) normally winters across the southeastern United States, and yet here is a male bluebird already in Canada, in February.   There is growing evidence that global warming and warmer winters in our part of the world are pressing more birds to migrate north sooner and expand their traditional ranges.   A number of Bluebirds will show up here  in King Township before the snow is gone, and well before other well-known spring harbingers, such as Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds arrive.   The bluebirds will begin a life and death struggle for food and against the climate.   Many will succumb themselves to the cold and hunger, or their first set of offspring will not make it and they will begin over again.   It's such a battle for these small, timid, blue jewels.   They are no match for competing starlings, swallows and wrens when it comes to nesting spots and yet they persist.   Thank goodness, for they light up the spring.    The King Township Parks, Recreation and Culture Department will be stepping up its monitoring of birds, including the bluebirds, this year, at Cold Creek Conservation this year.   I hope to be involved in a small way and look forward to reporting on the project as it unfolds.   Please comment if you wish.

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