IN THE BACKYARD: Philadelphia early April
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Being homebound in this strange time has given me an opportunity to spend more time watching my backyard in suburban Philadelphia than I would normally do at this time of year. It is just a quarter-acre in size, but chock-full of native shrubs, perennial garden beds, and an assortment of mature trees. My feeder station is front and center, attracting year-round resident and migratory species. We’ve tallied 117 bird species!
Spring has arrived! American Robins, Song Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, House Finches and Carolina Wrens are sing boldly throughout the day and a Red-billed Woodpecker is busy excavating his nest hole. Our wintering White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos are still here searching for seeds amongst the leaf litter.
It’s a treat to see early migrants stop and find sustenance in my backyard habitat. The first week of April saw Eastern Phoebes and Hermit Thrushes spending several days, (though the thrush(es) have been here on-and-off since) crossing paths with fleeting Palm and Pine Warblers in the hedgerow conifers.
A Blue-headed Vireo showed up on the 11th and was followed by a female Eastern Towhee, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. On the 5th there was a good flight of migrating loons in the region, with a Common Loon flying over the house. At the conclusion of a strong storm on the 13th a Broad-winged Hawk circled overhead before moving northwards.