Backyard Philadelphia – April 8
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I’m amazed at the variety of birds I see in my yard. Located in densely-populated suburbs of Philadelphia, my property is only 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!
In this first week of April, Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows still linger under my feeders, though they’ll soon depart for more northerly breeding grounds. Spicebush shrubs show lime-yellow buds, Eastern Redbud trees shine brilliant purple, and birds vocalize louder every day. American Robins, Northern Cardinals, and House Finches sing boldly throughout the day. A male Red-bellied Woodpecker has just finished excavating a nesthole in a broken branch of an old ailanthus tree. A pair of lively Carolina Wrens are most fun to watch. They bob atop my brush pile, trilling and chortling. I saw the presumed male take a piece of suet and feed it to his mate, likely all part of the courtship and bonding process as they gear up to nest.
It’s a treat to see early migrants stop and find sustenance in my backyard habitat. Eastern Phoebes and Hermit Thrushes spent several days, crossing paths with fleeting Palm and Pine Warblers in the hedgerow conifers.