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Spring birding

If this family/homeschooling blog is beginning to look a little like a naturalist's birding blog, well, it's a temporary but hopefully enjoyable shift. Although we will be spending all summer doing science in the field, over the next few weeks we will be focusing on three ideas—spring wildflowers, wild animal reproduction, and bird migration—and to focus on these things, especially the last one, the next few weeks are crucial as our local birds return and a brilliant rainbow of rarities pass through on their way elsewhere.

Over the next two to three weeks we'll hopefully get out for almost daily hikes in local birding hotspots. Our science goal is to observe bird migrating tendencies, compare male and female characteristics, and hopefully observe mating habits. Another goal is to see as many migrating species as possible (collect them all!), and practice our bird IDing. So far we've already seen about different 50 species, most of them local or winter birds. I'll share our list some time soon.

Dolph Nature Area

Northern Rough-winged Swallow (summer resident)

Wood Duck (summer resident)

Cedar Waxwing (resident)

Scio Woods Nature Preserve

Red-bellied Woodpecker (nesting, resident)

Swamp Sparrow (summer resident; our first unique sparrow ID!)

Field Sparrow (summer resident; our second unique sparrow ID, on the same day as the first. Note the different beak color and lack of distinct eye stripe and head cap)

Painted turtles

Yellow Trout Lilly (one of Michigan's earliest spring wild flowers)

Dolph Nature Area

Tree Swallow (nesting, summer resident)

Eastern Phoebe (summer resident)

Great Blue Heron (summer resident, possible winter vagrant)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (summer resident)

American Robin (resident; beautiful variation on the color!)

Swamp sparrow (again; summer resident)

Yellow Warbler (summer resident; first warbler to return)

Fox Squirrel

Eastern Kingbird (summer resident)

Eastern Bluebird (summer resident, possible resident)

Cedar Waxwing (again; summer resident)

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