Indigo Bunting and Osprey are Eye-catching Forerunners of the Spring Migration
Ospreys are back on nest poles all over the region. Their arrival at precisely the same time as the herring return to area estuaries and streams, which I'm only aware of because I have been watching Ospreys catching and eating these anadromous fish, is like clockwork. The herring also attract other fish eating birds including Double-crested Cormorants, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons. The Ospreys are nest building, displaying, mating and will be laying eggs in the near future. The far-carrying, shrill, high-pitched calls of the male as he hangs in the sky dangling a fish for his mate will be a common sound near Osprey nest poles over the next couple of weeks.
While the advantages of starting early are the first and best choice of a territory, there are risks associated with nesting this early in the season. It is primarily weather related danger, like prolonged cold and bad weather when the young hatch, making food resources scarce or unavailable that makes nesting this early in the season a dicey proposition.
The bird that always generates a lot of springtime excitement when it appears at feeders is the Indigo Bunting. True to their name they are a dark indigo blue, their color varying dramatically depending on the light levels when one is looking at them. They can appear a bluish metallic incandescent in bright sun or conversely almost totally black in poor light with rain as on most mornings this past week. These birds are a fairly common nesting species inland and further south and west. A handful now nest along power lines on the Upper Cape and a few pairs are nesting in wooded heavily wooded sections of the Vineyard. As the trees grow this species is colonizing the Cape.
It is an exciting time. Keep binoculars, digital camera and a field guide handy.