The warm weather not only melts all the snow and encourages new growth to pop out of the ground, but it also brings a flurry of color and vibrant melodies to our backyards. That's right: it's time for warm-weather birds to return and bring new faces to our backyard bird feeders.
April is the month when most birds return. For example, the White-crowned Sparrow is frequently spotted around Annapolis the second week of the month. And our well-known Baltimore Oriole will be showing off its beautiful orange and black coloring shortly after. To attract both of these birds, put out seed for the sparrows and fruit jelly in an orange container for the orioles.
Even if we get a snowfall in May, these birds will survive. Don't expect to see the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at your feeders until May, though. They have a long distance to travel, as they're coming from their winter rest in Central America. The staff at Homestead gardens recommends not putting out your feeders for hummingbirds until after the first of May.
You might have already seen or heard one bird that migrates south each winter, and that's the House Wren, a bird whose breeding season starts in March. You'll hear the males singing during the beginning of the season, and you can attract these birds to your backyard by hanging wren houses. While these song birds don't have a lot of fancy coloring, they do eat insects and sing beautifully, making them a great bird to have near your backyard garden.
The Brown Thrasher is another bird that summers in Maryland, but it is usually difficult to see because of its behavior. This song bird lives (and hides) in dense bush, but we'll be seeing them appear in May for breeding season. Thrashers eat birds, insects, seeds and nuts, and can be spotted running along the ground or low in the bushes.
Spring is a season of change, and we'll be seeing more of it going on these next few weeks as our bulbs start to emerge from the soil and bird songs fill the air.