Spring Brings the Birds

by Josephine Dyck | Jun 1, 2023 | 0 comments

Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker. Photo © Josephine Dyck.

Melodious notes herald the coming of spring at my home in western Texas. Doves, grackles, meadowlarks, Curve-billed Thrashers, mockingbirds, and nighthawks all come back to join the House Sparrows that stayed all winter.

But spring is not truly here until the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers return. With their long tails, twittering flight calls, and soft gray feathers, they are truly elegant birds. Every year they attempt to build a nest in our front yard, but obviously are too sloppy, for when one hard wind comes, their nest is on the ground.

“Mom, the woodpeckers are back!” I exclaim. “The male is cleaning out the nest.” This is the third year that the pair of Ladder-backed Woodpeckers has taken up housekeeping in the mesquite tree in our front yard. We watch as the female comes to check the nest out. Then the pair takes turns sitting on the eggs and soon feeding the babies.

Now a pair of Western Kingbirds—beautiful but feisty birds—has also built a nest in the front yard. It is at the perfect spot for me to climb up and check the eggs and later the babies. I even get to watch the fledglings “fly the coop,” the parents chirping encouragement (or is it warnings?) as they circle overhead.

In the honeysuckle trellis is a Curve-billed Thrasher nest. I watch as four teal eggs with brown speckles appear. Then one day, instead of eggs there are babies. I think they are cute, but Mom disagrees. Yes, spring is a time for new life.

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