Photography by Curtis and Norma Beaird
Article by Norma Beaird
Research contribution by Curtis Beaird
It's springtime and it's time for nesting season! This is always a joyous time of year because walking outside reveals a symphony of bird song and buzzing bees. The leaves and grass are turning green, and all nature is waking up from a cold winter of rain and snow.
As you can tell, like many folks in the United States, we love Northern Cardinals. We especially love the rich vibrant red color of the males. And, we are seeing more and more of them in our yard due to the nesting season.
It's also that time of year when a birder wants to keep their feeders fully stocked with bird favorites. Birds are migrating, mating and nesting; therefore, you never know who you may see coming to your feeders for nourishment. Northern Cardinals especially love black oil sunflower, shelled sunflower, unsalted peanuts and safflower.
As you prepare to feed your backyard visitors, you will need to know the nesting season dates for your state. No matter what part of the country you live in, the following map, courtesy of the Farmers Service Agency - USDA, will show the dates for the nesting season in your area.
In addition to the nesting season, spring migration is also in process. Great tools that we use to track spring migration are the NEXRAD Composite Radar Maps. These maps are very effective in tracking bird movements at night. The birds are represented by the royal blue plumes on the map (such as those migrating through Texas).
eBird has a fascinating article about birds and radar. Once you discover how to read the weather maps showing bird movements, you can check each night to see the bird activity that may be happening in your area. It's fun to look at the current radar maps because it will help us gain a greater understanding of birds, their migration process; and ultimately, the miracle and majesty of nature.
Copyright 2014, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.