If you have had enough of winter and the slow start to spring this year, heading out for a little birding will definitely put colour into your day. For the last several months it seems everything around us has been shades of white or grey. With plenty of snow and ice this past winter, I think we are all ready for the colours of spring.
With the snow taking it’s time to melt, it may be a few weeks yet before we start to see colour in the form of daffodils, tulips, and crocuses emerging from the ground. Luckily there is plenty of colour in the birds around us to help forget about winter.
On recent walks around some of my favourite birding hotspots, there has been a wide range of beautiful colours. Bright red male Northern Cardinals can be seen in the tree tops singing; establishing their territories and bringing in their mates. Speaking of mates, the red and orange accents of the female cardinal are quite stunning and can be easily forgotten when thinking of colourful birds. Robins are now more active and can be seen hopping across newly exposed grass searching for food in wet areas as the snow melts. Their bright orange breasts contrast against their dark backs as well as the remaining snow; painting a beautiful picture. Good numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds are around showing their red and yellow wing bars, and the beautiful plumage of Blue Jays really stands out this time of year against a leafless backdrop.
The return of some waterfowl to the Thames River this spring is adding some incredible colour. American Wigeons can be seen, the males showing a wonderful green stripe on their heads, with a baby blue bill and rusty patch on their sides. Perhaps the most colourful of all birds is the male Wood Duck. This gorgeous bird is a fantastic combination of green, red, orange, yellow, blue, maroon, purple, and white; impressing birders and non birders alike with it’s beauty.
If you feel your days are lacking some colour and you want to put the drab winter behind you, then I recommend taking a walk and enjoying the beauty our local birds present.