Julie McCormick has been waiting and waiting for the spring migration to begin, but while she’s seen a few new arrivals, the big rush won’t happen until the ice starts to break up on area lakes and rivers. In the meantime, here’s her late winter birding report:
- Now is the time of year that eagles and owls start nesting. Check squirrels’ stick nests for tufted ears or a head poking out the top, and you might have found a nesting Great Horned Owl, like Julie and her husband did the other day off I-90 near Rochester. “We looked at each other and said, ‘There’s ears on that nest,’ and sure enough, when I went back and checked with binoculars, it was a Great Horned Owl.”
- Horned Larks are starting to pair up; look for them on the ground in open fields, especially out in the country.
- Look for Rough Legged Hawks, which are only seen around here during the winter. If you see a hawk in a tree (look in trees near open fields), double check to see whether it’s a Rough Legged Hawk or a Redtail.
- There’s a flock of about fifteen robins overwintering out on Prairie Island, but beyond that, don’t expect to see too many songbirds until the ice starts breaking up. Then look for Red Winged Blackbirds and Killdeer to be among the first arrivals.
Julie and Eric Nelson will be leading a guided spring birding experience on the farm and in the area this spring; go to the Spring Migration Birding Series to register.