Birds at their iridescent best!


My, how a few sunny days soon change the colourful avian world of the birds that we can observe in our gardens as it happens. The beautiful reds, pinks, yellows and blues and even the varied blacks of some of them, in their vivid iridescent Spring plumage, add to the joy of just being able to see and watch their changes unfold before our very eyes. What a great time of year it is for us all, as the Winter blues move out and give way to Spring and the chance to get you and about a little easier.

Quite a few of our migratory birds are back with us, as can be seen above us as the Turkey Vultures circle in their search for carrion. The Ospreys down by the riverside are doing much the same, but at a much lower height, as they search for an unsuspecting fish to catch, being eaters of fresh meat not favoured by the Vultures.

The birds hanging around in the garden have also got other things on their minds too, such as mating, nesting, the laying of eggs and then the raising of the young, so not such a lazy time ahead as we might expect. The males of the various species are starting to puff out their chests and strut about, either in pursuit of a female or, in the hopes that one might spot and choose him to mate with. I haven’t seen many Red-winged Blackbirds displaying their epaulettes to effect yet, but a male Cowbird was putting on quite a good display for an interested female up in one of our pine trees the other day, as you can see by the picture of them. They often seem to feed together too, but that might not be surprising, as they don’t ever get into nest building together, so have more time to be together!

One of the striking things about the male Cowbird, apart from his brown head, is the iridescence of the colours in his wing and head feathers. When he displays them, he is quite distinguished, although he does have a rival on that score, the male Grackle and maybe even a male Rock Pigeon, who have equally striking plumages at this time of year. Perhaps you have had the chance to see these features of the birds, which I hope you have, and are enjoying what you see. Stay safe and well.

John Baldwin


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