Spring brings new things: birds & blossoms

Spring is here! Rejoice in the colours, the life, the smell of the fresh, crisp air and the sun on your skin. I am very excited! Its my first spring as a real birder. I am looking forward to babies, breeding plumage and new species I might have seen, but never really identified before.

One of my very favourite birds to watch and see is the Anna’s Hummingbird. They are the only hummingbirds to winter-over on Vancouver Island (although they didn’t always do so). I recently learned they have already bred for the season! They are true early birds, having bred at the end of January. I hope to see our other island hummingbird, the Rufous Hummingbird, arrive soon. Apparently they are already on their way north, embarking on the longest migration of any hummingbird species. How incredible of these tiny birds to migrate so far. Nature never ceases to amaze me.


I already identified some new birds just the other day! I went for a walk at a lagoon and what at first I thought was a group of all European Starlings at varying stages of life actually was not. When I caught them in the right lighting, it turned out they were European Starlings and Brewer’s Blackbirds all hanging out around the same bushes.

The European Starling is an invasive species and their presence in BC contributes heavily to the decline in Purple Martins because of competition for cavity nesting spaces. To make matters worse, the invasive starlings also have more than one set of babies each breeding season. I was lucky to see Purple Martins last summer on Sidney Island (part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve) and I adored watching them, but I can’t help but admire the Starlings and their colourful plumage, too. I guess I can’t help feeling something for all living things.

As I walked along the lagoon, I could hear the calls of the Red-winged Blackbird on the other side of the shore. This was a new bird for me a few weeks ago when I went for a walk around a bog. They were in and among the cattails and I stopped to watch and listen. The trill of their song stuck in my memory; something about it was distinct and even though I couldn’t see them in the wetlands across the lagoon, I knew they were there just by the sound of their call. Listen here from Audubon.

I’m hoping to start learning more birds by their song. I know the distinct song of the Anna’s Hummingbird very well now from hearing it so many times. I notice it often and immediately start looking around for my favourite little green bird.

4 thoughts on “Spring brings new things: birds & blossoms

  1. Love the Anna’s! This year is the first time I got to witness one, and close-up too. Rufous spent the winter on our back porch feeder and appears to have moved on (probably on up to you). There is a picture of two or even three different individuals in my photo album.

    I think starlings and grackles are gorgeous, even though most people can’t stand them. They are extraordinarily resilient birds, which is why they do so well around our own species.


    1. Ohh me too!! Yesterday one buzzed about an arm’s length away from me and just stared at me, it was quite surreal! I’d never been quite that close to one before.
      I’m going to have to keep a careful eye out for the Rufous. I can’t even recall seeing any last year.
      Oh me too! I actually love watching crows and ravens as well, they’re just so interesting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. PS – I recorded a smallish flock of Red-winged Blackbirds while on the swing of my front yard late this winter. It’s at my Soundcloud, but I’ve not linked it on the blog yet. Have a listen! 😀



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