April Update

Ah, April…what a wonderful and occasionally horrible (weather) month in Ohio. April is wonderful for birders because the migration season is truly getting started in much of the U.S. and we see a giant influx of birds from central and south America. Trees are not yet leafed out so birds are more visible in April than they will be for much of the rest of spring. The temperatures often swing from nearly freezing to the eighties (fahrenheit)…within a day or two. The poor birds traveling through probably sometimes regret their decision to move north as the temps drop. But their breeding cycles reign and make the calls and their plumage amazing and wonderful for the next few weeks. I hope you get a chance to get out to see and hear some of their joyous, raucous activity.

Barred Owl…wait, what? I rarely see a Barred Owl out in the open like this and was alerted to its presence by some particularly loud crows. As it turns out, this one had found breakfast and was trying to eat in peace. Either it stole the breakfast from the crows or came too close to the crows nest when hunting but either way, this was an amazing and wonderful sighting.

Virginia Rail…wait, what? Again, an amazing bird to find as part of Lights Out in downtown Columbus. My partner and I spotted and netted the bird which was then taken to the Ohio Wildlife Center for rest and released back to the wild after three days. As I tell people, this is why we get out and walk the streets of downtown at ridiculous hours. Rescuing Ray-ray the rail made it all worthwhile.

An April blog would not be complete without warblers, like this Yellow-throated seen at Scioto Grove Metropark. I’ve heard many this month and, as is typical for their species, seen way less. But with breeding calls, plumage and good visibility, I do get a few good shots.

Eastern Towhee was singing beautifully at Prairie Oaks Metropark. Some of the most enchanting calls seem to come out of trees that don’t appear to contain birds. Towhees are excellent at making lots of noise from hidden locations but this one was conveniently visible.