Earth Journal

Vol. 8, No. 17
April 26-May 3, 2000
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American Redstart in Redbud
by Gary Pendleton

The redbud tree couldn’t wait for the redstart this year: Its pinkish-purple bloom has faded to be displaced by heart-shaped leaves. It is late April, and we are on the cusp of the early spring blossoms and a wave of migrating song birds.

Spring came early this year. The dogwoods and many woodland wildflowers have bloomed ahead of schedule. Trees are leafing out early, somewhat too early for those of us who have been anticipating the beginning of spring’s songbird migration.

The birds keep to a stricter timetable than the plants do, and all those leaves make it harder to see the warblers, tanagers, vireos and orioles. That’s a shame, because these long-distance travelers, from as far away as the Amazon, come in a surprising array of patterns and colors: scarlet, gold, chestnut, cerulean blue, olive green and orange.

The American redstart is one of the most abundant breeding birds in Eastern woodlands, though habitat destruction and other factors have reduced populations in recent years. The male is black and white with patches of brilliant salmon, like fire, on its tail, wings and flanks. They are just beginning to arrive in our area.

On Saturday, May 6, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary is hosting an 8am bird walk to look for spring migrants and other birds. Register at 410/741-9330.

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly