March is when I notice that many of the birds coming to our feeder begin arriving in pairs. Earlier in the winter, the loose flocks of finches, juncos, and towhees do not show male/female pairings as they fly in for food. This month, though, I see male House Finches offering food to the females that are always nearby. Chickadees and Oregon Juncos begin engaging in territorial disputes that result in serious chases and sparring. Steller’s Jays vocalize in softer, sweeter tones as two of them hop from branch to branch in the oak tree. Chickadees flutter their wings in a begging breeding display. Actually some of the early nesting birds have already begun to build nests, such as the pair of Black-capped Chickadees that have filled one nest box with moss, and the Song Sparrows singing atop the brush pile where their nest is hidden.
I am excited about watching the skies for early spring bird migrants. Each morning I open my window and look out to see if a warm breeze has brought us any new bird arrivals. Soon Tree Swallows, Violet-green Swallows, and, hopefully, Western Bluebirds will move into the neighborhood. Their songs will fill the air. Until then, I listen to the songs of our resident birds as they begin tuning up for the breeding season.
Many of us share an appreciation for migratory birds. One hundred years ago (that’s 1918), people recognized the need to protect migratory and native species. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) that resulted is one of the finest and most far-reaching environmental laws ever passed in the United States. Now it’s in trouble.
In the late fall of 2017, longtime birders Dennis Arendt, Kit Larsen, Roger Robb, and Jim Regali traveled to Queensland, Australia. They are looking forward to sharing their adventures and misadventures with you.
Tell Congress and the Department of the Interior to uphold America’s most important bird protection law, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).
Lane County Audubon, as an organization, has already urged continued protection. In early February, LCAS was one of 513 organizations from all around the country to sign a letter to legislators urging them to oppose any effort that would gut the MBTA.
Add your name to the petition at: abcbirds.org/action/petition-mbta