Spring Arrivals, May Edition: Your Timeline for Returning Species

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

As promised, we are back with a May version of Spring Arrivals: Your Timeline for Returning Species. I sincerely hope you have already been enjoying all the migrants that have already arrived back in the region. There are many more on their way as migration ramps up for the first couple weeks of May. This month is so big for birds, it is home to World Migratory Bird Day, occurring this year on Saturday, May 8th. To learn more about this day and participate in events, check out the Bird Day website here. 

Two favourites on the docket this month! Baltimore Orioles and Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks

Let's start with a role call of all of the species that have already returned: 

·                Red-winged Blackbirds 

·                Eastern Phoebe 

·                Turkey Vultures 

·                Great Blue Herons 

·                Killdeer 

·                Sparrows galore! Including American Tree Sparrows, White-Throated Sparrows and Fox sparrows 

·                Ruby and Gold-crowned kinglets 

·                Purple Finches 

·                Wrens

·                Great Egrets 

·                Swallows 

·                Some warbler species including Yellow-rumped, Pine and Palm Warblers 

·                Eastern Towhees 

·                Common Loons 

May is an incredibly exciting month to be a birder, if not the most exciting month of the year. Not only will all our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Baltimore Orioles and Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks be returning, it's warbler season!! I would be remiss to not mention that it is also the peak of bird courtship, listen each day for the Morning Chorus. Check out this former blog The Morning Chorus: Explained to learn more about it. 

Birds to expect in May: 

  • Baltimore Orioles and Ruby-throated hummingbirds will return early in the month. This is not a drill!! Orioles are If you have not already, make sure you clean your feeders and get them out as soon as possible with BirdBerry Jelly and orange halves available for the Orioles and a Hummingbird feeder with nectar for the hummingbirds. You can read our blog Attracting and Supporting Ruby-throated Hummingbirds for more detailed information on the proper nectar recipe and other ways to support them in your yard. 
  • Warbler migration peaks in May. Nearly 30 species will migrate through the region! This is an incredibly exciting time, make sure to brush up on your warbler identification skills. Further, if you want to invite them into your yard as they move through, try offering food varieties that they enjoy. Most species of warblers primarily eat insects. Try offering mealworms or a Bug Nut & Berry Cylinder. Having lots of native plants that provide habitat for insects is also a great way to attract insectivorous species.
Helpful warbler identification guide. Found on Cornell as part of The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle 

Yellow-rumped warbler. Often the first warbler species to return each year. 

Pine Warbler checking out a cylinder 

  • Rose-breasted grosbeaks are returning! Rose-breasted grosbeaks enjoy a wide range of foods including black-oil sunflower, sunflower chips and safflower seed or cylinders. They also enjoy the orange halves and BirdBerry Jelly that you may be putting out for orioles. We recently did an in-depth blog on Attracting Rose-breasted Grosbeaks to Your Yard, have a read if you haven't yet to learn more about how you can support this beautiful species. 
Male Rose-breasted grosbeaks enjoying a Safflower Cylinder 

You also may have noticed that many species are incredibly busy collecting nesting material and creating nests. Your chickadees actually may become more scarce at feeders over the course of this month, as they are nesting and raising their young. Reference the below infographic to find out what is safe and unsafe to offer as nesting material. Birds will naturally find nesting material but it can be fun to provide some and have the opportunity to see them collecting it. However, we want to be extremely cautious that we are never offering anything that could harm the birds or other animals in the environment. Always avoid introducing potentially toxic or chemical ridden fur or lint as well as string, yarn or tinsel. We also have a full blog on Nesting Material Do's and Don'ts , check it out for even more tips and tricks. 

Baltimore Oriole collecting nesting material 

There will be no shortage of beautiful birds, dressed in courtship plumage, to observe this month. We can't wait to see all their vibrant colours, to hear all their cheerful songs. Birders, this is our month!! 

Happy May! 



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