My Life’s Birds: #174-175
April 17, 1994 – Greene and Christian Co, Mo – One species leaves, another species arrives. Such is springtime in the middle latitudes.
In most field guides Horned Larks are listed as year round residents in Missouri, though we never found that to be true in the Ozarks. In the winter they could be found fairly easily in plowed fields or especially overgrazed cow pastures, the sort of place I found my very first Lark. But by the end of spring they were mostly gone to parts north. Not too far north, though, but something about the hills of the Ozarks must not have agreed with them as far as proper nesting habitat goes.
Other birds found the deep river hollows more to their liking, and Northern Parulas, like the ones trickling in as the days grew longer, particularly found the big sycamore trees down by the river in Linden attractive. I remember first tracking down the singer of that buzzy song, one of the first that new birders get a handle on. It’s funny how obvious it can be once you’re tuned in to it. I had probably heard Parulas singing every summer during my childhood, but it wasn’t until now that I began to actually think about it.
It’s funny how birding changes your perspective on things, and makes you more aware of what’s going on around you. It’s arguable one of the best things about the hobby in general, an opportunity to be more in tune to the changing of the seasons that others probably miss. Others may look for robins, but we know the real first sign of spring is the song of a Parula.
Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving all!