Songbird Tsunami

While a few summer residents, such as tree swallows and eastern phoebes, arrive in March, the great majority return between mid April and early May; the first wave is often represented by brown thrashers, indigo buntings, house wrens, chimney swifts, chipping sparrows and ruby-crowned kinglets.

This songbird tsunami builds in late April as ruby-throated hummingbirds, gray catbirds, northern orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, tanagers, vireos and migrant warblers appear in our trees and shrubs. By early May, common nighthawks, late warblers and a variety of flycatchers reach the Midwest, safely behind any freeze that might threaten their insect diet.

As this annual influx of spring migrants and summer residents winds down, the early nesters, including robins and morning doves, are already raising their first brood of the season and our suburbs are alive with a colorful and noisy array of birdlife. Feasting on spring's bounty of nectar and insects, this avian population explodes and those that survive predation will grace our woodlands until autumn's chill descends on the Heartland.