A Welcome Invasion

I have returned to central Missouri just in time for the annual invasion of summer and migrant songbirds, which should unfold over the next month.  Having wintered along the Gulf Coast, in Mexico or even in South or Central America, these fair weather species are generally those that rely on nectar, flowers and live insects for their nutrition.

While tree swallows and eastern phoebes arrive in March, the primary invasion begins in mid April and extends through most of May.  House wrens, gray catbirds and brown thrashers often lead the incursion, followed closely by indigo buntings, ruby-throated hummingbirds, chimney swifts, swallows (barn, cliff, bank and rough-winged) and northern orioles.  Of most interest to avid birders are the challenging mix of warblers, vireos and flycatchers that arrive or pass through over the next few weeks.

Long a keen observer of this welcome invasion, I wander our property during the morning or evening hours, hoping to spot those species that are but transient visitors to Missouri; stopping to rest and feed for a few days, they will soon resume their journey to more northern ecosystems.