Birders who reside in the Northern Hemisphere know that late April and early May offer some of the best birding of the year as summer songbirds return to their breeding grounds. Here along the Colorado Front Range, that annual parade is well underway.
Over the past week, broad-tailed hummingbirds and house wrens have returned to our Littleton farm and, down at South Platte Park, I have recently observed barn and violet-green swallows (joining their tree cousins), brown-headed cowbirds, white-crowned sparrows and a green-tailed towhee; Swainson’s thrushes, blue-gray gnatcatchers, chipping sparrows, gray catbirds, Lazuli buntings and Bullock’s orioles should arrive any day now. The number of migrant yellow-rumped warblers has been increasing on a daily basis and other Western warblers and flycatchers are expected within the next two weeks.
All of these summer species will be greeted by our next round of chilly rain and snow early next week but they “know” Colorado and always adapt well. We birders certainly appreciate the seasonal message that they bring, especially during the fickle weather of a Front Range April.