by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"What Spring Will Bring"

Willow Flycatcher

willow flycatcher
Last Saturday we were in the middle of St. George, by the town square, and waiting for the Art Show to open. We were sitting in our vehicle next to the back yards of the old McArthur and Graff homes. The yards had huge trees, grapevines, bushes of all kinds, and garden space. It brought back a lot of memories of my home, where I grew up, a few blocks east of there. This down town St. George section, with huge trees and vegetation, is loaded with bird hotels and bird food markets. As we sat, we witnessed an award-winning musical/athletic performance of our lives. Bird species were trying to out sing each other, out fly each other, and out perform each other. Every male wanted to be noticed and picked for this year’s mate. There were Mockingbirds, Finches, Doves, Sparrows, Phoebes, and more. It was an early morning contest of measuring each bird against another.

        Large mature trees in the early spring are like giant magnets that attract birds, birds, birds. I love living in an area where there are huge trees and lots of bird activity. This morning I was out and walking before the early morning traffic begun to roll. The air was filled with bird songs so overwhelming, that it drowned out everything else. I love walking to the sound of an early morning symphony. With a full covering of green leaves on the trees, it was hard to see which birds were creating all that music.

        Set the alarm to get up early and get out there. You never know what Spring will bring in the bird world. If big trees aren’t available, you may want to walk the paths by the rivers and streams, where willows and tamarisk grow. There is a small bird that frequents this area, looks like several others, but has a unique voice. It’s the Willow Flycatcher. This bird is not really distinguishable by color, but the only one that sings . . . ‘fitz-bew, fitz-bew, fitz-bew’. If you do hear a bird singing this song, please call and report it. This is an endangered species. Many eyes can make a difference finding one.

       The Willow Flycatcher is drawn by Judy Warren with acrylic paints. For more information about birds or Red Cliff Audubon activities call 435 673-0996.

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