Nature Notes

Vol. XII April, 1934 No. 4

Birds of the month

Among the alders that grow along the edge of the Nisqually River bar we hear at this time the melodious tinkle which is the song of the Junco. A sure sign of spring--the song of the Junco--but he lives not for song alone. The alders along the Nisqually are heavily hung with loose catkins, and as if rejoicing in this season's abundance he pauses occasionally in his foraging to sit upon the tip of some snag or tree top to pour forth a welcome to the warm, radiant sunshine that bathes the earth at this season. Accompanied by the bass rumble of the river nearby, it makes a pleasing duet.


The first robin to return to the park--as you will probably remember from the March issue of Nature Notes--was noted on Feb. 2. Now we see numerous of this early bird's relatives and their familiar "chirr-up" as these early spring days draw to a close is needless to say, a pleasant song to hear. With the robins may also be seen numerous Varied Thrushes--a bird which, while present in the park throughout the entire year, is most noticeable at this season due to its melodious two-toned song. Occasionally we hear the bubbling song of the Western Wren along the shaded forest trails of the lower elevations--a song that is coincident with the bursting of the buds on our trees, for this bird has been characterized by a mouse-like furtiveness during the months just past.

And strangely we have failed to note the presence of woodpeckers in the park this winter. The striking red and black of the Pileated Woodpecker's plumage was conspicuous by its absence and the diminutive Downy, which we see occasionally exploring the bark of trees, apparently was among the missing. Even the Harris Woodpecker, our old "standby" among the woodpecker clan during the winter months, was not noted until March 10th when its sharp call was noted for the first time. Also on March 10, a large flock of Crossbills were foraging among the cones of the Red Cedars in the vicinity of Longmire. Swirling about high in the trees almost like a swarm of bees their nervous pitched notes attracted considerable attention.

And so we find our birds entering upon another seasonal cycle of activity. Some of the feathered winter residents show signs of taking up housekeeping again and the vanguard of the summer clan is returning.

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