Well, the month of March is upon us and it might be safe to say that most of us are at least getting somewhat more optimistic about the possibility of an early spring. While we certainly cannot predict the weather patterns we will experience over the next month or so, we do know one thing for certain: spring is on its way, it is only a matter of how long we actually have to wait to experience it.
With that in mind, the birding community is getting antsy in anticipation of the spring migration and the return of our spring and summer birds. As the temperatures hopefully begin to rise, we get closer and closer to those wonderful spring mornings when the air is filled with the sweet songs of some of our favorite birds.
What is surprising to some folks is that some birds are actually in the nest building phase or may be moving into it very soon. There have been reports of gray jays nest building up in Algonquin Park and many others are beginning to follow suit as well. Here is a quick list of some popular species who might already be busy building nests, or will soon begin construction.
Many owl species begin to build their nests as early as January. The Great Horned Owl is one owl that begins their nest building toward the end of January and their fledglings will be ready to take their first flight within a month or two. Barred owls and the eastern screech owls will begin to construct their nests during the month of March and you can expect their fledglings to take flight at some point in the month of May.
While many other woodpeckers will not begin the nest building process until April, the hair woodpecker often gets a head start on both the nest-building and breeding season.
One of our favourite winter birds, the cardinal is another species that begins to build their nests during the month of March.
Hawks & Eagles
Many large raptors such as hawks and eagles are often early nesters as well. The bald eagle will have built their nests during the middle of February for the most part and are promptly tending to their eggs this time of year.
Crows & Ravens
Generally speaking, crows and ravens are some of the earliest nesters in the bird world. A general rule of thumb being, if you see other birds nesting in your area, you can bet the crows and ravens are well ahead of them!