The weather has been inconsistent lately, to say the least. Temperatures seem to bring us into spring some days and revert back to winter the next. Although we typically welcome the warm weather and enjoy it, our feathered friends can find the weather change difficult and sometimes a little confusing.
Even migratory birds are affected by the fluctuation in temperatures. When the climate changes and begins to show signs of spring, birds begin their migration patterns, but at times when they embark on their journey north, the weather can take a turn for the worst.
Once again, the Ottawa and surrounding areas are experiencing lower than normal temperatures. Even birds that have been here year-round are likely starting to find the winter long and hard. Migratory birds are having difficulty foraging for food and setting up shelter when the temperatures drop so dramatically like we have been seeing over the past week. This is the time that birds seek manmade birdhouses or habitats that can provide them with refuge from the winds, rains, ice or snow of winter.
At this time, the insect-eating birds would be the ones that struggle the most. The good news is that many of these insect-eating birds, such as warblers and swallows that should be in our backyard, still have yet to arrive in most areas. It appears as though the cold spring we are experiencing may have slowed down the songbird migration too.
We are still a ways off before we start seeing hummingbirds. You should expect to see them in the Ottawa area by end of May. That being said, keep an eye out for the early arrivals and make sure your feeders are topped up. Depending on the climate, we could see the hummingbirds as early as the end of April.
With this “delayed’ spring as most would describe it, be sure you are taking extra care of your backyard birds, as our year-round residents continue to need a little extra feed to keep them warm through these unseasonably cold temperatures. On the other hand, if and when you begin to notice some seasonal visitors, be sure your shelters and food supplies are ready to go in case of the temperatures dip once again.