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Colorful Birds Everywhere
By Kristine Rivers
If you ventured outside recently, you probably noticed there were suddenly colorful birds everywhere—flitting about in bushes and trees, swarming feeders and water drips, and causing excitement as birders watched in amazement. Spring migrants have been trickling through for the last month, but not in numbers like this, so you may be wondering what caused this sudden burst of activity.
The phenomenon we experienced, referred to as a fallout, was caused by the competing storm systems that moved through our area. Migrating birds encountered a strong storm while crossing the Gulf of Mexico, which drained their energy and fat resources as they battled wind and rain. Exhausted, they literally fell out of the sky upon reaching land, seeking safe places to take cover and refuel with food and water before continuing northward. However, a second storm system pushed from north to south, preventing them from doing so. This kept them in our area for a couple of extra days as they moved about in noisy flocks, busily foraging for seeds and insects.
When birding around League City during spring migration, be sure to keep a watchful eye out no matter where you are. Local parks such as the Dr. Ned & Fay Dudney Clear Creek Nature Center and Lynn Gripon Park at Countryside attract noisy flocks of many colorful species, but songbirds may stop to rest and refuel any place with scrubby brush and trees. I have seen Indigo and Painted Buntings, Summer, and Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Hooded and Yellow Warblers, Blue Grosbeaks, and more along the roadsides in our area. We have always enjoyed birding by car, and it is the perfect way to safely enjoy birding while social distancing.
If you’d like to attract some of these beautiful migrants to your yard, create a feeding area with seed available at different levels (scattered on the ground, hanging feeders, tray feeders, etc.), and add oranges sliced in half, grape jelly, suet, cracked corn, peanuts—the more choices, the bigger variety of species you will be able to entice. You will not only enjoy getting closer looks at these gorgeous birds, but you will be providing them with much-needed sustenance on their journey back to their breeding grounds.