After a seemingly eternal winter and some late snowfalls, it’s finally looking and feeling a lot more like spring in Northfield. One of the most noticeable harbingers of the new season is the sudden outburst of birdsong around campus. Many migratory songbird species have returned to Minnesota for the breeding season. Others, like most warbler species, are just passing through, on their way to summer breeding grounds in Southern Canada. Regardless of whether they are here to stay, you can hear birds everywhere, singing and calling to attract mates, establish territory, warn against predators, and communicate where the best food sources are to be found. Due to the breeding season during this time of year, singing is at a maximum and you’re much more likely to hear songbirds than to see them.
If you’re interested in learning how to identify some common bird species by song, or if you’re already an avid birdwatcher enjoying the songs of spring, we hope you’ll come on out for the Arboretum’s Annual Bird Count. The event takes place this Saturday, May 18th, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and will depart from the Arboretum Office. Don’t be alarmed by the early morning time. Birds have high metabolic rates and tend to be less active later in the day when temperatures rise. The early morning will be the most exciting time to hear a plethora of different species. So come join us to learn a little more about songbirds, contribute to the Arboretum’s record-keeping, and experience the Arboretum at a beautiful time of morning.
-Maddie Reynolds ’14, for the Cole Student Naturalists