I think you would be amazed to know how many different species of birds actually pass through your backyard in a year. Most of these are migrants that only visit your yard during their spring and fall migrations. Some of these migrants have already begun making their way north. With that in mind, now is a great time to begin looking for them.
Most of us do not take the time search the trees and shrubs that may harbor the birds. However, in the case of those birds that occupy deciduous trees and shrubs, they are often easier to find early in spring. This is because the foliage of these plants has not fully developed. Consequently you and often catch a great look at a bird before it vanishes.
One of the best ways to recognize that the birds are present is to listen for them. Since most folks are not familiar with the calls of birds that they infrequently see in their yards, they rarely realize they came through.
However, Cornell University’s free bird identification app named Merlin solves this problem. It enables anyone armed with a smartphone to locate and identify the birds calling in their yard. Once you have downloaded the app, simply turn it on and wait. As your smart phone picks up the calls and songs of the birds, their names pop up. Beside each name, you will see a photo of the bird. You can even access a recorded call of the bird and determine if the device was correct in its identification.
One thing folks have told me they like about Merlin is that it alerts them to the presence of a bird. If they did not know it was there, they would have taken the time to look for it.
During the past few days, I heard both red-eyed and white-eyed vireos in my yard. If I were not familiar with the calls, just knowing the birds were there would be exciting.
I hope you will try it. If you do, let me know if the app added to your enjoyment of backyard birds and/or helped you identify migrants that might have passed through yard unnoticed.
Honestly, this app can help make this a spring you will long remember.