5/01/2008

Keeping track of the arrivals and departures

A few years back I started making note of when the Tree Swallows arrived in my garden. As I've mentioned previously, Tree Swallows signal spring to me. What I've noticed is that the Swallows are in fact pretty regular in their arrival dates. Generally a scout will arrival a few days prior to the rest of the gang. They then spend 2-3 weeks cruising around with very little nest building activity. They then seem to leave the garden for 2 weeks and then return to really begin nesting. This behavior seems to be pretty consistent year to year. By the way, the initial period is also marked by much posturing with the Blue Birds who don't mess around at all. These guys mean business and they lay eggs as soon as the weather warms up.

Here are the arrival dates for the Tree Swallows:
03/25/2003
03/23/2004
03/25/2005
03/27/2007
03/30/2008

This year spring seemed to be VERY late although the official harbingers of spring were only 5 days late by my unofficial time keeping! Do you keep dates of arrival and departures? Departures are much tougher than arrivals, so I am expanding my arrivals to Chipping Sparrows (spring) and Juncos (winter). I am also adding the first Blue Bird egg to my list. This year I had my first Blue Bird egg on the 23rd of April.

If you do anything nearly as crazy as this please let me know. PS: In case you're wondering I'm NOT an accountant or financial planner.

4 comments:

Eve said...

Hi Owlman,
I do keep a desk calendar every year, the sprial kind...you know with pretty flowers, birds or "Far Side"!!! Whatever I can get my hands on...and I write the birds I see on the days. I star the arrivals when they show up. It seems to work well. Then I, in pencil, when I'm really feeling like an oddity, write in the date that they arrived the year before!
Whooo...we birders are quite the bunch!

Patrick Belardo said...

Maybe you have a new career in your future! I keep records of most of my sightings but I don't do much with them after I record them. I'm probably not consistent enough to get any decent reporting out of it. It's something I've been meaning to get better at.

Con Daily said...

I know I should record the dates so they will be easy to find, but each spring I look back through my digital photo files organized by date to find the first image of a spring arrival. The first image is not always the first sighting, but near to it, as I am always photographing. In my area, everyone looks for the broadtail hummingbirds to arrive for their nesting season.

Owlman said...

Hi Eve, you sound as bad if not worse than me ;-)

Patrick, my approach is highly unscientific and I do it just for fun. Tracking the Tree Swallows gives me something to look forward to as I get very jumpy in March waiting for some sign of spring.

Con daily, welcome to my blog and thanks for posting a comment - it is highly appreciated! Having digital images really helps with tracking the migrants. I have also looked at dates to figure out when birds arrive and depart...not scientific but fun. Actually that reminds me, I need to record the date that I first saw my Indigo bunting. He's been hanging around and I hope he'll become a regular for years to come.