Over the next 10 days, watch and listen for blue-headed vireos, white-eyed vireos, yellow warblers ("Sweet, sweet, sweet, I'm so sweet"), blue-winged warblers ("Bee-buzz!"), ovenbirds ("Teacher! Teacher! Teacher!"), brown thrashers (a wild variety of notes usually uttered twice), gray catbirds (listen for the distinctive, "Mew"), Baltimore orioles (a loud pure whistled song), chimney swifts, barn swallows, and tree swallows.
In early May, look for the third wave of migrants. House wrens, red-eyed vireos, common yellowthroats, scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and indigo buntings will brighten backyards. If you need a reason to keep one seed feeder filled in the spring, the brilliantly colored grosbeaks and buntings love sunflower seeds.
To attract other migrants to the backyard, offer live mealworms. Almost every songbird loves them. And after eggs hatch, mealworms are an easy food for parents to feed nestlings. Mealworms can be purchased at wild bird stores, bait shops, and a variety of online outlets. Buy a few thousand to get started, then grow your own.
For a free copy of instructions for raising mealworms, contact me via email. For a hard copy, mail $2 and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the address below.
Finally, be sure to offer a flat saucer of fresh water for drinking and bathing every day. It will be the busiest spot in your backyard.
The highlight of spring migration for me will occur sometime between April 25 and May 4. I'll wake up one morning and hear the sweet flute-like notes of a wood thrush rising from the woods. They'll sing all day, every day, for the next eight weeks or so. And as the sun sets, I'll smile as they sing vespers to remind me that it's time to listen for owls and whip-poor-wills.
Send questions and comments to Dr. Scott Shalaway, 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, West Virginia 26033 or email sshala...@aol.com.