Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Natural World Goes On: Western Kingbirds arrive on the Tuolumne River

Life is uncertain right now, and things are chaotic, but it is sometimes nice to know in the midst of sadness and troubles that the natural world continues, and beauty is still all around us. I've been trying to keep some balance by getting out on the Tuolumne River Trail (usually by myself of course), and today including a treat.

It's always a pleasant surprise the first time you see them. They will be here by the thousands in a week or two, but there are always those few leaders who arrive before the others. When you see one for the first time you might mistake it briefly for a mockingbird until you see the bright flash of yellow on their frontside. These are the Western Kingbirds (Tyrannus verticalis), and they've arrived on the Tuolumne River this week. I saw two of them this morning. It's a sure sign that spring has arrived (the first one seen in our county was literally on the day of the spring equinox).

The birds have been wintering in Mexico and Central America, but soon they will be all over the United States and southernmost Canada to breed during the summer.

Stay healthy all. Hiking and walking while maintaining physical distance is still allowed, and is safe if you avoid any crowds.

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