I only migrate through Minnesota on my way to my breeding grounds in Canada. Look at my pretty bright orange feet and legs – that’s a distinctive field mark in the spring. Next fall I will look completely different…
Blackpoll Warbler in basic plumage
You can still see my feet are a orangey color even though they have faded.
The songbirds are coming back in droves now! The White-throated Sparrows showed up yesterday, and this morning, the air is filled with their beautiful song.
I like to say that this bird is ubiquitous to Crane Lake – they are everywhere around Crane Lake and Voyageurs National Park. Next time you’re up here, listen for their song – it goes something like this: Poor Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody
The Eastern Phoebe is the first “flycatcher” to arrive at Crane Lake. The flycatcher family is a large one and as their name indicates, they mainly eat insects.
Phoebes are pretty common at Crane Lake and they stay for the summer to raise their young ones. Some cabin owners along the lake will have Phoebes nest under the eaves of their cabins and boathouses. Many birds return to the same nest year after year. They will repair the nests and then raise a couple broods. If you are lucky to have one of these birds nest at your cabin, respect their privacy and they will reward you with nature’s brand of bug control!
Right behind the Fox Sparrows and Juncos, the Song Sparrow makes an appearance.
They have a pretty little song, and in my opinion, a good name! The Song Sparrow has a highly variable song that depends on their location – they have different dialects, just like people. A Song Sparrow who makes it’s home in southern Minnesota sounds completely different than the ones up here in Crane Lake. One sure thing is though, the song always starts with 3 leading notes. It then goes into a jumble that sounds somewhat like: maids, maids, maids, put on your tea kettle, lettle, lettle!
Song Sparrows are common in Crane Lake in the summer. They stay here to nest and they can have up to 3 broods per summer. These vocal little Sparrows can be found along the shoreline throughout Voyageurs National Park.
Another early arriver is the Common Grackle. Their raucous behavior is exemplified in the Spring when love is in the air.
Their iridescent feathers stand out in the right lighting conditions.
An interesting tidbit about the Common Grackle is that the males fly holding their long tails diagonally during the spring breeding season only – other times during the year they hold their tail normally.