Spring might actually be on the way. According to the calendar the first day of spring is March 20. However some of the natural indicators of the end of winter and the beginning of spring have already occurred:
-We had some rain; without any sleet mixed in.
-Most of the Bald Eagles have left, though there seems to be one immature Bald Eagle still roosting on the north shore.
-An American Robin was observed, pulling on an earth worm.
-A hummingbird has already been sighted in the park.
Yes a hummingbird was sighted at the Quartz Mountain Grocery Store last week. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to sanitize and refill your hummingbird feeders. Of course, keep an eye on the forecasted overnight lows and if it supposed to freeze, bring your feeders in so they don’t crack. Put them back up as soon as it is above freezing.
The hummingbird sighted did not stay around long enough to be identified. It may have been a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Black-chinned or maybe even a Rufous Hummingbird. The third species, the Rufous Hummingbird, does not nest in Oklahoma, but migrates through the state during the spring and fall. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the most common and widespread species. It is found across the eastern 3/4 of Oklahoma and is the only species found in the eastern half of the state. However, for those of us in southwestern Oklahoma, the Black-chinned Hummingbird is our most common hummingbird.
Mid-March is early for hummingbirds to be arriving for the season. This may have been a Rufous passing through on its way to their breeding grounds in Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and places further north. Few spring flowers are blooming yet- not even the Bradford Pears or Redbuds, two of the first to bloom in spring. Hummingbirds prefer blossoms that have a tube or trumpet shaped bloom. Beard-tongue (Penstemon), Coral Honeysuckle, Trumpet Creeper, Azaleas are all favorites of hummingbirds and none have even put out shoots, yet alone blossoms.
But the seasons are changing and it is time to prepare for our summer visitors like Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Turkey Vultures. That’s when we KNOW spring has arrived at Quartz Mountain Nature Park, when the Turkey Vultures start roosting on north shore and start “bobbing”- it can’t be called soaring- over the tree tops.