Spring Migration in the Ozarks
By John Huse–Birding in the spring in Bella Vista and the surrounding area is a colorful and rewarding way to spend your time. It’s a fun time of the year to simply watch your backyard bird feeders or local parks and trails for all the birds that are migrating through the area from now until the middle of May. Here are some pictures from my backyard in Bella Vista and a partial list of birds you could see.
Migrating through now are Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, Summer Tanagers, Scarlet Tanagers, Pine Siskins, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Barn Swallows, Tree Swallows, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Indigo Buntings. Some will stay for the summer, but most will move up north to nest.
To attract birds to your feeders, place them where you can enjoy them from your windows but not too close to help prevent the birds from flying into your windows. Having trees or bushes close to the feeder gives the birds a place to perch and is a great place to photograph them in a more natural looking environment. A bird bath will also help attract birds to your feeders. Having multiple feeders with different types of seed and suet in them will help you attract a wide variety of birds. For example, Finches and Buntings like thistle seed, Blue Birds like mealworms, Grosbeaks, Cardinals and Sparrows like sunflower seeds and Orioles like Hummingbird nectar, oranges and grape jelly. I would also highly recommend squirrel proof feeders.
To make it easier to see and identify birds a pair of binoculars, a bird identification book or phone app and a camera to document what you see are all helpful. Butch at the Bluebird Shed in Bella Vista is a great resource for seed, feeders and bird knowledge.
Photography tips: use a camera with a zoom lens–something in the 70-200mm, 100-400mm or larger. A tripod is very helpful to aid in sharp focused pictures; a fast shutter speeds help you freeze motion, of which birds have plenty; and focusing on the birds eye helps the bird look alive in the picture.
John Huse is a photographer living in Bella Vista, AR. He photographs a wide range of outdoor subjects in and around the Bella Vista region. He will be sharing photograph tips regularly on discoverbellavista.blog.com in the future.