In the second half of last year the number of visitors to our yards dropped dramatically, with a typical day seeing only a handful of species. Even our most reliable residents more or less vanished: Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays and Downy Woodpeckers.
The final weeks of 2014 and the first three weeks of this year weren't a lot better - perhaps because of bad weather - although we did see the arrival of a few winter residents.
Then on Saturday everything changed.
Our Red-bellied Woodpeckers were back.
Our resident Downy Woodpeckers returned, too. The female showed up first.
Then the male arrived.
Two Orange-crowned Warblers pottered about, occasionally chasing off our Ruby-crowned Kinglet (below).
The most numerous birds were Chipping Sparrows, with ten or more appearing together at times.
A small group of American Goldfinches came to feed several times during the day.
A pair of Eastern Bluebirds checked out our birdhouse, as they did last year. Unfortunately, they again seemed to be unimpressed.
Two Yellow-rumped Warblers kept looking at the birdbath.
A Pine Warbler popped in but stayed only a couple of minutes.
A moment later I was thrilled to see a Blue-headed Vireo, a new bird for our yard.
Here is my list for the day:
2 N. Mockingbirds
2 N. Cardinals
2 E Bluebirds
1 Blue Jay
5 White-winged Doves
5 House Sparrows
10 Chipping Sparrows
8 American Goldfinch
2 Orange-crowned Warblers
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 American Robin
1 Carolina Wren
2 Carolina Chickadees
2 Yellow-rumped Warblers
1 Pine Warbler
1 Blue-headed Vireo.
There were four flyovers:
2 Black Vultures
1 Great Egret
1 Great Blue Heron
1 Red-shouldered Hawk.
Now I'm wondering whether our yards will continue to be busy or whether Saturday's activity was just a fluke occurrence. Time will tell.