The Season of Birdsong

                The high-pitched note of a white-crowned sparrow is immediately followed by a rhythmic trill not more than a few feet onto the meadow start of the Hansville Greenway.

                “White-crowned sparrows really like parking lots,” Ken Shawcroft, one of the Greenway’s founders, says on the same chilly spring morning dozens of Kitsap County fourth graders visit the trails for nature studies. “It’s got to have some shrubs.”

                Luckily, shrubs are abundant throughout the Greenway. The sparrows’ joyous song mixes with the pileated woodpeckers’ monkey-like (think Tarzan movies) call, the warbled notes of the purple finch and the witchety witchety of the common yellowthroat.

                The  aptly named yellowthroat returns to the Greenway each spring along with the white-crowned sparrow and the black-headed grosbeak, filling the air with sweet birdsong quickly identified with The Cornell Lab Merlin Bird ID app. The app is free and a great help identifying birds that are easy to hear and hard to find, even with the best binoculars.

                The hairy woodpecker is no trouble for Ken to sight. Sheets of bark tumble from a snag along the Greenway’s Great Hall as the black and white woodpecker hammers for food. The osprey, too, is an easy find as it soars over Lower Hawk’s Pond. The ospreys are among the Greenway’s many seasonal visitors.

                The lookout at the pond and the Quiet Place platform are great bird viewing and listening spots. Red-winged blackbirds sing as they sway on cattails. Marsh wrens stitch stitch stich in the rushes along with juncos and spotted towhees. Kingfishers hover over the still pond water.

                Get out on the trails and enjoy the spring symphony. Don’t forget your binoculars and Merlin app.

Cynthia Taggart