Bummer spring for some birds

Where are your usual nesting house wrens and bluebirds? Same place mine are, I guess. We've neither seen nor heard a yard wren this spring; one nest here has been routine for years.

The nest boxes I maintain at a local golf course had, as of May 20, no wren nests instead of the usual two or three, one bluebird nest instead of the usual six or seven. Of the 30-box total, 13 were in use by tree swallows, a normal count. At the golf course we have some years fledged over 60 bluebirds and 20 house wrens.

Reports from Arkansas and Missouri said rough winter weather in April killed thousands and thousands of migrant birds. That's where our bluebirds spend the winter. House wrens also winter in the southern U.S. and Mexico. Do remember, birds of all kinds have survived springs like this one for as long as birds have been here.

Jim Williams

Birds come first, photos second

Spring is a great time for bird photography. Some days it seems that every birder has a camera. Please remember that the bird is more important than the photo. Keep your distance. If the bird is aware of you, you are way too close.

Never ever approach a nest. Your trail welcomes predation. If you want close-ups, invest in an appropriate telephoto lens.

A good guideline is to know as much about the birds as you do about the camera. Better yet, know more about the birds, their behavior, their needs and their vulnerabilities.

Be a mindful and ethical photographer. The bird in the photo can tell us a lot about the photographer.