Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Dog Days of Summer

Summer in the backyard tends to be quiet.  Natural food sources are aplenty, so the local avifauna has little incentive to concentrate on your property.  (We out West have the advantage of very dry summers, and thus bird baths can be something of a magnet.  Though one needs a good heat wave to really exploit this.)  Despite the slowness, I managed to capture a few memorable moments.


Obviously, the main event in late spring and summer is breeding.  Several species brought their offspring to the feeders this summer.

A fledgling Black-capped Chickadee (left) takes suet from its parent.  (Note how worn the feathers are on the adult.  Raising children is hard work!)

Many, many House Finches fed their young at the feeders this afternoon

In August, many began to show up without their mom or dad...

This hatch-year Northern Flicker managed to get at the suet inside the caged feeder.  They grow up so quickly!

An immature male Anna's Hummingbird visits the nectar feeder

This Song Sparrow appears to be a molting hatch-year individual, but it's difficult to tell.  Song Sparrows have recently moved out of their summer breeding areas.  Many winter in urban spots with feeders.

The first Black-headed Grosbeak in early August (below) denotes the beginning of major change in the backyard.  Soon, warblers will be making their way through, followed by a Steller's Jay or two, followed by massive flocks of American Goldfinches (with a few Pine Siskins), followed by Juncos, followed by, Yellow-rumped Warblers, followed by Townsend's Warblers and kinglets... and then it's Thanksgiving.

One of many Black-headed Grosbeaks that visited the feeders this month
Lesser Goldfinches

An American Goldfinch in its breeding plumage.  They're now morphing into their more drab basic plumage and we will be hosting many more of them between mid-September and mid-October.

I hope to see/photograph some migrating warblers in the yard later this month.  I'll report back in another month or so.


3 comments:

rosalie sullivan said...

am I imagining things, or are there fewer birds around this summer?

Is it just the early spring? the continuing heat?

I miss the cowbirds that usually show up in yard in August. Where are they?

Anonymous said...

am I imagining things, or are there fewer birds around this summer?

Is it just the early spring? the continuing heat?

I miss the cowbirds that usually show up in yard in August. Where are they?

BJG said...

There definitely seem to be fewer neotropical migrants (warblers, flycatchers, vireos) in my yard this year than there have been in recent years. Hopefully we get more winter migrants.