Sunday, July 27, 2014

Breeding Birds

Wow, summer is going fast! The first part of summer I spent a lot of time looking at birds--it's especially easy when they are making a lot of noise looking for mates and then flying to and from their nests. Some birds are still nesting, but overall they're a bit quieter now. Nevertheless, I feel like I need a post about the wonderful breeding birds as a tribute to them. (You can also see my post about birds in the yard; sometimes it's nice not to have to go far to see amazing birds!)

Above is a Say's Phoebe nest, fairly similar to that of a barn swallow, but not quite as tight construction. Say's Phoebes like to build their nests on buildings. We had quite a kick watching the mom feed the birds.

As I was doing breeding bird surveys, I found that there was usually one dominant species that sang so much that I had to work hard to block out its song (or rather their song, as usually several were singing at the same time) to hear the other birds in the area. Bird surveys usually require more identification by ear than by seeing the bird. To learn and refresh bird songs, the Great Basin Bird Observatory has a super little free program for birds of the Great Basin

Here's the dominant bird for upper sagebrush areas. Do you know it?
Brewer's Sparrow

The bird I heard most in riparian areas was the Warbling Vireo. When I came across one in a nest, I understood why, it didn't move at all even though I walked right underneath. It just kept singing its song.

The big mama turkey was easy to spot, but it took me a bit longer to see the grass moving behind her as her little babies followed her around. They couldn't have been able to see much, as the grass was much taller than they were. If turkeys were only native here, I could like them a lot better.

This MacGillivray's Warbler sang his little heart out, and not far from me. These birds like riparian areas.

The song of this bird threw me a few times. Fortunately it's a bird that likes to perch at the top of trees, so I could spot it and get a definitive i.d.  Sometimes I wish a lot more birds would like to perch high!
Lazuli Bunting--one of the most beautiful birds around!

One day I came across this Red-naped Sapsucker on an aspen tree. I watched to see what it would do.

All of a sudden it disappeared into a hole in the tree!

Are you still seeing any breeding birds?

I am still enjoying the birds around me, but have to admit that I've been introduced to the world of butterflies and have now been enthralled photographing and identifying them. Time to get another post ready!

1 comment:

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