Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Early August Bird Notes

Whoa! Where has the summer gone? I've been enjoying my almost daily dose of Painted Buntings visiting the feeder for white millet and finally have Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the feeders and enjoying nectar from my Mexican Cigar Shrub and Bottlebrush plants.
Painted Bunting at the Bath

One interesting but troubling development this summer is that a pair of Cooper's Hawks nested somewhere in the woods across from my house. I heard what sounded like a Pileated Woodpecker only it was a slightly different loud cackling noise. I tracked it to a Cooper's Hawk and figured that since it was being so vocal, it must have a nest.

I never found the nest, but a couple of weeks ago I began hearing a flicker-like mewing call. Tracking that I found a young Cooper's Hawk, probably begging for food. So far I have found three juveniles. They are now flighted but still staying close to the nest area, probably still hoping Mom and Dad will bring food. I have not seen the adults recently, so they must be busy hunting.

One interesting feature of the juvenile birds is their white "bloomers." The feathers below the tail are very fluffy and downy, as are the feathers around their legs.

The other birds in the neighborhood are not happy about the new residents. I tracked one young bird by following the sound of two upset Red-bellied Woodpeckers. 

Pair of young Cooper's Hawks

Cooper's Hawk Juvenile

Cooper's Hawk Juvie Rear View

Note the downy undertail feathers.

Young Cooper's Hawk hollers for food?
 On a different topic, I finally got out to Tybee North Beach on Sunday evening for the high tide.
 There were lots of Laughing Gulls with many brownish young ones, Royal Terns and juveniles, Black Skimmers & their young, and Sandwich Terns with teen-agers begging.

Juvenile Royal Tern

Juvenile Sandwich Tern
 Also, some of the shorebirds that were off nesting in the Arctic have returned. It was great to see Sanderlings running about like beach wind-up toys and Ruddy Turnstones still in their fancy breeding costumes. A small flock of flying shorebirds turned out to be 25 Semipalmated Plovers.
Sanderling Lineup
Ruddy Turnstone in breeding best

Fly-by flock of Semipalmated Plovers
Several friends have reported already seeing migrating warblers but I am still waiting for my first. Fall is just around the corner.  Good birding!

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