Saturday, August 1, 2015

Birds Are in Our Future and in Our Parks

                                                      Northern Flicker(Yellow-shafted)

                                                              Yellow-billed Cuckoo

                                                                       American Robin

                                                                 Male Painted Bunting

                                                                  Brown Thrasher

                                                             Fledgling House Sparrow

                                                                Great Blue Heron

                                                           Mallard Hen with Ducklings

0650-0954/77-86 degrees F/partly cloudy/light and variable winds

Morning temperatures have been slightly cooler over the past few days and the days are getting shorter, which signifies fall migration is near.  Actually, it has already begun in some parts of the country.  Migration is a very strong pull for birds, and they actually have their moods affected.
They are antsy, and cannot sit still still.

How can this be when young are still being raised?  Quite simply, not every species will migrate at the same time.  The hawks begin movement around now, which is why you're seeing them more.  Some of our birds like the Purple Martin and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher will begin roosting behaviors, which means that they will gather together in large groups and spend the night in a tree or two.  This isn't going to happen right this moment, but the signs have already begun. But now IS the time to keep your feeders stocked and help those neotropical migrants.  Some of them will double their weight so that they can travel thousands of miles to their destination.  Some will cross the Gulf of Mexico without stopping, as they have to do so.  There is no stopping point in the middle, and this is a very dangerous time for birds.  If they are tired, they will perish by drowning in the gulf.

Get ready for a great deal of movement within the next month.  You'll be seeing some very drab and ragged birds at your feeders in the fall.  They were busy breeding and will be busy heading to their winter homes, which will not be a vacation.  Young birds that were born this year will be the last to leave, so they will not get the prime habitat that their parents do.  They will have to settle for scrub, and they may not come back next year.  They also have to deal with pesticides that we rejected in this country a decade ago.  Those pesticides can kill them, and others will cause them to not to be fully functional.  The life of a neotropical migrant is difficult.

But you can help.  Buy shade grown coffee which will ensure that the tropical forests are not cut down, that these lovely birds that we enjoy will have somewhere to live and thrive.  And the bonus is that you will enjoy some of the finest coffee that money can buy.  It is not expensive coffee, and that is the best part.  This is just one of the coffees that you can buy to help our warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and other neotropical birds: