Cardinal fledglings seem to be everywhere right now. I am not complaining. Click on pictures to enlarge.
The “Spring Fledgling” is also a neat summer drink we came up with at our house celebrating and eaglet’s first flight. Can you guess what is in it?
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I never mean to wait this long to post. Here are a few of our year-round residents and spring visitors. Most of these are mid-May through mid-June. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I love how much activity there is right now! Click on pictures to enlarge.
I always wondered why male cardinals do not molt in the fall. It seems like that bright red would make one quite the target in the winter snow. This guy seems to be blending in pretty well. Click on pictures to enlarge.
The year-round residents are getting into their winter groups and the winter residents like the juncos are here in abundance. Generally, at this time of year, I would be at the Wakarusa Wetlands four or more mornings a week. I know I am one of many deeply grieving this loss. I hope that those of us who are doing more feeding, putting up more cover, winter roosting boxes, and brush piles, can offset some of the habitat loss these birds are experiencing. Support the work the Haskell Students are doing here: https://www.facebook.com/wetlandspreservationorganization Click on pictures to enlarge.
Sitting in the backyard is so much better than television! Click on pictures to enlarge.
And, don’t forget the mammals.
I love the big groups of cardinals at this time of year. With many predators visiting our yard over the last few weeks, I am not seeing the big numbers of small birds that we usually see. For instance, I haven’t seen many mourning doves since I discovered three piles of mourning dove feathers in the yard over several days. I would stay away from this yard, too! What I can always count on are the big groups of cardinals that visit the feeders and water at dawn and dusk. A few nights ago, I counted eighteen at the feeders. Today, I was raking leaves and I guess a human being out there keeping the predators away made them feel a little safer. More cardinals, more chickadees, more titmice, and even a brown creeper. I do hope the mourning doves come back soon. Click on pictures to enlarge.
For those of you who did not know this, brown-headed cowbirds do not raise their own young. They leave their eggs in the nests of other birds. Some say this evolved from when they were following herds of bison. I have seen young cowbirds this summer with groups of house sparrows and grackles. I have always suspected that some of the cardinals that nest in our yard were also raising cowbirds. Some folks get pretty hostile about this and really dislike cowbirds, which is really just speciesist. They are just doing what they do. I could go on about the irony of humans getting angry about this, but I think that is pretty clear. This morning, I witnessed a female cardinal feeding a young cowbird. There was an adult male cowbird nearby just taking it all in. I remember reading a while back that flocks of cowbirds will come and “collect” the young that are being raised by other species of birds. They have a special song they sing that calls them. Fascinating! I assume the young one I saw this morning is too young to go with the group, but how interesting that the adult cowbird was nearby watching the cardinal mom feeding the baby. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Young grackles, starlings, jays, catbirds, and cardinals. Click on pictures to enlarge.