September 5, 2012

Comings and Goings

The catbirds and wrens were gone from the garden for a few weeks, but as of the past week, they are back.  I haven't seen or heard a mourning dove in a week or two.  And robins have not been here at all this summer.  I wonder if they now migrate north for the summers and spend their winters here.

I regularly see a group of cardinals, about 5, taking turns flying to the different feeders placed throughout the gardens.  Three of them are males woh were born this spring and who had been wearing their "punk" outfits until recently. Now they are sporting their red coats, which are growing brighter every day.

I've changed the seed in the feeders to only black sunflower seeds. All of my favorite birds enjoy it, including the gold finches, and the sparrows do not. The population of house sparrows has diminished, I'm thinking because they prefer the millet in the wild bird food mix and now are not getting it.  It could be that they have moved on like the birds mentioned above. Or maybe they are living over by Kate's house, eating her bird food.  This may be the case with the mourning doves too. Maybe they don't care for the sunflower seeds.  I would see them on the raised beds in the enclosed garden most of the summer and think it was they who ate the dill, nigella and zinnia seeds I sowed.  I saw them in those beds and those plants didn't sprout. So even if they didn't like the sunflower seed, wouldn't they be in the gardens? I can't believe we are all out of weed seeds!

I saw a hummingbird yesterday.  I want to look for and record it each day.  There were a few days when I didn't see them.  As soon as I changed the sugar water in their feeders, they were back! The weather had gotten cooler at that time so I thought maybe they were on their way south.  I expect them to be gone any day now.  Or can I expect to see more hummingbirds for a while as the ones who were north of here begin to head south?  An incentive to keep up with the feeders!

Also for the past week I have heard some new bird calls, but have not seen who they belong to.  One bird may have been the catbird, though I did see what looked like a phoebe on the wire in the area the song was coming from.  I remember in the spring hearing the catbirds singing a lovely song, very unlike their usual screechy cat alert call.  I've also heard what Bob calls the "clothesline" bird. It was alternating its call with the blue jays, so maybe this is an alternate call/song of theirs. And there was a third call that I cannot describe, but was new as well. I will go through the different bird calls on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

It is to to refer to the Sally Roth book, Backyard Bird Secrets for Every Season, to see what is in store for the autumn season.  I bought the book last January and have learned a lot from it so far. Autumn is the last section in the book still to read.

Birds Seen Today as of 10 a.m
Blue jay (hear)
downy woodpecker
mourning dove - flying
wrens (hear)

Weather: humid, overcast, thunder and lightning in the distance.

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