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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mourning Doves, fascinating nesting facts and did you know about "pigeon milk"

Mourning Doves catching a little snooze on our garden bench which is in our veggie garden. Did you know you can tell male from female? The male is on the left, sleeping on the arm of the bench, the female is resting on the right. The male has a more rosy breast, female is more brown. So cute that they are making themselves at home. This undoubtedly is a mated pair.
Mourning Doves make a loose nest of twigs and lay two white eggs. Incubation lasts 12-13 days. Amazingly the male incubates the eggs without a break from morning until evening and the female does the same thing from evening until morning. The nestlings are in the nest for 12-13 days then fledge. The parents feed the young "pigeon milk," nutritious white liquid the parents regurgitate. The young put their bills inside the parent's and the parent pumps the food up. Toward the end of the nestling phase, an increasing percentage of the food is regurgitated seeds and insects. The parents brood the young almost constantly until they are about ten days old. Feedings of the young are spaced far apart as the adults spend a great deal of time gathering food in their crops and then regurgitate it all at once to the young in the nest. Great stuff to know if you are watching a Mourning Dove nest.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Migration in Full Swing Now! Get up Hummer Feeders, Bird Baths, etc.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, male

Gray Catbird, at dried mealworm feeder

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, male

American Goldfinch, female, at bird bath

Yellow Warbler, male, one of the most widespread breeding warbler

Migration is in full swing now and has reached all the way to the northern areas of the country. Here in NH, warblers are migrating through and breeding warblers, like this Yellow Warbler, are returning. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have returned and are visiting feeders. Gray Catbirds are coming to dried mealworms. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds eagerly visit feeders, as not many flowers are blooming yet due to the late spring. Goldfinches are turning from their dull winter plumage into their yellow breeding plumage and visiting feeders and bird baths.
Welcome the birds into your yard with food, bird houses, shelter, bird baths, and enjoy!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Stokes At Biggest Week in American Birding, Magee Marsh, OH, May 16th!

Black-throated Green Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Birders on boardwalk at Magee Marsh

We have been seeing beautiful migrant warblers coming into Florida for weeks and they and we are headed to The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, Magee Marsh, Ohio "the warbler capital of the world." The festival is organized by Black Swamp Bird Observatory. Beautiful eye candy warblers gather on the south shore of Lake Erie before crossing and birders view them at close range from a boardwalk that runs through the important stop-over habitat at Magee Marsh woods.  We are giving a keynote talk there on Sat. May 16th at 4 pm and we will lead a special bird walk on Sun. May 17th at 8 am (for which you can register now). The festival runs from May 8-17th with lots of trips, speakers, birding vendors, warbler viewing and fun. We hope to see you there.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Flyover Land in FL, Migrants heading to TX

 Cape May Warbler

 Tennessee Warbler

 Worm-eating Warbler

 Indigo Bunting males

 Blackburnian Warbler

Black-billed Cuckoo, not usually seen here

Down here in SW FL we are in flyover land, since good weather and southerly winds give neotropical migrant birds no reason to land and linger here. Many birds are flooding into the upper Gulf Coast and TX and, due to some of the storms and rain there, some of the birds are landing, giving birders in places like High Island, TX some nice views. Above are some of the photos taken at the Sanibel Lighthouse Park, Sanibel, FL, last April when weather conditions favored more birds landing here. Good weather is good for the birds, not so much for birders. Next week, if there are some storms and northerly winds some migrants may stop at Sanibel Lighthouse and other SW FL migrant traps, to rest and refuel. Maybe then we will see more birds. Meanwhile, we are glad for the bird that have the good weather that speed them to their northern breeding grounds.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Waiting for Migrants

Blue-winged Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Summer Tanager

Waiting for more migrants to arrive in Florida. Migration has just begun. Photos are from last April at Sanibel lighthouse park, Sanibel, FL.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter Bunnies!

The Eastern Cottontail lives mainly in the eastern two thirds of the U.S.

The Marsh Rabbit is found in the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains of the U.S. and throughout Florida. It is a strong swimmer and found close to water.

Happy Easter!!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Swainson's Warbler Bonanza, and Young Birders!

Swainson's Warbler

They forage for insects under leaf litter

Ben, Nathaniel, Lillian

Can you get enough of seeing Swainson's Warbler?s I don't think so. It may not be as pretty as other warblers, but it is a hard one to see and at least three were at the Sanibel Lighthouse park, Sanibel, FL as of yesterday, a near record for there. This Swainson's Warbler was there this morning making many birders happy including these avid young birders and photographers, Nathaniel (age 14) and Ben (age 12) Abrahams who told me they have our The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Eastern Region field guide. I love meeting young birders who are enthusiastic and excited about seeing birds, these young birders are the future of birding and bird conservation! For the ground level photo, I was sitting on the ground next to Ben and Nathaniel trying to get some shots of the bird as it foraged in the dark shadows. Cool fun!