Sunday, August 21, 2011

Early Migration and Forecasting Winter?

With temperatures still in the 90+ range, it is hard to think that fall and winter weather are just a few months away. This morning was warm and muggy, very much still feeling like a summer morning. The Cicada chorus was loud and constant. Yet shorter days and some tree leaves beginning to turn a more yellow shade of green tell another story.

There is much speculation among birders in the area that we are in line for an early fall migration this year. There has been a serious lull in birding over the last two weeks.

On Saturday, my friend and I went out and there were still lots of Grosbeaks to be found but today, none. It is almost as if someone gathered them all up and moved them. The male Indigo Buntings have all but disapperared however today I did spot two female I-Buntings. A White-eyed Vireo was hunting deep in some trees so the photo is not very good.

We were surprised however to spot a pair of Dickcissel's that arrived early summer. We speculated then from their behavior then they were nesting and since they are still around, suspect indeed they did and will return next year. There have been an increase in hummingbirds probably coming in from further north. There is usually a short period of time their numbers increase then they depart.
My Dad and I were talking and have both noticed a huge increase in the rate the birds are eating seed at the feeders. Are they stocking up for a bad winter? The berries on the dogwood trees are already turing red which is much earlier than usual. I have watched a squirrel today work on one of the trees here in the yard. The Elderberries have all been eaten with the excpetion of a few that have yet to rippen. Many of the plants that provide natural food sources to the birds have simply not produced this year. I suspect this is going to be a difficult winter for the birds.

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