I've always loved August because, for me, it kicks off the fall season. Yes, the heat and humidity are still high, but you can just feel the restlessness of nature. Various blackbirds and swallows are starting to move around in flocks. Mourning Doves course the skies in ever increasing numbers. And, birds that don't breed in my yard start to show up here.
Today, my 6am walk around the yard did not reveal anything too unusual although I had a barn swallow winging by by 6:15. Things really picked up a bit later, though. I was trying to work about 9:30, but the activity in the apple trees out my office window distracted me. Canada Warbler, American Redstart, Red-eyed Vireo, and Eastern Wood-Pewee had joined the regular resident birds. I took another walk around the yard about 6pm in heat expecting to see little of great interest. Imagine my surprise when I came eye to eye with an adult Hooded Warbler. You just never know what you'll find until you go look. Here is something else I finally made sense out of today. I sometimes using pishing when I see the bushes moving and want to try to get a bird to pop up into view. I don't think I pish a lot, but use it once in a while on just about every walk around I do. I (finally) noticed today that when I pished, the local, still-breeding birds (Song Sparrows, Gray Catbirds, American Robins, House Wrens, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Common Yellowthroats) all responded to the pishing. They popped up looking to see what the fuss was all about. On the other hand, the other birds that were just foraging through my yard (see second paragraph above) all dove for cover or just ignored me completely. I think the reason is that birds that were just foraging through my yard had nothing really to defend from a predator (like a nest or young), and could probably just try to escape the predator without participating in the group defense mobbing behavior. So, instead of helping me get better looks at the migrants, I unintentionally made it harder to see them. My friendly advice is: when the calendar turns to August, use more patience and less pishing. Good birding! Jody Jody W. Enck, PhD Conservation Social Scientist, and Founder of the Sister Bird Club Network 607-379-5940 -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://firstname.lastname@example.org/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds 3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --