July has been full of birds. We think our yard has never been as full of birds as this past month. A cake of suet lasts about a day and a half and we’re filling large feeders every 4 days. Catbirds are everywhere, and we are getting up at sunrise to beat them and the robins to our ripening figs.
Birds are still fledging, and some bird houses up and down the street and on the Nature Trail are hosting their third brood of this season. Two of the photos below, shot through our window, are of a baby catbird who wasn’t quite quite ready to fly and wound up in boxwood for a few hours. His parents continued to feed him and eventually he got his wings and left.
Gray Catbird in the blueberries
American Goldfinch on Agastache
Carolina Wrens – nature trail
Cooper’s Hawk right outside the door
Gray Catbird juvenile stranded in the boxwood
Gray Catbird feeding the stranded juvenile
Eastern Bluebird juvenile begging
House Finch gathering
American Goldfinch on Coneflower
What’s missing are butterflies and dragonflies. They were everywhere this time last year and this year we are seeing very few. Maybe the birds are eating the larvae. We are hoping that mosquito spraying is not involved in their disappearance.
In our April 23 blog we talked about the first of the season hummingbirds. Then it seemed as if hummingbird activity dwindled with not many sightings until about a week or so ago. We wondered why.
Fortunately someone posed exactly this question about the drop in hummingbird activity in June followed be a late July spike on GABO, the forum for Georgia Birders Online. The answers were great and helped us understand. We thought you might like to know too.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched on fig limb
During the early spring the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds return from their southern overwintering locations. They come in pairs, both males and females. But beginning in June, you don’t see many females – they are nesting. Another reason that you are less likely to see females at feeders and flowers, as suggested by one of the GABO contributors, is because the females are in search of protein to feed their young. The hummer perched on the fig limb has her tongue out and we speculate that it maybe to round up ants.
Then, at the end of June and into July the relative dearth of hummers is replaced with an abundance as the newly fledged birds begin joining their parents in search of food.