Friday, August 05, 2011

Constant Traffic

.Perhaps because of the drought, our yards continue to host a constant stream of birds from dawn to dusk every day. For the past month we have had 12-15 species and 50+ individuals every day. That's a lot more birds than we normally see in the summer and it includes an unusually high proportion of fledglings and juveniles. Hardly surpisingly, we're getting through large amounts of sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet!

Our normal flock of 8-10 House Finches has increased to 14-15, of which only two are adult males.

One of the young Finches appears to be almost completely blind at present with what I assume is avian pox. When it is on the feeders, I can walk right up to it and put my hand within 6 inches of the bird without it noticing me. I don't know how it manages to survive but it somehow finds its way to the sunflower feeders several times every day and refuses to yield its perch when her Finches try to usurp its place. We're hoping it can stay alive long enough to recover from the pox. 

We seem also to have only two pairs of adult Northern Cardinals but at least half-a-dozen youngsters.

Two pairs of Northern Mockingbirds each have one juvenile, easily identified by their spotted breasts.

One of the juveniles has lost its tail.

A couple of our young Finches have also lost their tails. Seeing this, and noticing a scattering of feathers here and there in our yards over the past week or two, I assumed that our neighborhood cats had been busy. However,  yesterday a Cooper's Hawk swept low over our back yard and perched in a nearby tree and so perhaps this explains the missing tails and scattered feathers.

Our Red-bellied Woodpeckers have a single juvenile and one or other member of the family is usually somewhere in our yards.

In the six years we've lived in Cypress, our most regular and frequent visitors have been Downy Woodpeckers, which absolutely love our suet feeders. I was therefore very disappointed when I hardly ever saw a Downy in the whole of July. I thought they must have moved to another area. So I've been thrilled to see an adult male turn up several times this week.

I've been less thrilled to see that our local population of White-winged Doves is as large as ever. I don't really mind too much when they wander over our lawn but it irritates me that they spend  lot of time - usually unsuccessfully - trying to access our sunflower feeders, frightening away all the other birds as they do so..

Perhaps it is their constant presence that has attracted the attention of the Cooper's Hawk.

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