Friday, June 15, 2012

Yard Babies

As usual at this time of year, our yards are full of baby birds. The first to appear were Carolina Wrens but that was weeks ago and I haven't seen a young one lately. There are certainly lots of other youngsters around now, though.

Our most plentiful visitors this spring and early summer have been White-winged Doves. Here's an adult with a juvenile. They're easy to tell apart because the juveniles haven't yet developed those wonderful red legs and feet.

Close behind in terms of numbers - unfortunately! - have been House Sparrows. We have half-a-dozen males. 

We now also have several juveniles, who perch on our fence and scream to be fed.

One pair of Northern Mockingbirds produced a youngster some weeks ago but now another pair has produced two juveniles, easily distinguishable by their spotted breasts and yellow-rimmed beaks.

Our resident Downy Woodpeckers have produced only one chick and they seem to have already left it to fend for itself.

I'm not sure how many Northern Cardinal young we have at present but there are at least two males and a female. The young males look rather comical with their blotchy-colored plumage and beaks.

The Blue Jays that hang out in our neighborhood seem to have had a successful breeding season, too.

Unfortunately, not all our bird news is good news. Last week we spotted a male House Finch that was virtually totally blind as a result of contracting conjunctivitis. 

As we haven't seen him this week, he probably either starved to death or else fell victim to cats or to the Cooper's Hawk that has been hanging out around our street for the past several weeks. A handful of other House Finches continue to visit our yards and, at least so far, they seem to be healthy. 

Well, that's all our yardbird news for now. When you read this, we'll be checking out birding sites down in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. With any luck, I'll have some interesting birds to report on when we return on Sunday.

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