Following are several things I learned (or had known, forgot, and learned again) the week of May 25. Hopefully you will learn a few things also.
1. Early Saturday morning I saw a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. I couldn’t tell if she was carrying anything like nesting material. It seemed late in the season to see a Grosbeak, especially a female. Then later on the day I saw three males. So did I really know S&D (status and distribution) on Rose-breasted Grosbeaks? My recollection was that I might see one or two during the summer. But was I mixing up all the years I lived in Illinois?
So I checked. Johnson County is on the southern edge of Rose-breasted Grosbeak’s breeding range which means they will be seen by a few people in Central and Southern Indiana during the breeding season. I have seem a few the last couple of years but the sightings were early June and late July. So I will keep frequenting the area to see if I can get proof of breeding.
2. I came across two male Willow Flycatchers calling. I wondered if I could use them to track back to a nest?
Nope. According to The Birds of North America Online and I quote “Female selects site, collects nest material, and builds nest while male perches nearby.”
I’m sure there is a joke there describing female-male human relations but I will let it pass. I will look for a nest the old fashioned way. Get lucky.
3. Keeping on the nesting topic I learned that both Eastern Towhees and Field Sparrows start the breeding season building their nests on the ground. The later in the breeding season it gets they tend to build nests higher and higher in bushes. First starting in lower bush branches and then lastly slightly higher branches.
4. Put a pair of dry socks and shoes in the trunk if you are going to walk in high wet grass all morning.
5. I learned that Wood Thrushes do sing out in the open. I don’t think I have ever seen a Wood Thrush singing in the open for any length of time. Let alone at the top of a taller tree. This guy was singing for at least 20 minutes. But he never did get out in the sun for a better picture.
6. In the really “too much information”, The Birds of North America Online has a small section devoted to preening which I have always passed over. But Saturday I had the opportunity to watch a Common Yellowthroat preening and wanted to know what they had to say.
“Preens at all times of day. Normally scratches head with foot over wing, but may (rarely) scratch under wing.”
And I was glad to see that this Common Yellowthroat was normal on his scratching.