7/5 Spring is a Birdy Memory

 

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Young male Indigo bunting in a grapevine tangle

It was a glorious spring, long and cool as it rarely is in the Ohio valley. The woods were filled with singing birds and families with nothing else to do. Warblers, thrushes and other neotropical travelers rested and foraged, affording a rare chance to see the many birds that don’t nest here. Read More

6/10 The Very Crowded Nest

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What felt like a warm and cozy cradle only a week ago, has now become a prison cell for the gnatcatcher nestlings. There isn’t enough room in the little nest for all four of them, so the oldest ones are continually squirming and stretching and hanging over the edge. Read More

6/6 The Nest, Continued

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Eleven to fifteen days – that’s how long Blue-gray Gnatcatchers incubate their eggs. The nestlings were hatched right on schedule; the one above likely is the firstborn of the brood. Read More

6/1 Done

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Male turkeys don’t gobble all the time. Sometime around now they pack it in for the season, and spend the summer relaxing in the shade. I learned this, and many other fascinating turkey facts from a forest friend who’s also a hunter. Though I did notice big Tom’s gobbling was becoming less frequent, and he wasn’t hanging out by the trail anymore, I didn’t know his looks were changing too.

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5/27 Invasion of the Cuckoos

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For the past few weeks, neotropical migrants have moved through the forest in waves. They pause for a few days of food and rest, then one fine night they’re up and out. By morning a host of new arrivals is busily feeding in the same trees. A group of hungry Yellow billed Cuckoos arrived last week, allowing me the chance to view up close these usually furtive birds. Read More

5/20 The Nest

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It’s baby bird season, and walking down the trail I hear them shrilling all around me from their little nests. Seldom do I actually see the nest; the parent birds are good at making it invisible. Though every spring I usually come across a Cardinal, Robin or Carolina wren nest, that’s about it.

But yesterday I got to see a nest I’ve never observed before, in a place where it was quite unexpected. Read More

5/6 Killer

 

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By now, my readers must think this little forest is an earthly paradise, packed with native plants and animals. The truth is rather different – I’ve only been showing you the good bits. The 20 acres or so now relatively free of invasive plants have been hard won, and some will not agree with our methods. Every acre restored has first been subjected to intensive “management” of the chemical sort, year after year. And there’s a lot more left to do. Read More

4/24 Tom on a Log

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This is not Jake from the previous post. This is Tom, a young gobbler (mature male) who has been hanging out in a different part of the forest. Wednesday at 8:30 am he was standing on a log near the trail, his wattle, caruncle, and snood illuminated by the morning sun. Read More

4/13 The Jake

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It’s an odd feeling when you try to sneak up on a wild turkey, but the turkey just doesn’t care. Yesterday evening I noticed him picking his way through a meadow above the trail, with a casual, self absorbed attitude. As I approached he slowly moved along, keeping about eight feet away. Read More