The pace of bird life around our place is picking up rapidly these days. Territories are being carved out and defended and songs are getting louder (not to mention, being broadcast at earlier hours each day). This morning we watched one of our resident song sparrows gathering up big mouthfuls of grass, carrying them off like a broad Fu Manchu moustache, to be used as construction material.
Pretty soon it’ll be the time when all those strange looking babies appear - oversized, gangly birds that don’t look quite like any species that we know. At first it’s easy to mistake them for newly arrived migrants. It’s only when they tag along behind a recognizable bird, hopping about and cheeping incessantly to gain the adult’s attention, that we can clearly see they’re the older birds’ offspring. By watching who’s following who, we can figure out which of the youngsters is a sparrow, towhee, junco, finch, robin or other avian variety.
It must be exhausting for bird parents. The Spotted Towhee in the photo above (taken in a previous summer) was, like many father birds, intensely busy - working hard all day long to feed his overly demanding chicks. He seemed not to care that the grain in the bowl was intended for a much larger animal – anything will do when Junior is screaming to be fed!
Clearly, these are busy times in Birdland.