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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The migration and the molt continue

What a difference a week makes. Last week I told you about the extreme hummingbird activity that was dominating my backyard. You could hardly step outside without having two or three hummers zip by in front of your face. We had both Rufous and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and they put on quite a show for us.

Well, things are different this week. Much quieter. Last week's wave of hummers has passed on through. This week I've only noticed two of the tiny birds in the backyard - one female and one male Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Here's the female sitting on one of her favorite observation perches where she is able to keep an eye on the entire backyard and especially her favorite Hamelia bush and sugar water feeder.

There may be - likely are - other hummers around, but I've only seen these two at the same time and can confirm their presence. Tomorrow, though, may be different as the migration continues and the cast of characters changes daily.


Though the hummingbird activity has slowed down, there are still plenty of birds and plenty of action in the yard, but it is mostly the permanent resident birds that dominate the scene.

At the front yard feeder, the House Finches continue to be omnipresent. There are at least a half-dozen that visit the feeder daily.

This old feeder has served the birds - and squirrels! - in my yard for many years and it is showing its age and slowly falling apart. I have ordered a new feeder which should be delivered in a few days and a squirrel baffle! This will be a shock to my little furry friends who have always considered this their feeder. But never fear - I've also purchased a couple of squirrel feeders with which I hope to placate their hurt feelings.

All around the yard, the summer molt is continuing and the birds are looking really scraggly. I haven't yet seen any bald-headed cardinals or jays as we have in some years, but there are several more weeks of molt to go.

Though not bald, this Blue Jay is certainly showing signs of the molt.

The rattiest-looking birds though are the Common Grackles which continue to surprise me by showing up in my yard in big numbers.

This young one looks pretty unkempt with his missing feathers. (No, he's not "singing," he's panting.)

This one might be a tiny bit further along, but he's still missing feathers, too.

The only birds that I see in the yard that are not showing visible signs of the molt are the Mourning and White-winged Doves.

This White-wing was busily preening its feathers...

...making sure...

...that every single one of them is in place.

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