Another cold front this past weekend caused another fallout of spring migrants: more warblers (Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Nashville, Tennessee, American Redstart--and FOY Canada); more vireos (Philadelphia, Red-eyed, FOY Warbling), more orioles and grosbeaks and tanagers (in far fewer numbers than last week, but still arriving). The flycatchers and their relatives were here to confuse and delight me: Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Eastern Phoebes, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and Eastern Kingbirds started to trickle in and empidonax flycatchers in their maddening (because all so similar) variations. (Luckily, some of the empids were calling, identifying themselves as an Acadian Flycatcher and a Least. A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher had a definitive yellow throat, though its belly was not as yellow as the Acadian's.) Chimney Swifts were passing through and swooping over the river, as were a variety of swallows. A few thrushes feasted on berries of fiddlewood and anacua trees.
It was a good weekend for me to sit in our bird garden with binoculars, camera, and I-phone. It wasn't so good for our little screech-owls, however. Their fallout was of a distinctly different kind.
Yesterday I was walking up the driveway when I happened to notice a little face looking out of the owl house. It was smaller than the adult face I usually see peering at me. Before I could even stop or slow my gait, the little owl flew or fell out of the box, landing about 10 feet away. It could not fly well at all, and I wonder if it isn't too early for it to be out. The same birds that are so upset when the adult owls fly out of the box were just as upset with this baby. Mockingbirds, Hooded Orioles, Curve-billed Thrashers immediately started fussing. Green Jays and Black-crested Titmice added their calls to the cacophony.
(Enlarge this photo by clicking on it and you'll be able to find the owl among the grass and oak tree saplings.)
|Northern Kiskadee nest in Ebony tree|
I've been second-guessing myself about the wisdom of putting a nest box in our narrow yard where it would be near other nests and next to a driveway where we drive and walk past it several times a day.
|Hooded Oriole nest under frond of a Sabal Palm|
The Eastern Screech-owl in this photograph was being mobbed by several species of birds. Usually it sits unperturbed despite the ruckus, but here a Curve-billed Thrasher gets its attention by spreading wide its wing and tail feathers in an attempt to look larger and more threatening. The owl opened its beak and hissed in return, and the encounter was a standoff.
It's always a dilemma deciding what to do about birds that fall out of nests or injured birds My son's family found three robins that had fallen out of a nest at their house a few days ago. The nest had a large hole in it. They repaired it as best they could and put it back in the tree. The baby robins were obviously not fledgling age yet. It is harder to tell if the screech-owl is old enough to fledge. I usually just move birds to the safest location I can when I find them in trouble. I don't want to make things worse by interfering. But I want to help if I can.
|the little hummer traveled to see grandchildren with us|
This is not the kind of fallout I wish for.