Grasshopper Sparrow with ... a grasshoper!
While a few migratory bird species are just getting started, some will soon disperse. In fact, Common Grackles are already forming flocks. Yellow Warblers begin to clear out of their breeding territories mid July. Species with multiple broods will continue producing young throughout summer. A bird carrying food (like this Grasshopper Sparrow) can infer the presence of young, but it might also mean courtship feeding. I highly suspect young, though, because it was particularly concerned with keeping an eye on me – perhaps being cautious I wouldn't follow where it was bringing the meal in order to protect the nest. I got the picture and left so it could get back to work without having to worry about me.
Sedge Wren's bill is quicker than the eye!
During two hours of birding yesterday, I tallied 64 species at Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 8 of which were sparrows, 5 swallows, and 3 wrens. The lower-mandible of the a Sedge Wren moves so fast while singing that it's nearly impossible to freeze its action even when photographing them under good lighting conditions. We're a little low on Sedge Wren numbers, but I think more will arrive soon. Actually, I think it's the anomaly when they're in high numbers at the prairie in late May. Like Pheasant Branch, Pope Farm Park tends to experience a surge in Sedge Wren numbers near the end of June or early July. Young Sedge Wrens are among the most curious birds I've ever encountered. It's not uncommon for them to come within a few feet when inspecting me for threat-level. One move, however, and they quickly retreat deep into the grass and wildflowers.
Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Jun 21, 2011 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
All images © 2011 Mike McDowell