Big Country Audubon Society

Big Country Blog

Hot Chicks of July

Swainson's Hawk

The effects of July’s 100 degree plus temperatures were evident everywhere; bird-life slowed down, water is receding, and fire danger is rising. The birds aren’t singing as vigorously as it takes too much energy, and besides, most have now finished raising their young and defending their territories. Three out of four nesting bluebird pairs abandoned their clutch of eggs. The eggs were either infertile when laid or became infertile due to the excessive heat. The older Swainson’s chick’s first fledgling flight was down to a puddle of cool water on the golf course where it sipped water for the very first time. It struck me the chick had never tasted water; parents can bring food but not water. At least two Mississippi Kite chicks have succumbed to exposure. I watched one kite parent bring a fat bug to her nest but then act confused when she couldn’t drop the bug into a gaping mouth. She flew off a distance and called to the chick, flew back to the nest and tried again to feed the young, but gave up after a few minutes and flew off to eat the bug herself.

beaver-dyess

The beavers are coping with falling water levels and rising pond temperatures. We’re all apprehensive about the success of their continued existence. But life goes on. The mockingbirds, cardinals, and doves are still raising young and some people have a sense of humor about the heat. We all know high temperatures are a part of the Big Country and they will eventually drop. Pictures of the “hot chicks” of July are now posted, along with other interesting sightings during the latter part of July.