As the July moon sets early in the western sky, the birds all across the area are hastily feeding their nestlings; juveniles are learning to forage for food; and the adult birds are molting to prepare for migration.
The Swainson’s Hawks in the nest at Dyess have changed noticeably. Gone is the downy white fluff, replaced by adult plumage. One is now out of the nest and perched on supporting branches. The younger hawk will soon follow its older sibling’s example and leave the nest. In the next ten days the juveniles will prepare for their first flight by facing into the wind and flapping their wings until an updraft floats them skyward.
At Cedar Gap Farm numerous juveniles are being seen. Their identification is challenging to birders. Some have no color, others have extra spots, and some look ratty, showing only gray spots where feathers used to be. Now is the time to enjoy our summer breeders for soon they will be gone. The Bullock’s Orioles are beginning their trip south, male Painted Buntings will leave in August, and the Ash-throated Flycatchers are not as numerous as they used to be. With the subtle shift of breeders moving south comes the anticipation of post breeding dispersal, or in other words, maybe something good (out of range) will show up.
So enjoy these last weeks of summer and keep your eyes and binoculars on the birds. And take a look at the newest pictures of the juveniles and nestlings in the area.