[Tweeters] Bombing Robins - Yard Changes - Babies (kinda long)

Rob Conway robin_birder at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 18 01:07:45 PDT 2014

For about the past month whenever we have gone out our front
door there have been a pair of adult American Robins showing aggression toward
us, flying close, vocalizing loudly, and
generally showing signs of defending territory and/or a nest or young. Finally yesterday I found the cause, a Robins
nest with three half grown birds right on the top of the ivy covered brick wall
that makes up the outside of the front porch.
I was watering my potted plants on the porch and tried to peek to find
the birds – the noise I made in the ivy probably made them think I was mom or
dad, but when they saw me they absolutely froze in their open mouth – open eyes
– necks outstretched position, too funny.

The babies are at the cuteugly stage – all mouth and eyes
and some starts at feathers. Now that we
know where they are we can watch through our front porch window to see the
parents feeding these voracious little guys and fending off whatever is alive
and comes anywhere within 30 feet of the nest.
Always kind of fun to have an observable nest without needing to disturb
the residents.

Birds around the house have been changing. As of this week I have no swallows where
earlier in the spring I had hundreds – I’m guessing nesting is through and they
have headed to the grassy meadows along the Washougal and Columbia Rivers to
feed on the numerous hatching insects. Interestingly I did have 5 black swifts up very high on a recent cloudy morning. I
have as many as 12 Black Headed Grosbeaks visiting my feeders at once now – 5 adults
and 7 young. Talk about eating out of
house and home these birds along with 20 or so beautiful House Finches (all color phases) are
going through 3-5 pounds of seed daily.
The Scrub and Steller’s Jays are eating almost a pound of peanuts a day
out of a feeder – they were gobbling that many in 10 minutes in an open tray.

I’ve been concentrating more on the birds on the edge of my
lot along the forest and creek boundaries and have expanded my yard list in
doing so. I’ve added Olive-sided , Willow,
and Western Flycatchers, Western Wood Pee-Wee, a Say’s Phoebe, and what I think
is a Hannond’s Flycatcher (not a good enough look). There is a Hermit Thrush who works my worm
filled compost pile daily. Cedar
Waxwings are chowing down on red berries and flycatching (also hitting
windows). The White-breasted Nuthatch continues
visiting the peanut feeder. I found
House Wrens using a less than ¾” hole in a small dead fir tree as a nest site –
babies following them around this week. A pair of Bewick’s Wren were nesting in
a small house in a clematis hedge, but they have disappeared altogether. A family of Brown Creepers left the bark
crack nest yesterday and already seem to be dispersing.

I still have Ruby Crowned Kinglets for some reason and the
number of Bushtits indicates a very successful nesting season. The mixed fall/winter flocks are already starting to form with Bushtits, Warblers, Kinglets, Chickadees, Creepers, Nuthatches, and others moving quickly from tree to tree gleaning the many many insects that are at their peak. Concentrating on warblers for a couple of
mornings I confirmed Yellow, Yellow Rumped (both Audubon’s and Myrtle), Orange
Crowned, Wilson’s, Townsends, Black Throated Grey, Nashville, Hermit (way way
way up), MacGillivray’s, and Common Yellowthroat in the riparian strip of
willow, vine maple, bigleaf maple, Oregon ash, cottonwood, aspen, and
ornamental trees along the creek and open space boundary. I found Huttons and Red-eyed Vireo and hear Warbling Vireo all day, but can't seem to get them in scope. Red Crossbills continue to visit the stream/waterfall/tiny ponds on a daily basis (20 or so). I'm down to just 5 Anna's and 2 Rufous Hummers at the feeders. Straggler birds include a couple of Western Tanagers over the past week and a single Bullock's Oriole. The sky is filled with hawk calls all day long as our Red-Tailed pair has for the second year in a row raised 3 gorgeous kids in the open space above the house all of which vocalize constantly while flying, perched, eating, sleeping...just all of the time from 3;45 AM to 10PM. The babes are now perching regularly in the 2 very big snags at the edge of my lot giving me great looks. Two of the birds are very dark with a neat blackish collar and nearly unstreaked breast while the 3rd bird is a typical red tail with bright red tail, brownish flight feathers, streaked breast with weak collar and an acrobatic streak. These adolescents have daily encounters with Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles, Red Shouldered Hawks, Ravens, and on occassion other large Buteos...I think I'm going to start calling the canyon in front of me Hawk Point. Enjoying the birds! Rob

Rob Conway
Camas, WA
45.58°N 122.44°W - elevation 310 ft.
robin_birder at hotmail.com

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