The above-left chick was first to leave home, surviving the two-story drop from its nest on an upper-level light beneath our roof eave. Its siblings, above right, took a little longer to get up their nerve. Anthropomorphization or not, I just love the expression on that chick’s face.
Our local pair of broad-winged hawks, which we’ve been watching carrying food into a nest site somewhere on the ridge west of our field, seem to have successfully raised their chick as well. We were able to observe some of the first flights of the young hawk; the parents continued to bring it food while teaching it to fly and hunt. They use a very different “language” when interacting with their chick, just as domestic birds do, and it was a real treat to observe this first-hand. After a few weeks of all three cruising together along the field, they seem to have partially separated, as one (we presume the juvenile) has started exploring other areas of the farm that we haven’t seen the adults on all year (they’re still in their old territory).
Other, somewhat less welcome, species have also been around. Below left, a cowbird chick in an indigo bunting nest. Cowbirds don’t raise their own young, but parasitize other species by leaving their eggs in the nests of smaller birds. When the larger cowbird chick hatches, it demands and gets all the attention of the parents to the detriment of the natural young. Under this big-mouthed brute are two much smaller bunting chicks it’s all but trampled to the bottom of the nest.
Below right, our first skunk of the year, in a field live trap intended for raccoons. I draped an old sheet over the trap to quiet it (and block any emissions), hooked a long rope to one end, and gently dragged it off away from the vegetables before gingerly opening the trap and letting it loose. I’m really glad it didn’t cut loose on any produce.
PRESENT IN JULY (42 species)
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Black and White Warbler (heard)
Black-Crowned Night Heron (pretty sure I saw a pair fly over one evening)
Juvenile Bald Eage (we both saw this, but it flew over too fast)
Eastern Bluebird (think we heard multiple times, but no definite record)
MISSING FROM LAST MONTH