Eastern Bluebird 2nd brood fledglings 8/12/16

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Eastern Bluebird pairs usually have 2 and occasionally even 3 broods per summer. Fledglings from early broods sometimes help their parents raise the young of a later brood, and fledglings from the last brood sometimes stay with their parents through the winter. Populations in southern Canada and Northern US states are entirely migratory while in states not very far south of us they are year round birds. Here in New England we have a mix, most populations migrate short to medium distances and a few year-round residents. Juveniles have white-spotted breasts and are mostly a drab gray on top with just a hint of blue in the wings. These 2 juves on my neighbors chimney had 2 siblings lower down on the roof, and all were being tended to and watched over by their Royal Blue dad.

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird juve 8/8/16

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In August my backyard is full of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds visiting the feeder and garden flowers, all diving and chasing each other. This juve among the yucca flowers was chased off by an adult male only moments after my shutter clicked. They are inquisitive but aggressive, and they are peculiarly solitary compared to other birds. For one thing, Ruby-throated hummers don’t form pair bonds. Migrating males arrive early and take the best territories, while females arrive later and set up their own separate territories. Courtship only lasts a few moments and both sexes may mate with several partners in neighboring territories. Females do all the nestbuilding, brooding, and chick-rearing, and can raise several broods in a summer. Males begin migrating south in July, many males you see visiting feeders today are migrants from farther north and many or our summer breeding males are already on their way to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

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Eastern Screech Owl red morph

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Eastern Screech Owls are woodland birds that come in either red or gray morphs as well as some intermediary brownish plumages. Mixed pairs do occur. They are stocky ear-tufted owls with yellow eyes and are only about 8 inches tall.

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Wild Turkey hen and poults 7/10/16

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Wild Turkeys make the rounds of my neighborhood regularly. Being omnivorous they prefer a mix of hardwood forest and open areas where they can forage for a variety of food sources as the seasons change. The big toms have nothing to do with the rearing of the poults which are “nidifugous,” meaning they leave the nest shortly after hatching. Young poults stay with their moms and as they grow, the hens and their broods join up into larger groups. In the 1500s, Wild Turkeys from Mexico were imported to Europe and the Middle East and became very popular on account of their size, and from these domestic turkeys were bred. Meanwhile, Wild Turkey populations slowly disappeared from most of their original range on account of overhunting by the early 20th century, but since the 1940s have been successfully re-introduced so they can now be found in all the US states except Alaska.

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House Wren pair 7/9/16

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In New England House Wrens are migratory, but south of Mexico and all the way to Tierra del Fuego they are year-round birds. They come in many subspecies varying in both color and song, with some of the Caribbean subspecies being endangered or even extinct. But together, House Wrens are the most widely distributed bird in both Americas, missing only from the far north. This pair built a nest and raised a brood in a clay pot underneath my deck. I’d characterize their song as a loud and insistent burble, repeated several times a minute.

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Northern Waterthrush 7/8/16

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Northern Waterthrushes look like a small forest thrush but are actually a large warbler closely related to the Ovenbird and the similar-looking Louisiana Waterthrush, but both of those species have pale pink legs. This one is awash in reflected green light, but they have mostly brown topsides and cream colored underparts with heavily streaked breasts (the woodland thrushes are spotted not streaked). They forage for invertebrates on the forest floor with a constant tail-bobbing habit and occasionally wander into the water and sometimes even catch small fish. They breed from the Maritimes to Alaska, and winter in the Caribbean and Central America. Like Ovenbirds they are loud singers but are more musical. Sexes are alike.

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Evening Grosbeak 6/3/16

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