Early June brings much bird activity in our yards, on the farm, and in the many parks and areas with water – pretty much wherever we go!
I only have a little room here to review some of the action here but hoping some of it jibes with what you are seeing.
Rose-breasted grosbeaks are enjoying sunflower seeds at the feeders and will all summer if you are a steady supplier.
Goldfinches have eased up significantly at the feeders as they are thoroughly enjoying the huge dandelion seed crop right now. They will be back to your nyjer and sunflower feeders, but not as heavily as in early May. Don’t give up on them. They start nesting later in the summer. You may still have an occasional indigo bunting coming. Orioles have dazzled us with their beauty and numbers and are now cutting way back on the feeder action. The nicer warmer weather has brought on blossoming trees which generate nectar and insects and they are also nesting right now.
Many people tell me that their orioles left and wonder how far north they went. The orioles didn’t go anywhere. They are still in your yard and are scattered around the countryside – each nesting in their own territory. Some will continue to come for grape jelly and oranges, but nothing like in early and mid-May when it was cold. Keep feeding and see what happens.
Hopefully you had a chance to see the very dark brick-red male orchard oriole?
Scarlet tanagers are here in good numbers but rarely come to feeders, though Virginia Tiede in Bethany area had one eating grape jelly.
Others have mockingbirds “guarding” the jelly. Catbirds and thrashers are eating suet and jelly. And woodpeckers also eating jelly and sugar water – but still especially love the raw peanuts.
Nesting season is well under way. A retired teacher on Crossett Road in Geneseo has a pair of cardinals nesting on her wreath on her door!
Mourning doves are nesting in barns and under eaves as well as the more traditional evergreen boughs. Robins are nesting everywhere. Orioles have built their nests. Ron near Genesee County Park has orioles nesting in a blue spruce tree! Look for the sac-like nest. We have managed to attract a pair or two of purple martins at our Silver Lake property and I we have a couple pairs of cliff swallows nesting under the eave of our old dairy barn – a very welcome addition. Cliff swallows have a buffy or pale rump and forehead and a mostly square tail – definitely different from the barn, tree, and rough-winged swallows. It’s so nice to have them.
The many warblers, vireos, flycatchers, thrushes, and others are busy nesting. It’s a great time of year to go for walks to enjoy the world of nature. You are bound to see something interesting no matter where you go. It’s a sad time for several birds that nest in the hay fields as the hay is harvested – hopefully they move to other fields that aren’t harvested until later.
Ponds, streams, bogs, and marshes are all great places to see a variety of birds. Recently my friend Rick and I had fun watching the Sora and the Virginia rails in the marshes – very neat but secretive birds. The May warbler migration was quite phenomenal this year. That surge of warbler action around May 16 to the 20 was awesome – so many species of beautiful birds – well into the 20’s on warbler species alone. Many warblers remain and will nest in their preferred habitats around here.
Bluebirds are enjoying the better weather for nesting after yet another rough April-early May that wiped out most active nestings. Now the bluebirds are working on their second try and are doing much better. Tree swallows are also using the boxes and in some cases chickadees and wrens and English sparrows. Hummingbirds are around and are so much fun to watch at the feeders and in the flower beds. Cedar waxwings have pretty much broken up their small flocks and are thinking about nesting. They will be looking for the ripening berries and cherries to feed their young a little later in June and July.
As you plan your next gardening project remember to plant some shrubs and trees that the birds like such as berry producing crab apples, hollies, service berry, winterberry, etc. You will probably encounter waxwings and several other fruit eating birds when you go berry picking in summer.
Enjoy all that Mother Nature is willing to give you at this most wonderful time of the year. Remember to join me soon for a bird and garden walk. Just call or text and we will try to fit you in…you can reach me at 585-813-2676. Happy spring everyone!
Hans Kunze is an avid birder and nature enthusiast who has been writing about birds and nature for more than 30 years. He writes for The Daily News twice each month. Write him at 6340 LaGrange Rd., Wyoming, NY 14591 or call (585) 813-2676.