About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Sounds of summer

photo from Wikimedia Commons
Is anyone still hearing the robin singing in the morning? American Robins are wrapping up their nesting season. By August robins will be leaving our yards and begin roaming around in flocks. I do still hear the cardinals, chickadees and Chipping Sparrows singing in the morning.

On the walk to work there is a definite increase in American Goldfinches singing. Males sing a long and variable series of twitters and warbles and their call sounds like "honey bee?" It's very sweet sounding. They are starting to nest now so expect to see a lot more visiting the finch feeders!

I'm always listening for new birds. I was recently surprised on different parts of my walk by the calls of baby jays, crows, and hawks that were just learning how to spreading their wings under the supervision of mom and dad. And I had someone tell me they heard an Eastern Whip-poor-will passing through already.
      
Then there is the wren. Our House Wren sings so much that it's when he stops singing that I notice the quiet. I love his background music. He's successfully nested in our yard for several years now and only stops his songs to bug hunt.

Chippewa natives referred to the House Wrens as O-du-na'-mis-sug-ud-da-we'-shi, which translates into “making a big noise for its size”. When they arrive in May, a male House Wren sings 600 or more songs/hr especially in morning. Males sing less after pairing (usually < 100 songs/hr), especially when actively feeding young. During incubation, however, mated males may increase song output to attract a secondary mate. Also, in double-brooded populations, the male may desert his mate in the late nestling or fledgling stage of the first reproductive cycle and begin singing extensively again, presumably to attract a new mate.

(The wren information is from Johnson, L. S. (2014). House Wren (Troglodytes aedon), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.380)


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