Last week-end my wife and I went birding with the Rochester Birding Association at Eastman-Durand Park. We continued to notice what we have been observing over the past several weeks–the woods and fields are rather quiet; when you do hear birds you don’t often see them! We attributed their hiding to the thick foliage of late summer. Indeed, you need a machete to walk some of the paths that were easy walk-throughs in late spring.
Walking along, hearing one bird after another, I asked why they don’t show themselves. As is so often the case, we were told it’s all about sex, territory, and reproduction. You see, by late summer the kids (chicks) have “fledged” so the parents are much less active. Since there is no competition for mates, nesting locations, and surrounding territory, the birds eat more, and fly and sing less (singing impresses mates and establishes territory–but takes lots of energy). The result is less bird visibility and more calorie/energy building for the fall migration.
Here are some shots from late spring. Aside from the thinner foliage, note all but the Red-bellied were photographed while singing.
The great imitator.
The Thrasher sings a series of melodious phrases, each only about two or three times. It does not imitate other birds, however.
Turning to the late summer crowd, some birds did reveal themselves and even sat for their photos. Hummingbirds often escape detection because we take them for large insects. Once identified, however, they often return to the same spot, increasing the chances of a photo opportunity.
I call this one “Dropping In.” Okay, I was lucky. Less singing–more eating. Getting out early in the morning seems to be even more important in late summer if you want to increase your chances of seeing birds–breakfast apparently is their most important meal.
Again, a tougher shot than the spring–this Red-bellied was much higher in the tree than many we saw during the spring.
What’s been your experience with spring versus late summer for birding?