Welcome summer! My favorite things about this time of the year are sunshine, long days and dry binoculars! After work and chores, there is still plenty of time to go birding on the beach, in the forest and on my own back porch.
For me, each season has a special event in birding. The fall has massive migration and sometimes very rare birds. Winter has bare branches on trees and brush that make it easier to see birds. Springtime has more migration and all the birds in their finest colors and loudest songs for breeding (and easy location for birders!). But summertime has babies!
Although it’s been a bit flaky this year, I have spent hours watching the Seaside osprey camera. Betty laid three eggs in early May and one has hatch (the others were sadly lost). It’s was fascinating to watch the chick eat bits of fish at just three hours old!
There is something very satisfying for me to know where birds are nesting and to hear the hungry chicks chirping for their meals as the parents visit. I have three nests that I know about in yard this year and all of them have young ones! Two are barn swallows, between the rafters of the house, beautiful and amazing feats of building with mud and grasses. And the nest box that usually has tree swallows has house sparrows this year. It is so much fun to listen and watch the feeding process. The adults approach the nests with food in their beaks and the chicks start the soft hard begging of “feed me, feed me.”
Soon these babies will fledge and spend a few precarious days on the ground gaining strength to fly. This is a very dangerous time for them as they are susceptible to attack from predators, mostly cats. That’s why I advocate keeping cats indoors for the months of June and July. This would help the bird populations very much.
Sadly, I have seen no action at my martin houses this year. After having two scouts checked it out last year, I thought for sure I would have a whole community in 2017. Maybe next year!
The beautiful Martin house at the Lagoon Trail in Cannon Beach has residents, but they are not martins. They are the smaller cousin, tree swallows. Experts think this happens because the lodging is placed to early in the season. There are plans to remedy that next year.
And remember to join us on the First Sunday Cannon Beach Bird Walks on Aug. 6 and Sept. 3. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Lagoon Trail on Second Street. We generally walk around the lagoons and along Ecola Creek, mostly level easy walking. Bring binoculars and wear appropriate clothing. Everyone is welcome!
Susan has spent her life enjoying the great outdoors from the lakes and woods of Northern Minnesota, Mount Adams in Washington and now the Oregon beach environs. After spending many pleasurable hours driving her avid birder parents around, she has taken up birding as a passion. Susan resides on Neawanna Creek in Seaside where her backyard is a birder’s paradise.