Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Doo, Doo, Doo, Lookin' Out My Backdoor

Just walked outside in time to see a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk fly over. I was alerted by its strident shrieking. Blue Jays can do some very convincing imitations of this call (as do the Steller's Jays back in California), and when I take the time to look that's what I usually find - the jay, not the hawk. There are plenty of jays in our neighborhood, and after the Red-shoulder had gone they were again trying to fool me with their phony hawk calls.

I also saw a Mississippi Kite fly over. According to the TOS Handbook of Texas Birds we are far to the south of the kite's normal breeding range, although isolated populations exist along the Gulf Coast. Spring migration is over, and considering that I've had previous summer sightings here, I wonder if they might breed locally.

Other birds seen while walking around my yard included a Red-headed Woodpecker throttling a big bug, a female Summer Tanager, a Brown Thrasher, and a newly fledged Northern Cardinal. A Carolina Wren was lurking in the undergrowth along the driveway. This is one of my favorite backyard birds, small in size but loaded with personality. They have a wide repertoire of vocalizations (and I used to think Bewick's Wrens were versatile!). Inquisitive best describes their character. They like to investigate rubbish piles, open containers, old sheds, etc. Every now and then I'm surprised when one suddenly dashes out of some confined space it's managed to sneak into.


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