An Economy of Birds 29 June 2015
Black-and-white Warbler, female, gathering food to feed her fledglings
Every once in a while, optimism triumphs over the ever-present specters of global climate change. A perfect summer, a perfect breeding season for insect-eating, forest-nesting birds, has come and gone. Last summer, for an entire month, I conducted breeding bird surveys in the Brule River State Forest. In the "kick off" year of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, I lingered well into July, finishing around the 12th. Birds were abundant, and one beautiful fact continued to rise to the top--the conditions in the Brule had been perfect. Every species of Neotropical migrant bird seemed to have fledglings to feed. It seemed that none of them were parasitic cowbirds. Warblers used their energies in raising their own young. Small flocks of bombarding fledglings told of success well beyond the grasp of the predators. Wood warblers were vigorous and in great numbers. A particular tent site along the waters of the Brule had, in a single moment, wood warblers of five different species, all of them feeding three or four fledglings of their own. Wonderful birding mayhem! A float down the river revealed the same--fledgies everywhere! Life in abundance!
The thrashing of the caterpillar...
Red-breasted Nuthatch, recently fledged and very close to the 300mm lens!
All images were made with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 300mm L IS lens, a camera and lens that found their way to the bottom of the Brule. ...But that is another story...
American Woodcock at the end of a busy day...