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Posted by: atowhee | March 8, 2015

HORMONES AND HARMONY

The spring hormones are at flood stage in many of the birds who live here in Ashland year round. With the flow of hormones comes the flow of music, birdsong and bird noise abounds around our house right now. The turkey strut is at its max right now, the toms with blue faces and fanned wings dragging on the gravel.  The early morning gobbles signal they are out and in showy competition for the day and the hens.  The Flicker is drumming and calling, the Downy sticking to his drumming.  Down at the pond I heard my first Song Sparrow song.  Then there was action at the House Sparrow house. I’ve been seeing bees and butterflies at mid-day and today my first swallowtail of the year fluttered past.  Speaking of swallow tails…there were at least four individual Tree Swallows passing the pond at mid-day, each alone, not in a flock.  Headin’ north. Some Tree Swallows nest along the tree line in northern Alaska and Yukon.   For the first time this year I saw a mated pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches feeding together.  More nuthatches on the way.RB-FLUTR TWO RB-CU1 RB FEEDING RB DUO3 RB DUO1 RB DUO EATIN  P2340912 (1280x960)Here it seems I can note the greater bulk of gthe male on the right and the slightly bluish tint of the female’s cap on the left.  His cap is a deep black and his orange seems slightly deeper as is true with male Robins, lowland bluebirds and Varied Thrush.rbn pair1 (1280x960) rbn pair3 (1280x960)Even though they are apparently paired up, I still hear them dueting on their little tin horns in the conifers around our place.  Their presence makes my suet bill a little less painful. Nuthatches are found in rocky hillsides and temperate forests, never in the tropics. rbn pair4 (1280x960)Even smaller suet fans: Bushtits  in our garden. SUET TRIOBT ON SQUARE TURK BUSTLEThere is territorial gobbling all day long on the hill above our house these days. TURKS TWO2 TURKS-TWOThese images have been lightened considerable as this secretive thrush, Varied by name, loves to scratch around in the duff beneath dense foliage.  In this first picture I caught this male making his annoyance call, a smoochy “tsk” note. vath calls (1280x960) VT DARK VT FLTR VT FRNT VT I-BROW VT IN DUF VT IN DUFF2 VT IN DUFF3An early returned Band-tail. BTP THRU WINDO DOWNY UP DUP LEGO LEGO TRES TRAYThe lesser Goldfinches have begun singing their sweet, whispery little melodies with many notes seemingly jumbled together.  I suspect little birds like the goldfinch and many wrens live so quickly and hear so precisely that they can pick out individual notes.  It all moves too fast for our clumsy mammalian aural abilities. Below, “The Sleeper.” OWL NAP

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