Date: 7/6/18 5:51 am
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] Yard birding this summer, hawks and stuff
Was out walking around the property yesterday to see what the rain brought
in and had 2 just fledged cooper's hawks on a branch. They were joined by a
third and then a fourth. Had no idea there was a nest there. Saw an adult
fly there a couple of times and one kekked from the area a couple of times
but the pair from across the bayou had moved further away and had young out
hunting some time ago. The babies sounded almost exactly like
scaly-breasted munias and when smaller in the nest I put them down as
munias several days.

Red-tailed hawks across the bayou also did well. They had moved further
away due to bulldozers and a new house replacing a flooded one. First heard
a faint sound and then one youngster moved back to the trees where chicks
in the past sat and begged. A week later a second bird joined it. One of
the parents twice caught largish snakes on the bayou bank; the adult
carried them off with chicks following.

The barred owls had 2 young raised early this year. Usually they fledge
just before memorial day. The youngsters are learning to hoot with the
parents and they all get together early at night for a song fest.

Mississippi kites moved even further away and I have only seen feeding
birds well to the south and they may have nested in a residential area in
that direction.

First young of the year bird on the balcony was a white-winged dove that
did not last very long and probably fed a cooper's hawk. The king of the
white-wings still owns the place and tries to keep all others away from the
food. It works a bit until a flock comes in for a stop when he is

Mockingbirds have returned. The local parking lot birds vanished a bit
after Harvey as they food was washed away. Even out in the neighborhood
that did not flood most were gone and not there in March. Places have
filled in but I still have none right around me. Miss the song as one
inherited a roof corner and sang all night for over 30 years. Very good
mimic too and the generations inherited that trait. The new mockers do not
mock or it is not the season to mock.

Downy woodpeckers, chickadees and titmice did well with youngsters early.
Still have seen no baby red-bellied woodpeckers like last summer. The wood
duck nest apparently failed as the pair vanished without chicks or enough
time at the nest. I last saw them as she was doing egg laying.

Had my first ever fledgling green heron look in my window. No great egret
or herons chicks seen.

Several different munia groups come by but no chicks seen yet. Cardinals
have done well and the house finches are bringing lots of chicks to the
balcony where they abandon them and go off and raise more.

House sparrows vanished after Harvey. Had some groups of all males move
through in late winter. A few birds flew in from far away back in early may
but the birds that always nested up the street are still missing and the
dove feeding people have none.

Robins are still singing but not as many as the last few years and no signs
of chicks yet. Successful pairs seem to breed very late or do better with
late broods so there is hope.

Blue jays had one brood but they still are very shy. I lost most of mine to
west nile late last year so the arrival of west nile this year a month
earlier is not a good sign. The general area is one of the city hotbeds for
the virus since the first year it arrived. But then it generally vanished
for 3 year before last year and the jay numbers really went up. There are
just 2 clans that come on a regular basis and another of two or 3 singles
that probably are non-paired. When one of those birds signals that there is
lots of food and even peanuts out, often no one comes to join the feast.

Heard a warbler chip early yesterday am so they are starting to wander.
Probably a parula but it was still dark. Louisiana waterthrushes should be
moving along the bayou any day as will black and white warblers. And by the
end of the month it will be migration time.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

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