Morning Birding at Hallam Lake Species List
June 16, 2020
Tuesday, June 16, 2020, 6:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Location: Hallam Lake
Great Blue Heron
Accipiter sp. (Cooper’s or Sharp-shinned Hawk)
Nesting and fledging are in full swing, and we observed many behaviors of this exciting phase of summer, including birds carrying food, juvenile birds out on their own, and activity in nesting cavities. Today’s mini-lesson was simply the message that birds and nature offer such a wonderful immersion experience that is meditative, grounding, inspiring, and uplifting, with limitless opportunities for learning and the excitement of discovery. Today’s highlights include: the osprey family actively flying, calling, eating fish, and appearing to be brooding and feeding young in the nest; yellow warblers in abundance; dippers along the river; swallows feeding low over the lake, and cedar waxwings in small flocks. After the snow and wind last week, many large branches of cottonwoods were down on the ground, creating a “new habitat” in the understory and new broken places on trunks and branches that may eventually become cavities where chickadees or nuthatches may nest in the future. We observed an accipiter hawk being mobbed by crows as it flew over the lake and took that moment to talk about mobbing and alarm-calling behaviors.
One question that came up today: how is the dawn chorus different in the arctic where the sun is up for nearly 24 hours in summer? Songbirds in the arctic are tuned to a 24-hour circadian rhythm, using the sun’s position in the sky as their cue for the time of day/night just as birds do in temperate and tropical zones around the planet. Arctic songbirds rest during the “night” between midnight and 4 am, when the sun is low in the sky and the light is dim, and a chorus of singing follows and precedes this resting time.
Another question: what are some current books on hummingbirds? The Hummingbird Book by Stokes, Peterson Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America by Sherri Williamson, and North American Hummingbirds, and Identification Guide by George West. Also see any articles and research papers (online) by Bill Calder, who researched hummingbirds at Rocky Mountain Biological Lab in Gothic, CO, and elsewhere – his extensive research informs much of what we know of hummingbirds’ life history and biology.
Upcoming ACES birding offerings include a field trip in the Woody Creek area on Friday and Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch next Tuesday. Enjoy the birds and join us again soon!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong