|Our Feathered friends|
|Wednesday, October 6, 2010|
By RAY POPE
It was a sad day here at my house as my last Hummingbird set off on its journey toward the Gulf Coast. There they will refuel for their island hopping adventure out over the vast Gulf of Mexico and hopefully make it safe and sound to South America. It amazes me how far these little tiny fliers can go on the small amount of brains they have at their disposal. God really blessed them with instinct and a great internal map of their area.
Karen Franklin was talking to me on Facebook when I mentioned that my Hummers were all gone now and how quiet it was around the house and yard. It’s kind of like your children going off to school for the first time. Karen then reminded me that it won’t be much longer before our winter birds show up around our feeders. Well, that is something to think about and get my mind off my Hummers. Before too long there will be Juncos and White-throated Sparrows scratching for food as old man winter makes his presence known.
Dotty Kim has now moved out in the country just below Four-Mile Hill and has set up her feeders trying to see what she has there. She should have a great number of country birds there. The small Carolina Wren has welcomed her to her new home by scolding every time she goes to the van. Dotty says it will hop about under the van and check the radiator for unfortunate bugs. Now that is a very smart bird!
There is also a strange bird singing which she doesn’t recognize, so I will have to visit sometime to see what is serenading the neighborhood. A family of Red-winged Blackbirds have discovered Dotty’s offering and they have a habit of eating just before it gets too dark to fly. At least they won’t go to bed hungry.
One country bird in particular that Dotty should have at her feeders next spring is the Indigo Bunting. The Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) is a small seed eater belonging to the family (Cardinalidae).
You will find him in southern Canada, south to northern Florida during breeding season and it will migrate to southern Florida to the northern countries of South America for its winter stay. The Indigo Bunting is 4 1/2 to 5 inches in length with a wingspan of 8 to 9 inches. During breeding season the male has deep blue plumage with a darker crown, almost a deep purple in color. The female is dark brown on the upperparts and lighter brown on the underparts.
The habitat for these Buntings is brushy forest edges, open deciduous woods, second growth woodlands and farmland. It’s vocals consist of a high pitched, buzzed “ sweet-sweet chew-chew sweet-sweet “ sung to mark his territory.
During breeding season the nest is constructed of leaves, grasses, and plant stems, lined with soft grass or deer hair and held together with spider web, located in dense shrubs or a low tree where the female lays a clutch of one to four eggs. Eggs are incubated for 12 to 13 days and the young fledge 10 to 12 days after hatching. Dotty, keep your eyes open this spring for this bright blue songster.