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Birds & Birding Regional Birder

This is regional birding information for:

Midwest
August 2014

The Midwest is a slice of many North American ecosystems, starting in the northern Great Lakes where the great coniferous forest represents a Canadian life zone. South of the forests, one finds a mixture of abandoned, grown up fields and small woodlots amidst active farms where cattle graze and crops are sown. The farther south one travels, the more the land turns to prairie grasslands. This vast contrast in habitat from deep northern coniferous forests, to prairie grasslands in the south, produces an equally diverse offering of birdlife.

Backyard Birds

Because of the diverse habitat in the Midwest, the most common backyard birds are among the most common backyard birds throughout North America: black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, house finch, house wren, northern cardinal, rose-breasted grosbeak, Baltimore oriole, ruby-throated hummingbird, American robin, eastern bluebird, barn swallow, purple martin, blue jay, downy woodpecker, northern flicker, mourning dove, ring-necked pheasant, killdeer, dark-eyed junco, song sparrow, yellow warbler, cedar waxwing, brown-headed cowbird, red-winged blackbird, gray catbird, mallard duck and Canada goose.

Regional Birds

In the northern forests, ruffed grouse, dark-eyed juncos, evening grosbeaks, red and white-winged crossbills, pine siskin, spruce grouse and red-breasted nuthatch breed. South of the great forests, in the more open, abandoned fields, croplands and farms, where woodlots, lakes and streams are plentiful, birders hear mourning doves coo, and eastern towhee sing. Also common are black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, Baltimore oriole, common grackle, red-eyed vireo, and blue-winged and golden-winged warblers.

In the southernmost regions of the Midwest, the birdlife is different again. Bobwhite whistle from fence posts, red-winged blackbird, American goldfinch, marsh wren, great blue heron and Canada geese are seen. The Great Lakes attract deep water and diving ducks, as well as gulls and terns.

What's happening in your backyard this month
  • Juvenile birds bathing in bird baths; gorging at feeders; making a lot of noise.
  • Hummingbird population exploding at feeders due to youngsters joining the crowd.
  • Baby American goldfinches following their parents around, begging for food.
  • Sugar water feeders getting heavy use from hummingbirds, orioles, and house finches.
What to do in your backyard this month
  • Take down and clean out bird houses after summer use by bluebirds, wrens, chickadees and woodpeckers.
  • Maintain feeders with mealworms for bluebirds; jelly and sugar water for hummingbirds, orioles, tanagers and catbirds.
  • Keep bird baths clean, filled and refreshed; August is the month of greatest water usage.
  • Look for the first migrants headed south, including nighthawks overhead; warblers in confusing fall plumages in thickets.
 

 

 

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