The upsides of summer birding
Guest post by Chris Newman of Evansville, IN
Migration is over and summer upon us. Birds have nested, some even had multiple broods. Many also begin to molt, acquiring fresh new feathers for their eventual flight to winter homes. Foliage is full and dense and the humidity rises. Summer birding can seem daunting, causing some to shelve guides and store binoculars.
Yet summer provides a great opportunity to hone your skills:
- Sharpening your vision to detect subtle movements high in the leafy canopy
- Fine-tuning your ears to pick up the faintest call from a heavy thicket
- Studying habits and habitats to learn where you might locate certain species in the future
- Stationing yourself by a fresh water source—much needed in summer—to become so familiar with our common permanent and migrant residents that when a rare visitor arrives you immediately notice its presence
Can summer birding be tough? Of course, but the rewards are great: a Yellow-billed Cuckoo calling just before an afternoon storm, the constant call of Eastern Whip-poor-will at dusk, a Prothonotary Warbler busily feeding, Swallows and Swifts feverishly foraging above a lake. All of whom will much too soon leave for places south with new generations in tow, and us yearning for summer’s return.