May / June 2018

by Patti Muzny

The Muzny OKC back yard continues to provide various forms of nature-inspired entertainment for us. It’s so interesting to see how the whims of nesting species differ from season-to-season. Our
large back yard provides a variety of nesting habitats, from bird boxes and potted plants, a raised bed veggie garden to large trees to shrubs and tangles. Some might view some of our “edges” as a little messy and unkempt. There is a method to my madness.

The Robins that previously nested over the back door and under the patio on flat surfaces did not choose these sites for 2018, but instead built their nests on downspouts. One family is feeding newly hatched babies on the front porch downspout and two other downspouts have nests, but nobody is using them at this time. A Carolina Wren built a nest at the base of my scruffy looking Christmas cactus plant, but apparently Mama Wren didn’t approve of her mate’s choice, because there are no eggs and currently I don’t see them on the patio. There is loud singing from the back portion of the yard, so I guess maybe that’s where they are actually nesting. The neighborhood continues to attract a good number of Mississippi Kites and I love to watch them soar and hunt above our yard!

Eurasian Collared Doves are always in the yard and calling from the roof of our home. Their incessant calls waft down the vent pipe for my stove, so I hear them in the house! This year we have several White-winged and Mourning Doves as well. And we’re treated to an occasional visit by a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. In late May, we got to see the male doing his courtship display for his chosen lady!!

A family of three Blue Jays fledged on June 2nd from their nest at the edge of my potting shed. On Friday and early Saturday I noticed the three juveniles were perching on the edge of the nest and doing much wing exercising. We were gone a while on Saturday afternoon and when we returned, empty nest syndrome had arrived! On Sunday morning I heard the jays doing a major amount of fussing and soon I saw the neighborhood Cooper’s Hawk being chased across the lawn with a Jay literally on its tail! The saga of survival goes on. Our lone pair of Purple Martins is now feeding young and it’s amazing to observe how those adults managed to land on the martin house without bashing their brains out on the opening! They approach the box at what I consider a much too high rate of speed, but I’ve never seen either adult miss their mark!

A family of Brown Thrashers has left the nest out nearour storage shed and I think they might be working on brood #2. The Great-tailed Grackles nested across the street and thankfully didn’t choose to nest in our yard. I’m just not a fan of all that screeching! We also have Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers coming to the feeder. A surprise visitor this past week was an Eastern Bluebird. It’s been several years since they built a nest in our yard. Somewhere nearby is a Great-crested Flycatcher. Every evening it lands in the pecan trees in back and makes sure everyone in the area knows he’s around, but I haven’t found where they’ve nested. Our fly-over bird list is pretty entertaining, due to the many trips over the yard made by residents of the heron rookery near Southeast Central and just south of the Boathouse District. Apparently they fly south and west from the river area to feed. Another surprise that Brian heard last week was a Fish Crow.

At Byars the migration feeding frenzy has passed and its back to seeing and hearing the nesting species. The “usuals” are: Painted and Indigo Buntings, Yellow -billed Cuckoos, Pewees, Phoebes, Carolina Bewick’s Wrens, Titmice, Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches, Summer Tanagers, Cardinals, Gnatcatchers, Kentucky and Black and White Warblers, Barn Swallows, Bluebirds and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Last weekend we found White-eyed, Redeyed, Yellow-throated and Bell’s Vireos. The Blue Grosbeak and Scissortails were quiet, as were the Pileated Woodpeckers, so we missed those species.