This morning I watched a family of Western Screech-Owls from West Lynn, Oregon (across the river from where I grew up as a kid) on a webcam. Best times to watch are at night (Pacific Standard Time). This morning, an adult came in and fed the young, then a nestling poked its head out of the nest hole and called for several minutes. It is a new era for natural historians, as technology like this provides unprecedented access to the family lives of birds.
Lots of good birds going through my area. This morning there were over a dozen Orchard Orioles in the trees along the creek behind my office. Also singing was a migrant Alder Flycatcher and several Wood Thrush. Nothing like birds singing to make one happy to be alive.
Lots of Eastern Kingbirds and vireos moving through the yard at work today, but the star was a Little Brown Bat hanging from the ceiling of our little portico. We have a bat house up on a tree, but this little guy seemed to prefer the roomier comfort of the yard fixture.
Migration is starting to ramp up, and this morning I got several new birds at the office, bringing the 2005 yard list there up to 67 species. New this morning were Philadelphia Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper, and American Redstart. Gray Catbirds were everywhere--calling, singing, chasing each other through the tangles and underbrush. Fun to see them so abundant--growing up in Oregon, these were more secretive and local breeders along mountain streams in Eastern Oregon. In Central Texas, these guys were fairly secretive migrants that could be easily overlooked most years if you didn't spend enough time along brushy creeks or rivers. Fun to see these guys in top form.
Birding hero Kenn Kaufman gives a great interview with Grist magazine about birds, birding, and our efforts to protect them. While I'm typing this, Wood Thrushes, Baltimore Orioles, and Warbling Vireos are singing outside my window here at the Audubon Science Office in Ivyland. Dozens of Blue Jays are moving through as well and there are warblers down along the creek. Hope everyone has a chance to follow Kaufman's advice and get connected to the real world as birds are streaming north across the continent!