Friday, July 31, 2009

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) and Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffinis)

Birding Hocking Hills in Southeastern Ohio
I remember the first time I ever saw a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. It was 19 years ago in the backyard of our first house. I was standing by a patch of Black-eyed Susans when he flew up to a blossom. “Ohhhh, a hummingbird!” I thought. Until I looked closer and realized it was most definitely not a hummingbird. I remember it frightened me in a “something’s gone awry in nature” way because it looked like neither a bird nor an insect, and to top it off, it had fur (or at least is looked like it did)! I watched him for a while as he quickly went from flower to flower, until it suddenly dawned on me that he might be a bee and have a really big stinger, so I high-tailed it out of there and called mom. I can’t remember if she knew what he was or not, but I do remember a few days later I read an article in the paper about Hummingbird Moths and have thought they were really cool ever since.

I found this furry-looking Hummingbird Clearwing 
Moth (Hemaris thysbe) at the Clear Creak Metro Park 
on the Creekside Meadow trail.

Hummingbird Clearwing Moths are
often called “Common Clearwings.”
I love his little curled-up proboscis.

In my new National Audubon Society “Field Guide
to Insects and Spiders,” I read that the wings are
“plum-red” to “brownish black” at first, but the scales
drop off after the first flight leaving the clear areas.

Hummingbird Clearwing Moths can be found
around forest edges, meadows, and cultivated
flower gardens. They like nectaring on
Phlox and Bee Balm.

Check out this fellow. He’s smaller than a Common Clearwing and is called a Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth.

Nectaring on Bee Balm, I found this Snowberry 
Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffinis) 
at the meadow's edge on the Prairie Warbler trail.

With such an interesting little 
masked face, he's hard to resist.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

On goldfinches and weeds…

The bubbly, happy song of the American Golfinch has grown even bubblier around our house in the past few weeks, and our resident males have taken to perching at the top of the half-dead willow tree to sing merrily to the sky over and over. It seems as the lull of summer starts to set in, the American Goldfinches are just getting their party started. Of course, all of this isn't just by chance. Mother Nature has preordained most of it, but I've taken a few steps to ensure the little gold sweethearts find our yard especially attractive. I've planted lots of the goldfinch-loving food, such as echinacea (Purple Coneflowers, White Coneflowers, and even Tomato-soup Red Coneflowers), Black-eye Susans, Green-eyed Colleens, Zinnias…and Sunflowers (although last week most of my sunflowers fell victim to decapitation by industrious little squirrels and crazed night-raiding raccoons.)

A sketch I did of an American Golfinch on a sunflower.
I love watching these little yellow birds prying seeds
loose one at a time. A wonderful sight of late summer...

But I think the biggest draw to our yard is in the part of my garden I have let Mother Nature work her magic in…the weed patch. More specifically, the “hated and dreaded” thistle patch!! I know an entire industry has grown up to eradicate this weed, but my goldfinches love it, so I do too. Last week the lovely purple blossoms atop the prickly stems started to crack and ripen, and the soft tufts of down began pushing through much to the anticipation of our female goldfinches who use the plant fibers to line their nests. It only took about two days before the goldfinches started pulling small tufts of the silken thread from the ripening flower to take back to their small, cup-like neststhe perfect lining for the eggs she will soon lay.

Thistle down is a magnet to female American
Goldfinches. It's lovely to watch them balance on
top of the stalk and carefully tug the fibers loose.
They also eat the seeds and feed regurgitated
seeds to their newly hatched young.

Most spring and early summer breeding birds depend on insects to feed their young who require the protein to grow and mature, but goldfinches feed their babies an almost exclusive vegetarian seed diet, with thistle seed being a big part of it. American Golfinches wait until the summer's blossoms have started to fade and release their ripened seeds just in time for them to feed their babies. I love this perfect cycle of nature. Everything fits together as it should.

Soft fuzzy plant down just waiting to be
incorporated into a nest. Goldfinches will
feast on the seeds through the autumn.

Beak Bit
Cowbirds parasitize American Goldfinch nests quite often because the Goldfinch does not have the ability to recognize the egg and push it out, but Cowbird babies rarely survive more than a few days because they can not grow on an all-vegetarian diet. They need the protein found in insects to survive. For more information, click here.

One of our American Goldfinch males sitting on
a branch at the top of the half-dead Weeping
Willow tree. He looked so gorgeous last night
singing and preening in the evening sun.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eastern Towhee...that beautiful red eye gets me every time!

Birding Hocking Hills in Southeastern Ohio
Gravel crunching under my feet is always a good sound. Crunch, crunch, crunch…I love it, but that morning it was obscuring the “witchety—witchety —witchety—wooof my suddenly new favorite bird, the Common Yellowthroat. Sidestepping into the soft, green grass, my footsteps quieted, allowing me to listen to the yellowthroat's song fade as I left the meadow and headed into a brushy, wooded edge. On my left, the watery sounds of the slow-moving Clear Creek led me down the path and made me smile. Every now and then, I'd stop and peer over the edge just to make sure the water was still clear (and maybe see a Great Blue Heron or Kingfisher). Further down the path, I slowed as I inhaled that musty wet-wood smell that clings in the air around old wooden structures and was not surprised when I saw a worn footbridge up ahead. Not hurrying over it, I enjoyed the scent and the scenery, but eventually moved on. Only two steps off the bridge, however, a familiar scuffing and scraping sound made me stop. To my right I could see a glimpse of a rufous side through the breaks in the leaves. Quiet and still, I watched as he kicked through the leaf litter. Suddenly, he popped up on a branch, eye-level, and sang, and it wasn’t the definitive “Drink your tea-eeee” song I love to hear the Eastern Towhees sing. It was another song, very pretty, and as he sang, he didn't see me as I admired how the red of his eyes intensified each time he moved through a beam of sunlight. But soon enough he heard me, because at the first click of the camera's shutter, he looked my way. I assumed he would bolt, but he didn’t. He listened as I clicked again…and again, more curious than wary, his extraordinary red eye glowing like a tiny glass marble lit from the inside.

The most cooperative Eastern Towhee I've ever seen!
"Look at me...look at my gorgeous eye...
I'll even sing for you."

Clear Creek Metro Park was fast becoming
the Pinckney Island of the midwest!

Eventually the Eastern Towhee started singing
his beloved "Drink your tea-eeee" song.

Singing his "other song," his feathers were quite
ruffled. I think he was telling another male Eastern
Towhee to move on and find his own territory.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Great Spangled Fritillary nectaring on Wild Bergamot (Bee Balm)

Birding Hocking Hills in Southeastern Ohio
Again, the Creekside Meadows Trail led me to another beautiful sight. Apparently, acres and acres of grass and wildflowers will do that.

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one
must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
~Hans Christian Anderson





The molt goes on...

Birding at Voice of America (VOA) Park near Mason, OH
..continued from a post last week on a male Bobolink molting into his Basic non-breeding plumage at VOA Park.
I stopped by the park late friday afternoon to see how far along the male Bobolinks were in their molts. It had only been five days since I was last there, but boy had they changed!

He has lost almost 50% of his black
feathers. The change is fairly quick!

If you look closely, you can see he is losing
the pigment in his bill. It's mottled black now.

Check my other side...I'm quite handsome in
my "tortie-shell transition phase."

He will molt all of his feathers including flight and
tail feathers. He does not lose them all at once,
so he is never rendered completely flightless



While walking through the mowed areas of the meadow, I heard three Henslow's Sparrows in the middle...and a single Henslow's Sparrow in the area closest to the little parking spot by the big tree. There were also five Willow Flycatchers hawking insects using the big tree as a base. If you want to learn more about the Henslow's Sparrows of VOA, head over to my friend's new blog, Everybody Funny. He surveyed VOA from 2001 to 2007 weekly and accumulated a lot of research on the Henslow's Sparrows nesting there.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Three Bloggy Awards

Over the past month or so, I’ve received three awards from very talented, creative and funny bloggers, and I thank them all for thinking of me. It’s always such a surprise to find an award waiting in the comments…

The First Award—The Creative Blogger Award
…came from Frank of The Early Birder on Saturday, June 13, 2009! (Yikes, I’m late.) Thank you, Frank!!! I love it! Check out Frank’s blog for interesting posts on the English countryside and all the birds he encounters daily while he walks his “patch” in Surrey. I’ve learned a lot following Frank’s blog about European birds. With this award, you are supposed to list seven things about yourself that people might find interesting (I think this has slowed me down, because I’m just not that interesting). You then need to pass the award on to seven bloggers.

Here are my seven things:
One - I’m an absent-minded professor/procrastinator type (which helps explain why I'm so late passing the awards on). Everyone who knows me, knows this, and they put up with it. I’m trying to change, but I’ve been this way for 47 years, so I doubt any improvements will be forthcoming any time soon!! It’s really a pain sometimes--just ask my nieces, Sarah and Alyssa, who live in Munich, Germany. I have a big box in my office with lots of presents in it. The gifts go all the way back to Valentine’s Day…and Easter…and Alyssa’s birthday (in May) and Sarah’s birthday (yet to come in August). I will mail it this week (after I wrap everything--I hope). Let’s shoot for getting the gifts there before Sarah’s birthday…

Two - I am a night owl by nature and have to work very hard to go to bed early. I have been this way my entire life. When I was in first grade, my mom used to sit me at the table at breakfast and give me coffee so I could function. I remember she told me “Don’t tell your teachers you drink coffee for breakfast, they might not like that.” (In those days, kids were supposed to drink milk, or orange juice, or maybe Tang—but coffee was not for kids). Being a birder and being a night owl don’t often mix, unless you’re looking for owls.

Three - I love to listen to waterfalls, brooks, creeks, the ocean…anything wet. Maybe because I’m a Pisces.

Four - I have green eyes, and when Matty was small he thought the song “Green-eyed Lady,” by Sugarloaf was written about me, “Mom! There’s that song about your green eyes again!” (Can you tell we listened to the oldies station back then?)

Five - I’m an introvert. I can act like an extrovert, and sometimes seem like one, but it tires me out. I assume lots of birders are introverts because we spend so much time alone…in the woods and fields…looking at birds -- or alone…in the house or bookstore…reading about them, and we like it that way!

Six - I’m an artist. Whenever I see something striking…unusual…or ordinary, I often see it painted in my mind. I’m also a potter and have been throwing pots since 2000. I love fine china and antique china. I don’t know why, but it will stop me dead in my tracks. It’s an extraordinary art form, and teacups and teapots are my downfall. (If there is a bird painted on it, watch out!)

Seven - I love animals. When Matty was a baby we had 5 cats (Theobald, Mikasa, Pumpkin, Kayla, and Puddin’). Our sixth cat, Jasmine (Jazzy), had gone to live with my parents because she was a princess and needed to be adored exclusively. She did not like others of her own kind. One day when Matty was very small and didn’t yet talk, we were in Kroger’s. Matty was sitting in the cart and started licking his “paw” and meowing. Every now and then he would rub the back of his hand across his forehead. Now he wants to be a vet and work in a zoo—go figure. (Fourteen years later, we only have one kitty…Bip, the Very Scary but Hardly Hairy Cornish Rex Cat.)

I’d like to pass this award on to:
Gabrielle of Inner Artist
Tammie Lee of Spirithelpers

The Second Award—The I love this Blog Award
…came from Roy of Roy’s World. I received it on June 20, 2009. (D’oh! Late again…) You have to pop over to Roy’s blog and check it out. It’s always interesting. He’s very good at finding music videos to match his theme. He lives in Newport, Rhode Island and posts lots of lovely photos of the old homes, cemeteries, parks, and birds in his neighborhood. He also includes bits of history in his posts for interesting reading. This award doesn't require writing seven interesting things about yourself (which is good, because I ran out interesting stuff).

I’d like to pass this award on to:
Mona at Montanagirl
Jenny at Wren’s Nature Notebook
Moria at Confessions of a Nature Lover
Nick at Saskatchewan Birds, Nature and Scenery
Chris at Tails of Birding
Dave at Birds from behind
Michi at hillbillyfarmgirl

The Third Award—The Best Blogger Friends Award
…is from Dave of Birds from Behind from July 6, 2009 (I’m not quite so late on this one—comparatively!). Dave is another Ohio birder. Dave visits Magee Marsh a lot and the Black Swamp Conservancy up near Toledo. Dave’s blog is funny. He’s a funny guy, and his birds say and do funny things. Did I forget to mention his specialty is photographing birds from behind…or shortened, birds' behinds? This award doesn't require writing seven interesting things about yourself either!

I’m passing this award on to:
Heather of Heather of the Hills
Laure Ferlita of Painted Thoughts Blog
Frank of The Early Birder
Warren of Pittswood Birds
Keith of Holdingmoments

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher visits our backyard!

Yeah!! It's another new yard bird. Yesterday evening at about 6:00 p.m. Rick and I were sitting on the deck when Matty shouted up, "Mom, a Blue-gray bird!" I grabbed the binocs and sure enough, we had a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher in our backyard!!

With such a sweet little mug, I think this guy might
have been a juvenile. Males in spring and summer
have black eyebrows, so it could have been
a female, but the feathers seem new.
(More "record" shots. He was too far away for detail.)

We've lived here for ten years and have never seen one of these cute, nervous, fidgety little birds in any of our trees. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers prefer mature woodlands, often damp, which explains why the Little Miami Bike Trail is such a haven for them. In the early spring, they are often the first migrant I see on the Little Miami Bike Trail, and the trees lining the pavement are often dripping with them when they start moving in. I love listening to their bossy little calls echoing down the trail. This year I caught a pair building a nest--and a very sweet nest it was, cup-like and small, it was covered in lichens and resembled a Ruby-throated Hummingbird's nest.

Here he is flitting around in the wild cherry tree, gleaning
insects, but mostly jumping out for a gnat smorgasbord.

He certainly has attitude and you can see it in his little
postures. When I see them flitting through the trees
on the trail, they behave exactly the same...

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers will also come to mature shade trees in neighborhoods. Maybe after ten years, our Big Ash Tree is finally big enough to satisfy a gnatcatcher. I hope so. I haven't seen him since, but who knows! That evening a huge swarm of gnats had emerged and Little Blue was busy living up to his name.

I'm gonna get that gnat. I have wings,
and I know how to use them...now!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pipevine Swallowtail Nectaring on Common Milkweed

Birding Hocking Hills in Southeastern Ohio
...continued from the Catbird post.
While watching a Gray Catbird on the Creekside Meadows trail in Clear Creek Metro Park, I saw this beautiful butterfly off in the distance. I kept my eye on him hoping he would come in a little closer. He came in a little, but mostly kept his distance, constantly moving from blossom to blossom and seeming wary.

A stunning Pipevine Swallowtail sips nectar from a
Common Milkweed blossom. I've got to plant this native
wildflower in my garden! I saw several species of
butterflies nectaring from its fragrant flowers. I also
saw Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Hummingbird
Clearwing Moths sipping nectar from it.

To us, the blue and orange against black is extraordinarily beautiful, but to a bird, the color combination says “Look, but don’t eat!” While it's a caterpillar, the Pipevine Swallowtail stores toxins in its body from its pipevine host plant, making him unpalatable to birds. Because of this, birds usually leave him alone. In Ohio, five other butterflies have evolved the same color pattern. By mimicking the color combination of the Pipevine Swallowtail, these other species gain protection from predators.

Common Milkweed is the host plant for Monarchs.
Female Monarchs lay just one egg per plant under
a leaf. Monarch caterpillars ingest and store toxins
from the Common Milkweed plant just as Pipevine
caterpillars do from pipevine plants. Birds soon
learn to leave Monarchs alone too.

Zebra Swallowtails love nectaring on Common Milkweed also. When I was at Strouds Run, a gorgeous Zebra Swallowtail hung around for quite a while, going over each blossom carefully.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gray Catbirds at Clear Creek Metro Park in Southeast Ohio

Birding Hocking Hills in Southeastern Ohio
...continued from the post on Black and White Warblers.
Gray Catbirds…I just love it when I hear that distinctive “mew” from the bushes. Here in Cincy, I don’t hear it that often. Gray Catbirds are on the Little Miami Trail, but usually just one or two at a time (and not every time I go), but in Hocking Hills, they were everywhere! And predictably, just like at an earlier visit at Strouds Run State Park, the little piggies were never too far from the blackberry bushes!

If you lived in the Hocking Hills area, you might become immune to these gorgeous birds because they are so numerous, but for me, seeing them all over the place was a treat.

Walking on the Creekside Meadows trail, it was no surprise when I heard that familiar mew and saw my first of many Gray Catbirds take off for cover in the thick, grapevine-cluttered brushy edge. What did surprise me, however, was the repertoire of lovely whistled song that followed. Being a mimic like the Northern Mockingbird and Brown Thrasher, Catbirds can let loose with lots of different songs, and I've heard a few of them on the Little Miami River trail, but they were never as pretty as those I heard at Clear Creek Metro Park! All day long and in different locations in the park I would suddenly hear an unfamiliar song coming from the brush. I wouldn't recognize the notes, but I would recognize the pitch…and soon enough I’d see that familiar gray shadow singing behind leaves in a tangle of branches.

This photo shows a little of that bright flash of red feathers under his tail.

I saw more Gray Catbirds in five days in Hocking Hills than I've seen in my life in Cincinnati!

This is how I would normally see the Catbirds. Hidden away in the brush, skulking behind leaves.

With all the berry eating I've been talking about, you would think I would have been able to capture lots of the cutie-pies plucking off the juicy fruits and swallowing them down, but I couldn't. When eating, the Catbirds preferred the privacy of the hedge, being secretive and shy, but this fellow messed up. He was so into his juicy red fruit he didn't see me standing just below him, and me.....panicked....and hurrying to catch him in the act, caught only so-so photos.

Look at that juicy red blackberry in his bill.
If you look closely you can see red berry juice
all over his bill and the feathers around his mouth...
A total berryfest.

A bummer of a photo, but you can see the red
berry juice around his bill and in his feathers...and
you can see where it's run all down his chest. It
cracks me up, and lets you see how crazy
these birds were for the fruit.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My great big beautiful half-dead weeping willow tree!

Look at this lovely tree…branches weeping down providing shade and shelter for the plants and birds beneath. It’s gorgeous and welcoming…

I feel so cozy and happy under this tree. It's fun breaking through the hanging branches to get "inside," and it makes me think of those bead chain curtains we had in the 70s!

The really old bird feeder my dad made for me almost 20 years ago is under this tree looking very photogenic. The birds think so too...

But look straight up, and the story is a bit different. The sweet thing had her water source cut off a few years ago and as a result started suffering, but don’t be too sad, because she’s still hanging on nice and strong, and her dead branches are favorite perches for the local birds. Best of all, she is beloved of our Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and White-breasted Nuthatches.

Only the uninformed see a half-dead tree. Birders see a woodpecker magnet...or a place White-breasted Nuthatches and Brown Creepers like to hang out.

Look half-way up on the right. Do you see our lovely Red-bellied Woodpecker? I could hear him knocking as I took the photo.

In the winter, we will often walk into the kitchen and be eye level with a Red-shouldered Hawk or a Copper's Hawk sitting patiently on one of the dead branches as he scouts out his next meal. Being eye level with a huge bird like a hawk is a little unusual. I would miss that little surprise (and it's always a surprise no matter how many times you see it) if we cut the tree down or trimmed up all the dead branches. So when a neighbor once asked me, “So, what are you going to do with that tree?” I’m sure you knew my response. I wasn't blogging back then. If I were it would have been "I’m going to take photos of it and blog about how wonderful it is!"

Safety first! Last autumn we had hurricane-force winds rip through our part of the country for 5 or 6 hours straight (very strange sensation when you’re land-locked). Roofs were destroyed and electric lines were down everywhere. Many were without electricity for 9-10 days, but our dead willow branches held on strong. A few came down, so I feel the rest are safe. Additionally they are way out in the yard, so if they do come down, they are not going to crush a house or anything.

A birding adventure show is coming your way!

Finally....an action-packed birding adventure show is on TV. If you're a birder, you know birding is not boring--it's an exciting, wonderful and often adrenalin-producing experience you quickly become addicted to, but not everyone knows this. Now, James Currie in his new TV show, Birding Adventures, is showing the world birding is fun (and more importantly, that conservation and preserving habitat is vital).   

If you have Dish or Direct TV, you can watch Birding Adventures now. If not, that's okay too because you can purchase past episodes. Also....if your local cable provider carries Fox Sports Net, you should be able to get the show. It is carried by most Fox Sports Networks every Saturday morning at 7:30. You can also sign up as a member on their Website and view past and current episodes for a small fee (although in a recent email, I was told if you wait, they are working on making all the shows available online for free!).

I remember watching birding TV shows with my Grandpa H when I was a kid. I can't remember the names of the shows, I just remember I loved learning about birds when I was at their house. Grandma Rose always had something cooking, and it felt good to be there. (Remember that Dad?) It will be good to have a birding show back on TV. We used to watch the Lawrence Welk show also, and I still have a fondness for the waltz because of it! :-)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Male Bobolink starting to molt into his non-breeding Basic plumage

Birding at Voice of America (VOA) Park near Mason, OH
...continued from the Henslow's Sparrow post.
Before fall migration coaxes Bobolinks south to their wintering grounds, male Bobolinks start molting into non-breeding Basic plumage. It’s almost like the males shed their formal “tuxedos” for more relaxed and casual traveling clothes. The following male Bobolink is just starting to molt into his Basic plumage. By the time he’s ready to fly south, he will more closely resemble the understated females.

Looking a little scruffy, this male Bobolink
has started molting into his Basic plumage.
He was singing just as sweetly, but maybe
not quite as often as earlier this summer.
He did a lot of calling instead.

In addition to their molt into non-breeding
plumage, male Bobolinks will lose the
dark pigmentation in their bills.

He looks like he's ready to fly south right now!

A female Bobolink perched on a sapling--her
warm caramels and browns are every bit
as appealing as the male's flashy summer
tuxedo. In the fall, the male Bobolink
takes on the female's casual colors.

Sitting in the fading light, the female was gorgeous.
I need to go back and capture her in full sunlight.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Henslow’s Sparrows at Voice of America (VOA) Park in Mason, OH

A friend emailed me that he saw Henslow’s Sparrows singing at VOA Park in the High Meadow the other evening, so Rick and I headed over tonight. (I still have lots of photos to post from Hocking Hills, but this sighting was too important to wait.) While we were there, we heard at least five males singing and saw three. Unfortunately, my photos are terrible. It was getting dark, and I was shooting with an ISO of 1600 to 2000.

For better photos of the Henslow's Sparrows, click here for a newer post.

It took me two years of searching to
finally find this Henslow's Sparrow.

It was cold tonight while we were there. At only
66 degrees, it felt more like Autumn than summer!
The cold didn't seem to bother the Henslow's
Sparrows, as they seemed to come to life
as the temperature was dropping.

We arrived at the park around 7:45 p.m., and as soon as I got out of the car I saw several Bobolinks and started photographing them. As I was focused on a female Bobolink, I heard my first Henslow’s Sparrow’s song—a short little thing that is very distinctive. It’s been described as an insect-like hiccup, but I liked it. I followed him through the grass for a while. He was loath to fly and preferred instead skirting across the ground in deep cover while teasing me with his song! Large swaths of grass have been cut through the meadow to make it easy to walk around. I used part of this trail to follow the Henslow's Sparrows song. Rick opted to sit down instead and just listen. He heard one sparrow about 20 feet away and sat very still. Slowly the Henslow's Sparrow came closer and closer, but then he veered off. Rick was hoping one would hop up on a nearby tiny tree and sing his song, but he didn’t. As it got darker, the Henslow’s song started picking up. Soon I heard two…then three…and finally, one flew up and landed on a small snag. I got my first shot at 8:45. I quickly had to switch the ISO to 2000 as the light was fading fast. My camera does really well in low light, but even so, the photos are poor. Needless to say, this was a life bird for me.

You will probably hear a Henslow's Sparrow
long before you see it. As night drew near, their
singing picked up and they started flying from perch
to perch. The park closes at dark, so we couldn't stick
around to see if they continued to sing after dark.

I loved it when they started hopping up on
snags or plants to sing their very short song.

We saw three Henslow's Sparrows. Two
were pretty close to each other for a while,
but the third was at least 40 feet away.

We are so lucky to have this small breeding population of Henslow's Sparrows in our neighborhood. I hope the Voice of America Park can continue to provide the proper habitat for our summer grassland birds. Click here for an article on the Ohio Ornithological Society’s site that talks about the summer breeding birds and their grassland habitat at VOA Park.