May bird forecastMay 16th, 2012 at 3:36 pm by Jim Spencer under Weather
Here’s the Central Texas bird forecast for the month, courtesy of Travis Audubon. Learn more about Central Texas birds and bird-related events for all ages at travisaudubon.org or by calling 512-300-BIRD. Travis Audubon is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @TravisAudubon and like us at www.facebook.com/travisaudubon.
Enjoying the rain? The birds certainly are.
Flooded ground brings bugs and worms to the surface for plentiful meals for adults and juvenile birds. And more flying insects will be buzzing about as well, which keeps our aerial acrobats happy. Swallows, including the crowd-pleasing Purple Martins, Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks, rely on flying insects for survival.
Another stylish bird that spends much of its time in midair is the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. It also likes to perch on power lines and the tops of trees. Its very long, forked tail make it a recogizable summer resident, and it, like most birds, are nesting right now. As what is known as an open-country bird (as opposed to ones that live in forests), their nests are particularly susceptible to high winds and storm damage. According to All About Birds, storms account for nearly half of all scissor-tailed nest failures.
Unfortunately, some birds probably lost their nests during the stormy weather. Some will attempt to renest, but the odds aren’t with them since they are well into the nesting season. You might see birds gathering nesting materials to try again, though.
So, what happens to birds during storms? According to Birding.com, if they aren’t nesting, they’ll sense the changing weather and head away from the storm, or else, like us, they hunker down in a sheltered spot and wait it out.
Birds that live in cavities, such as woodpeckers who live inside tree holes, will ride it out inside the cavity. This will work fine unless the tree is uprooted or snaps off. After tornadoes hit Alabama last spring, many of the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers that live in the Talladega National Forest lost their homes. The Forest Service, which keeps a close watch on the birds — much as officials in Central Texas do our endangered Golden-Cheeked Warbler — reported that after it installed 19 artificial cavities around the forest, the birds renested within five weeks and at least two babies were hatched.
Birds are resilient!
Travis Audubon’s May meeting is at 7 p.m. May 17 at the First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall, 8001 Mesa Dr. It is the last monthly meeting until September. The program will feature Dr. Rich Kostecke of The Nature Conservancy. He’ll provide an overview of the Conservancy’s work in Texas, highlighting some of the many great places they protect as well as the conservation initiatives and science they are involved in to address environmental challenges involving things such as endangered species, the Gulf of Mexico and the historic wildfires of 2011.
Join us for the following field trip as well. Membership is not required and beginners are welcome.
Hornsby Bend Monthly Bird Walk: Saturday, May 19 – 7:30 a.m. to noon
Two-hour Tuesday at Big Webberville Park: Tuesday, May 22 – 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Cameron Park Zoo in Waco: Saturday, June 2 – 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Beginner’s Bird Walk at Big Webberville Park: Saturday, June 2 – 7:00 to 9:00 a.m.
Laguna Gloria with Sam Fason: Sunday, June 3 – 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
More details are available at www.travisaudubon.org or 300-BIRD.
Compiled by Travis Audubon volunteers Raeanne R. Martinez and Jane Tillman