Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring Flies Into the Hill Country

Last winter's Rufous hummingbird flew out in mid-March.   

He knows the early bird gets the best territory, key to mating.  

The migration map shows wintering grounds in Central America with spring migration far west of our Hill Country home.  "Our" Rufous is getting a head start on the birds that read maps.

The chattering flocks of Chipping sparrows began leaving in March, all gone now.  Our front feeding ground seems quiet without their busy thronging.

But we're hearing Carolina wrens as the males build nests and sing for mates.  In the wren world, females choose mates based on the male's quality of song and nests.  He may build as many as five to get her approval.

I hung a nest-building buffet of cat-fur, cotton and dried grasses to help him along. The cat-fur disappeared right away.


This first-spring Summer Tanager still has splotches of juvenile yellow but in his short life he's flown more than a thousand miles to and from Central/South America.  Now he'll compete for a mate and the chance to rear a family in our neighborhood.  

He and his family will eat wasps on my porch this summer, a benefit to both of us.  It works because we don't don't pesticide the property, allowing nature to balance the cycle.

I'm a Summer Tanager and I approve this message.-->

Soon another generation of Hill Country birds will brighten our gardens and lives.

Copyright 2009-2012 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. I feel like such a fool. I should have been putting the dog hair I sweep up outside for the birds! ARGGGHHH!

  2. I had the same thought as Mary - I have some very nice dog hair from the allegedly non-shedding dog. I put out food but never thought to put out nest making materials for the birdies. Thanks for the reminder and for sharing your pictures. I haven't seen a hummingbird yet, but I expect to see them soon.

  3. Your photos of birds are always so remarkable -- it's as if you see them in all their birdness and capture it, perfectly.

  4. What Elizabeth said. I just came here to write that. You are so good at getting those bird pictures!

    So good to see you back here. I figured you must be busy with writing work and family, but we do miss seeing your face in the reader. x0 N2

  5. Great birds! We had a Bewick's wren family in our bird house out front this year, and a male has been singing madly in my trees this week!

  6. Beautiful images of your Hill Country birds dear Kathleen, how lovely for you to see them and hear their songs.
    xoxoxo ♡

  7. Hi Kathleen,
    Fantastic pictures!
    Best regards,


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