Saturday, July 1, 2017

Red White and Blue Birds

This time of year, everyone's favorite colors are red, white and blue.  Even birds get into the act.
Male Summer Tanager, September 16, 2011

Summer Tanagers fly in to the Texas Hill Country in summer to nest and rear young, just one clutch. Females are yellow, the youngsters a greeny-yellow and males a glorious solid red, the only solid red bird in North America. 

When we lived in the country, a male often graced our porch, attracted by bees around the hummingbird feeders. After rubbing the stingers off the bees, he'd eat or take them back as food for the nestlings they were rearing in the forest around our home.
Bees visited our gardens for the native flowers, but who can resist a feeder full of sugar water when the mercury rises above 100? And if you're a Summer Tanager, that's the equivalent of a drive-through window at a burger place.

Great Egret at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, September 3, 2015
We sometimes think of Great Egrets as common birds, because we see them often, fishing along the waterfront. Bold figures stalking and striking in a flash of neck before the fish or frog or snake knows the danger.

Woodhouse's Scrub-jay, formerly Western Scrub-jay, February 13, 2010

Look at that face. Gotta love the sass. For the longest time, this one was called the Western Scrub-Jay, ranging from Texas into California. Last year ornithologists split the population into California Scrub-Jay and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay. The Westerns who didn't live in California became Woodhouse's. He looks like a guy named Woodhouse, doesn't he? 

My hubby Denny prefers watching birds to fireworks but however you celebrate, we hope you have a good one.

 Copyright 2009-2017 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

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