It may not feel like summer during this chilly Northeast June but the birds know what time it is. Avians everywhere are doing it, and by “it” I mean breeding, nesting, raising young, and generally living large. Potter County, Pennsylvania — the rural corner of the Keystone State where my in-laws live — is never more beautiful and vibrant than it is in early summer.
The kids and I have been hanging around Grandma Ann’s farm. Few things are more fun for young, active minds than rambling around this spread. Naturalists are hardly left wanting; the forests, fields, and feeders here are humming with avian activity. One would think, considering the heavy freight of insect protein on the wing, that Ann’s feeders would be quiet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only are all the regular sparrows, finches, and icterids hitting the seed hard but rare visitors like Cedar Waxwing, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Black-throated Blue Warbler (!) have been dropping in.
The farm is home to plenty of birds that snub feeders. The skies are filled with Chimney Swifts and both Barn and Tree Swallows. Savannah, Song, and Chipping Sparrows turn up everywhere one looks, as do robins, grackles, and the urban invasives you probably have where you live. Some of these species overwinter while some are seasonal breeders. One welcome addition to the birdscape is the irascible Eastern Kingbird:
I’ve been combing the forests for rare birds with little luck. The best I’ve come up with has been Indigo Bunting, not bad at all when you think about it. Eastern Bluebirds lend an alternate azure hue to the grassy fields but right now, the best-dressed bird has to be Robert of Lincoln himself, the Bobolink. I’ve often eyed perching boblinks avariciously, drooling over the prospect of bringing photos back to the blog. When one devastatingly handsome boblink buck allowed me to get close enough for cenerfold shots, I didn’t hesitate.
How is a Bobolink like a mullet?
Both are business in the front…
…and party in the back.