Topics

Breeding and Baby Birds Too

Richard Bradus
 

Hi all

Some interesting natural history taking place in our midst as spring progresses. On an exploration of the southeast corner of the Presidio late this morning I was fortunate to encounter some more breeding activity by our year-round residents - and, yes, one notable migrant, a Swainson's Thrush that was foraging in dense cover below the Presidio Gate. Multiple singing Song and White-crowned Sparrows, Robins and House Finches, plus Purple Finch, Cowbird, Hutton's Vireo and Pacific Wren. Song sparrow and Lesser Goldfinch females carrying nesting material, and Pygmy Nuthatches about a nest hole. One pair of CA Towhee caught in the act. Plus a pair of Hooded Orioles likely nesting again in a palm at the edge of the residential area.

Walking back I spotted a fledgling Junco being fed by a parent, after earlier seeing a House Finch fledgling that looked to be a couple of weeks out of the nest being fed by its presumed father. Also an interesting courtship/bonding ritual as a male House Finch fed its begging mate. Notably, I've seen multiple House Finch fledglings being fed over the past ten days or so, all by the male of the pair, while the one episode of feeding of nestlings that I saw was done by the female. Seems to be an interesting division of parenting duties.

Despite the continued low overcast there were also quite a few butterflies about, mostly painted ladies, and I also spotted a bee swarm. All this despite the felling of multiple trees along Pacific Ave., presumably part of the re-invigoration of the native forest/scrub habitat. It will be interesting to see if woodpeckers, completely absent on this visit, return once the disruption is over. And more babies; just after 1pm on a quick walk through Alta Plaza Park I stopped to investigate some high pitched begging calls and was rewarded as a pair of Oregon Juncos fed two very recent fledglings. Now I'm waiting on the resident Ravens and Pygmy Nuthatches to produce their young - and I still haven't found a Robin's nest (!?).

So, lots of examples of the cycle of life out there to witness and learn from, if we just stop to look and listen.

Enjoy!

Richard Bradus
San Francisco