Backyard Birds – August 2023 Report

Backyard Birds - August 2023 Report

As Summer draws to a close, things felt quiet in the birding world. 

On July 18 Kevin Corwin, from his Centennial town house yard, reported that “I awoke ~ 7:30 this morning to a curiously melodic whirring sound wafting in the open bedroom windows. There was also an occasional chatter that I have heard  before somewhere else, but I couldn’t peg it. Looking up into the leaves of the 60-foot aspens just outside the window I could see bits of bright yellow near the top.  I put Merlin on the task, and it didn’t respond to the whirring, but the first chatter it identified as Western Kingbird. Once it told me that, I recognized it. The fact that it was ‘out of place’ had kept me from identifying it. What I had was a pair of Western Kingbirds feeding four fledglings! Assuming they hadn’t flown in from eastern Colorado I have to guess they’d been nesting somewhere close by, but I’ve never before seen or heard them in my little townhouse neighborhood.”

“I’ve had Mountain Chickadees visit my little townhouse yard in the winter, not every year but often enough to not be a surprise. It was a big surprise today, July 22nd, when one stopped by to sample my offerings of seed and suet. Today’s visit was the first time I’ve ever seen one here in the summer.”

In June Sue Shulman sent a picture of a Say’s Phoebe nest in a doorway – I don’t have any more details.


Back in June, Bridget Milne relayed a report from Pam Allen in Parker. “For several years Pam has enjoyed watching five pairs of Bullock’s Orioles devour jelly and orange slices at her feeders.

“Last year one of the adults arrived with a broken leg. While it dangled uselessly, the brave Oriole was undeterred as it squabbled with the others for the jelly. Fall came and they were gone.” From time to time throughout the winter Pam wondered what happened to the crippled bird.

“This spring the orioles were late to arrive. A lone female arrived and for weeks her heartfelt song went unanswered until two males finally arrived but with no sign of the injured bird. Happily, he finally appeared but with only one leg. No problem, he arrived fat, brightly colored and ready to challenge the others for the jelly. Nature can be cruel and sometimes fickle, but can also show us beauty and resilience.”

From the Monument area, numerous observers observed injured and dead birds: magpies, crows, a swallow, Blue Jays. Observers say Fish & Wildlife blamed both avian flu and West Nile virus. Either way, observers found the mounting toll quite distressing. Reporters included Bob McDonald, Margie Locke, Amy Dudley, Loralyn Stokes, Michelle McMurray, Carrie Hutton Steve Schroeder, Alice Brunette, Debbie & Bruce Carter, and (no last names) Selina, Genine, and Kami.

On Aug. 12 Urling and I watched an Olive-sided Flycatcher prowl above our feeders—it became our 160th yard bird! The next day a Hammond’s Flycatcher showed up — # 161 for the yard. This late summer we seem to see lots of Spotted Towhees, especially streaky immatures. Turkey Vultures have tapered off – but on June 23, while we atlased in upstate New York, Bob Andrews counted 82 (eighty-two) flying around from Castlewood Canyon!

And of course other critters show up. We see doe and fawn deer occasionally, as well as the ubiquitous non-native fox squirrels. And Dick Vogel sent this wonderful photo of a red fox in his yard.

This column relies on you and the birds that you see. Please send your observations to me via email or snail mail at 751 Willow Lake Drive, Franktown, 80116-9044.