Many consider this time of year slow for birding, which I think is both untrue and unfair. With so many resident birds, and birds that breed in our area, there is always plenty to see. Just because we are not in a peak migration period doesn’t mean birding is slow, it just means the variety of birds isn’t as great. To call it slow, doesn’t promote year round birding in a positive way.
Summer birding has perks of it’s own. It is only during this time of year that certain behaviours can be seen. Interactions between adults and babies are always fun to observe. Watching the young fledglings calling with their mouths wide open for food is not something you will experience during spring or fall migration. First flights are always entertaining and sometimes humorous to watch. It is these first short excursions, that quite often only last a few seconds, that make summer birding so enjoyable.
Following the breeding season is one of the times when we see a plumage change in birds. As birds molt, their appearance drastically changes making it a great time of year to practice and perfect identification skills. This is especially true in waterfowl as males enter their eclipse plumage, which again is something not seen during migration.
Closer views of birds are also had during these summer months. As the season progresses, birds become more accustomed to human activity and are less wary. This is especially true with birds that migrate into our region to breed. Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and warbler species are all much more skittish in early spring when they first arrive back in our area. Take the opportunity now to get a bird’s eye view of these species.
Traffic from other birders is also less during the summer months. Many of my favourite birding hotspots are absent of other birders at this time of year. Less people moving about makes hearing the various songs and calls easier. With the closer views mentioned earlier, quite often birds can be seen singing or calling, making summer the perfect time to learn identification by sound.
Bird activity is always greatest during cooler periods of the day, making early morning and evening the better times to go. Dress appropriately, making sure to protect yourself from the sun and insects. Sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellant should all be worn during summer birding.
Get out there and make the most of summer birding. Take in the once a year experiences that are happening right now. I’m sure you will agree that summer birding is hardly slow.