Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What do birds do after they stop singing in mid summer?

From February through June, there is lots of bird song to be heard in our area.  Then, it rapidly dwindles through July and is even less evident in August.

What is going on? 

Generally, songbirds sing to advertise territory, both 1) to attract females, and 2) to draw a line in the sand against other males.

Indeed, males often decrease their song after they find a mate.  Also, because males help feed the nestlings and fledglings in most species, time is diverted to that as the nesting cycle advances.

But the main reason for the silence of late summer is that the birds have finished nesting altogether, and are now preoccupied with molting into a new set of feathers to prepare for either winter, or fall migration.  This is a quiet time of foraging to obtain the food and nutrients to grow their new plumage.  Late summer is the main season for complete molt among our species.

So they aIt may seem like there are fewer finches, mockingbirds, etc, around late summer than spring- but there are actually more, because of the addition of the new generation.   However, they have no reasons to sing, giving us our late summer silence.


for a copy of Birding Made Easy-New Orleans, email me at birding.made.easy.new.orleans@gmail.com, or look for it at the Maple Street or Garden District Book Shops.

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