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By Sandra Ebeling
These nice days get all of us thinking of fall. Birds are deciding this as well. This year my Purple Martins arrived late and so they are still here. I am sure they are wondering what is going on. I enjoy them so, I hate to see the day come when they are gone. The first year of their life is the most difficult. They have so much to learn. If it lives for more than one year, it has a good chance of living for several more. The average life span for most small birds, such as the ones at your feeder, is about two to five years. Larger birds, such as crows, may live ten years or more. The fall migration of birds is always exciting.
Bird populations are greatest just before migration because there are many new young birds from the summers breeding. Migration usually starts after the birds have completed their molt. Birds that not migrate will remain in the same area that they bred in or will move to nearby areas with better food. In winter, most pairs are less closely associated with each other. This continues until the following breeding season. After the young leave the nest they are called fledglings. Although they are out of the nest, they are still dependent on the parents for food.
Fledglings often sit and call continuously , and the adults may feed them less frequently than when they were nestlings but with larger pieces of food. Gradually, the fledglings will find food on their own. This phase may end abruptly with the parents becoming aggressive to their young and chasing them away. This phase lasts from one to several weeks. It is amazing what happens during this time, and how the young become adults.
If you live in a protected area, you may still have lots of feeder birds. I, myself, do not feed birds in the summer. I have many House Sparrows at my house and they try to steal birdhouses from the Blues to eating Hummingbird food. I swear they will try anything. I hope that you are having an enjoyable summer watching the birds. I have so been enjoying the Hummingbirds this past week. There have been so many. I have made lots of sugar water. Until next time, good birdwatching.