30 May 2018
As regular readers of this blog will know I do a weekly bird survey at the University of Waterloo, but I always take note of other interesting discoveries too.
Most birds are now breeding, much of their song has become muted, they are secretive and we are entering the "slow" period for birders. It will be quiet until the hatch years birds birds fledge and join the adult population.
The first bird I saw this morning was this leucistic American Robin (Turdus migratorius).
Leucism is a condition in which there is a partial loss of pigmentation, resulting in white, pale or patchy colouration of the feathers - but not the eyes as in albinism.
Each year we see a few American Robins manifesting leucism to one degree or another, so perhaps this species, or Turdus thrushes in general, have some inherent susceptibility to this condition. I will have to do a little research!
A pair of Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) was busy feeding young with a veritable shuttle service being maintained by the two parents.
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is a very common bird, but for some reason I do not often encounter them in the woodlot. This individual was kind enough to stay put while I took a picture.
For the most part Mallard (Anas platyrynchos) drakes take no part in raising their young, so it was quite unusual to see this devoted father taking on his full share of responsibility for his offspring.
The sheer cuteness factor of recently hatched ducklings will never be diminished.
Just before leaving the woodlot I came across this Hippodamia glacialis ladybug.
It is quite large as ladybugs go, and is native to North America, making it a pleasing find when there are so many alien species that have found their way to this continent by one means or another.
I have a couple more weeks to go until we suspend the monitoring until late August, but perhaps the woodlot has other secrets to reveal before we wind it up for the spring.