Sue has been letting me in on a spot that contains Eastern Meadowlarks and Bobolinks, two birds I have not seen before. I scoped out the area a little bit today and it looks very promising for other birds as well, and I look forward to going there this weekend. Plus it's only about 10-15 minutes from the WFA house!
Speaking of the WFA house, I returned to it soon after noon-time. As soon as I went out where the feeders are, I spotted 10-15 downy gray feathers all tipped in blue. My heart skipped a beat and I wondered if they were from a Blue Jay or if a Bluebird youngster had been killed. I looked all over and found no bodies to draw chalk lines around, so I just hung out on the deck. A Blue Jay swooped down and landed on the feeders and out of seemingly nowhere, the male Eastern Bluebird who has been nesting nearby began dive-bombing the Blue Jay! It was hilarious. The Blue Jay kept making alarm calls while attempting to dodge the hits, while the male Bluebird gave weak little calls while swooping at the Blue Jay's head. Each bird tried snapping their bills at each other in an attempt to rip out feathers. I spotted the female Bluebird nearby on a post and she was standing there flapping her wings and incessantly making alarm calls. I cracked up. The Blue Jay flew away and the Bluebirds went to feeding whatever they have in their little next box.
Just when I thought the backyard bird fun was over with, I went back outside a few hours later to talk to my mom. While standing near my car, the male Bluebird flew right over to the other side of it and hovered in the air! I did not even know Bluebirds could do that! He rested on a post and then flew down to some out-of-sight yarrow, probably to grab an insect or two. I had another laugh because a male Goldfinch tried knocking him off the top of the nest house, so the Bluebird put one open wing up in the air and made little alarm noises at him. I know that people love Bluebirds because they're pretty, but this guy is just comical.
Also while standing out there, I heard a Pileated Woodpecker across the road in some pines. It was not visible, but it was definitely loud. There's also a nesting pair of Chipping Sparrows in the yard - they are fairly shy right now.
I went back inside, ate some food, and came back out because my parents were making quite a bit of noise. I quickly found out that all the excitement was because 5 young chickadees made their very first flight out of their nest box! Nobody even knew they were there, and I had forgotten the nest box due to it being hidden by apple trees. Well, one of the little chickadees (they weren't much larger than a Ruby-throated Humminbird) had fallen into the pool and my dad fished him out with the net, and they couldn't get the chickadee off. I went over to see and it was soaking wet and shaking. It also screeched and jumped right off the next on my approach, and hid by some rocks and shook it's wings. I looked it over and it seemed fine other than stressed and wet, and since it was out of harms way and it was really warm out, I just left it there. It sat for about 20-30 minutes, and then my dogs demanded to be let outside, so I picked up the mostly-dry chickadee and set it back in it's nest box. My mom got really worried that the adults weren't back after an hour, so I checked on it. It just sat there for a moment, then realized what was going on and flew right out at my face and up into some trees, so I guess it's okay now!
And that's that. These things above are why I love birds so much.
Updates may include birds at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve, as I'm headed there tomorrow to help out with habitat monitoring, and then potential meadowlark/bobolink sightings with Sue. :)