Outdoors Journal: Early summer bird notes

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT
  • Updated: June 23, 2011 - 8:03 PM

A trained observer can pick out two dozen different bird species in a June morning chorus of singers. Waterfowl are mostly all in a flightless condition now; they are molting their flight feathers. Purple martins are busy feeding young nestlings. Wild turkey hens can be seen with their small young (poults). On these summer evenings, watch for common nighthawks flying, calling and feeding over most of our cities and towns. They nest on rooftops. By 9:40 p.m., nearly all chimney swifts are in their chimney roosting sites.

Although birds do not have sweat glands, on hot days they are able to lose some of their body heat by vaporization of the moisture from their skin. However, birds are pre-eminently "panting animals" and their evaporative cooling comes mostly from the moist membranes lining the respiratory tract. During hot afternoons it's not unusual to see American robins, American crows or other birds perched quietly in the shade with their bills wide open, panting.

JIM GILBERT

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