June 8, 2017 – White-throated Swallow (Hirundo albigularis)
These swallows are found in grasslands and other open areas, often near water, in parts of southern Africa. They eat flying insects, such as flies, wasps, and beetles, foraging alone, in pairs, or in small groups. Solitary nesters, they build open cup-shaped nests from mud pellets, lined with grass, rootlets, feathers, and hair. Both parents feed the chicks and pairs often raise two or more broods per year. After the breeding season they join flocks of up to 1,000 birds for migration.
June 4, 2017 – Rosy-patched Bush-shrike, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, or Rosy-patched Shrike (Rhodophoneus cruentus)
These bush-shrikes are found in eastern Africa, as far north as Egypt and as far south as Tanzania. They eat insects, such as beetles and grasshoppers, along with some small fruits. Pairs sing duets to build and maintain their bonds. Occasionally two males will compete for attention from a female, singing as a trio until the female chooses one as a mate. They are thought to breed in response to rain, frequently singing duets in the spring and early summer.
You can see a video of a pair singing together here.
May 31, 2017 – Himalayan Rubythroat or White-tailed Rubythroat (Calliope pectoralis)
These rubythroats are found in parts of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. They eat insects, spiders, mollusks, and small reptiles. During the breeding season, males sing for much of the day from exposed perches. Their nests are dome-shaped with large entrances on the side.
May 23, 2017 – Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii)
Requested by: Marjorie “Slim” Woodruff
These vireos are found in parts of the central and southwestern United States, through much of Mexico and into parts of western Central America. They eat insects and spiders, picking them from foliage, occasionally while hovering. Their hanging bag-shaped nests are built from grass, stems, plant fibers, skelotonized leaves, paper, bark strips, spider silk, and spider egg cases, suspended from forked branches. Both parents build the nests and incubate the eggs. Pairs with unsuccessful nests may try again, sometimes making as many as seven attempts in a season. They are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to habitat loss and brood parasitism by the Brown-Headed Cowbird.
May 19, 2017 – Eurasian Crag-martin, European Crag Martin, or Crag Martin (Hirundo rupestris)
These martins are found across southern Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and parts of central and South Asia. They catch small flying insects in the air, or pluck them from the ground or the surface of water, often foraging near cliffs in pairs or small flocks. Raising two broods per season, pairs build mud nests lined with grass and feathers in crevices, on cliffs, or on bridges or buildings. Females do most of the incubation, but both parents feed the chicks.
May 15, 2017 – Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)
These sparrows are found in southern Canada, Mexico, and much of the United States, excluding the east. They feed primarily on seeds and insects, spending much of their time foraging on the ground. Unlike many other sparrows they walk while on the ground, rather than hopping. During the breeding season, pairs select their nesting sites together, with males placing small sticks at potential sites and females building the nests. They build the cup-shaped nests on the ground, in shrubs, or in small trees, from grass, twigs, or stems, and line them with fine grasses or horse hair. Pairs may also take over old mockingbird or thrasher nests, sometimes sharing these, as eggs and chicks of both species have been observed in the same nest. Females incubate the eggs alone, but both parents care for the chicks.
May 11, 2017 – Oriole Blackbird (Gymnomystax mexicanus)
These New World blackbirds are found in northern parts of South America. Their diet consists of a wide variety of insects and arthropods, along with small frogs, and fruit. They are often found foraging in pairs or small groups. Probably monogamous, pairs build cup-shaped nests from dry grasses and weeds. Females incubate the eggs alone, but both parents feed the chicks.