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Unit XII Summer Birds in Kansas Information. Introduction to Summer Birds Many of our summer birds do not spend the entire year here; they are insectivores.

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Presentation on theme: "Unit XII Summer Birds in Kansas Information. Introduction to Summer Birds Many of our summer birds do not spend the entire year here; they are insectivores."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unit XII Summer Birds in Kansas Information

2 Introduction to Summer Birds Many of our summer birds do not spend the entire year here; they are insectivores (few bugs out in winter). Many of our summer birds do not spend the entire year here; they are insectivores (few bugs out in winter). Most migrate south for winter, and will go to Caribbean Islands, South and Central America, U.S. Gulf Coast. Most migrate south for winter, and will go to Caribbean Islands, South and Central America, U.S. Gulf Coast. Many fly across the Gulf of Mexico during migration. These birds are called Neotropical migrants or trans- gulf migrants. Many fly across the Gulf of Mexico during migration. These birds are called Neotropical migrants or trans- gulf migrants. Many wintering habitats are under extreme pressure and are being destroyed due to logging, agriculture and urban sprawl (same as summer habitat here!) Many wintering habitats are under extreme pressure and are being destroyed due to logging, agriculture and urban sprawl (same as summer habitat here!) Many of these migrant birds are dropping dramatically in numbers due to habitat destruction. Many of these migrant birds are dropping dramatically in numbers due to habitat destruction.

3 Summer birds, cont. Many of these birds migrate back to U.S. for summer and they follow the “green wave” of spring: as trees are leafing out from south to north, the insects are timing their emergence to the new green leaves (food source), and many of these birds follow this timing to take advantage of the insect prey that is now available to them. Many of these birds migrate back to U.S. for summer and they follow the “green wave” of spring: as trees are leafing out from south to north, the insects are timing their emergence to the new green leaves (food source), and many of these birds follow this timing to take advantage of the insect prey that is now available to them.

4 Summer birds, cont. Migration has a tremendous cost: many birds die from starvation and exhaustion during migration, but for the ones that make it back, there is plenty of food available and not nearly as much competition for food and nesting territory as there is in the tropics. Migration has a tremendous cost: many birds die from starvation and exhaustion during migration, but for the ones that make it back, there is plenty of food available and not nearly as much competition for food and nesting territory as there is in the tropics. Many small birds migrate at night: the air is cooler so they don’t overheat, the atmosphere is more laminar (smooth--it has less disturbance) so they can fly easier, and many of the predatory species (hawks, eagles, falcons) migrate during the day. Many small birds migrate at night: the air is cooler so they don’t overheat, the atmosphere is more laminar (smooth--it has less disturbance) so they can fly easier, and many of the predatory species (hawks, eagles, falcons) migrate during the day.

5 Summer birds, cont. Many of these birds use the stars to navigate. Can become confused by lights from cities, tall buildings and towers—TV, cell phone, radio. Many of these towers can cause massive kills when birds fly into them or circle around them, disoriented. Many of these birds use the stars to navigate. Can become confused by lights from cities, tall buildings and towers—TV, cell phone, radio. Many of these towers can cause massive kills when birds fly into them or circle around them, disoriented. Many of these birds do not stay here for the winter; they are insectivores. There are not enough insects around for them to eat, therefore they migrate to the tropics where food is still plentiful in winter. Many of these birds do not stay here for the winter; they are insectivores. There are not enough insects around for them to eat, therefore they migrate to the tropics where food is still plentiful in winter.

6 Occurrence of a species, general terms Regular: about same numbers at same time of year. Regular: about same numbers at same time of year. Irregular: numbers or distribution may very each year Irregular: numbers or distribution may very each year Local: present at a few places Local: present at a few places Casual: very small numbers in most years Casual: very small numbers in most years Vagrant: rarely, but can be expected every few years Vagrant: rarely, but can be expected every few years Accidental: far out of its normal range; not expected Accidental: far out of its normal range; not expected Presence in proper habitat: Presence in proper habitat: Rare: only few individuals seen in a season Rare: only few individuals seen in a season Uncommon: small numbers present but can be found Uncommon: small numbers present but can be found Common: easily found in good numbers Common: easily found in good numbers Abundant: large numbers, widespread and conspicuous Abundant: large numbers, widespread and conspicuous

7 Barn Swallow

8 Family: Hiruninidae, the Swallows. Family: Hiruninidae, the Swallows. Common breeding bird from late April to October. Common breeding bird from late April to October. Insectivore—eats insects, often caught on the wing (while flying) Insectivore—eats insects, often caught on the wing (while flying) Raises one or two broods a season Raises one or two broods a season Swallows have a “forked” tail. Swallows have a “forked” tail.

9 Eastern Bluebird

10 Eastern Bluebird nest box

11 Eastern Bluebird chicks

12 Eastern Bluebird Family: Muscicapidae, the Thrushes. Family: Muscicapidae, the Thrushes. Primarily an insectivore, but in winter eats berries, fruit and suet. Primarily an insectivore, but in winter eats berries, fruit and suet. Favors edge habitat between woods and open land, farm land, orchards, parks. Favors edge habitat between woods and open land, farm land, orchards, parks. Cavity nester—faces strong competition from non-native House Sparrows and Starlings. Cavity nester—faces strong competition from non-native House Sparrows and Starlings. Does very well with nesting in “bluebird trails”, a line of bluebird boxes along edges, brushy fields, roadsides where predators are excluded. Should have boxes baffled and entrance holes protected to prevent snakes and other predators from preying on them. Does very well with nesting in “bluebird trails”, a line of bluebird boxes along edges, brushy fields, roadsides where predators are excluded. Should have boxes baffled and entrance holes protected to prevent snakes and other predators from preying on them.

13 Great Blue Heron

14

15 Family: Ardeidae, the herons, egrets and bitterns Family: Ardeidae, the herons, egrets and bitterns Found in nearly any farm pond, lake edge or stream in Kansas. Found in nearly any farm pond, lake edge or stream in Kansas. Wades in water and watches for fish and frogs, and then catches them in their beak and swallows them whole. Wades in water and watches for fish and frogs, and then catches them in their beak and swallows them whole. Can be found in winter as long as there is open water. Moves south if water freezes, and moves back north when water becomes open again. Can be found in winter as long as there is open water. Moves south if water freezes, and moves back north when water becomes open again.

16 Great Egret

17 Family: Ardeidae, the herons, egrets and bitterns Family: Ardeidae, the herons, egrets and bitterns Found in nearly any shallow water or pond in Kansas, same habitat as great blue heron. Found in nearly any shallow water or pond in Kansas, same habitat as great blue heron. A bit smaller than a great blue heron. A bit smaller than a great blue heron. Fishes for food by walking slowly in the water, watching and catching fish in long pointed beak. Fishes for food by walking slowly in the water, watching and catching fish in long pointed beak.

18 Common Grackle

19 Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds Extremely common in summer. Extremely common in summer. Males are large birds; bigger than a blue jay but smaller than a crow. Males are large birds; bigger than a blue jay but smaller than a crow. Black, but have an iridescent sheen in sunlight. Yellow eyes. Black, but have an iridescent sheen in sunlight. Yellow eyes.

20 Indigo Bunting

21 Family: Cardinalidae, the cardinals, grosbeaks and buntings Family: Cardinalidae, the cardinals, grosbeaks and buntings Males are an unreal, electric blue—absolutely beautiful, especially in full sunlight. Males are an unreal, electric blue—absolutely beautiful, especially in full sunlight. Females are very dull brown—no distinctive markings. Females are very dull brown—no distinctive markings. Size of a sparrow. Size of a sparrow. Neotropical migrant: found here from about late April through October. Neotropical migrant: found here from about late April through October. Common birds of forest and edge habitat, and brushy areas. Common birds of forest and edge habitat, and brushy areas.

22 Red-tailed Hawk

23 Family: Accipitridae, the hawks, eagles, kites Family: Accipitridae, the hawks, eagles, kites Most common hawk in eastern Kansas. Most common hawk in eastern Kansas. Often seen sitting on utility poles or fences along roadsides. Often seen sitting on utility poles or fences along roadsides. Highly variable plumage. Highly variable plumage. Holds wings in pretty much straight out from body while soaring, may be in a very slight V shape. Holds wings in pretty much straight out from body while soaring, may be in a very slight V shape. Hunts for mainly rodents, but will also eat snakes, birds and lizards. Hunts for mainly rodents, but will also eat snakes, birds and lizards. Adults have red tails, juveniles do not. Adults have red tails, juveniles do not.

24 Red-winged Blackbird

25 Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds Very common bird in March-late fall. Very common bird in March-late fall. Common nesting species anywhere cattails are found. Common nesting species anywhere cattails are found. Can find them during winter, but they are in large mixed flocks—these are the large black “clouds” of swirling, turning blackbirds you can see over fields in the winter. Can find them during winter, but they are in large mixed flocks—these are the large black “clouds” of swirling, turning blackbirds you can see over fields in the winter.

26 Turkey Vulture

27 Family: Cathartidae, the vultures (New World vultures) Family: Cathartidae, the vultures (New World vultures) Found here from mid-March through mid- October. Found here from mid-March through mid- October. Holds wings in distinctive V-shape (dihedral) while soaring, and teeters on wind. Holds wings in distinctive V-shape (dihedral) while soaring, and teeters on wind. Rarely flaps wings, rather rides warm air thermals and glides. Rarely flaps wings, rather rides warm air thermals and glides. Very important scavenger. Eats dead animals and one of the few birds with a good sense of smell. Very important scavenger. Eats dead animals and one of the few birds with a good sense of smell.

28 Meadowlark sp.

29 Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds Eastern and Western meadowlark both occur here. Eastern and Western meadowlark both occur here. Look extremely similar, and often cannot tell the difference until they sing. They have very different songs. Look extremely similar, and often cannot tell the difference until they sing. They have very different songs. Western Meadowlark is the Kansas State Bird. Western Meadowlark is the Kansas State Bird. Nests in open country and prairie habitat, and builds nest on ground. Nests in open country and prairie habitat, and builds nest on ground.

30 Green Heron

31 Family: Ardeidae, the herons. Family: Ardeidae, the herons. Small, chunky heron with short legs. Small, chunky heron with short legs. Usually solitary; prefers streams, ponds, and marshes with woodland cover. Usually solitary; prefers streams, ponds, and marshes with woodland cover. Eats small fishes, insects, crustaceans, and frogs. Also takes most animals small enough to eat. Eats small fishes, insects, crustaceans, and frogs. Also takes most animals small enough to eat.

32 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

33 Family: Trochilidae, the hummingbirds Family: Trochilidae, the hummingbirds Hovers at flowers to sip nectar with needle-like bills. Twittery calls. Males throat feathers look black in poor light. Hovers at flowers to sip nectar with needle-like bills. Twittery calls. Males throat feathers look black in poor light. Extremely small birds. Extremely small birds. Only common hummingbird found in eastern U.S. Only common hummingbird found in eastern U.S. Drinks nectar. Will come to feeders that contain 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, boiled to dissolve, and cooled. (Do NOT add red coloring). Drinks nectar. Will come to feeders that contain 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, boiled to dissolve, and cooled. (Do NOT add red coloring). Feeder nectar must be changed every few days when it gets cloudy. Feeder nectar must be changed every few days when it gets cloudy. Very tame—will come right up to people if they sit still. Very tame—will come right up to people if they sit still.

34 Common Nighthawk

35 Family: Caprimulgidae, the nighthawks and nightjars. Family: Caprimulgidae, the nighthawks and nightjars. Common summer resident throughout Kansas. Common summer resident throughout Kansas. Seen in woodlands, suburbs, towns, usually in the evening as it flies around and catches insects. Seen in woodlands, suburbs, towns, usually in the evening as it flies around and catches insects. During courtship, the males enter a dive and then pull up sharply, and as the wind rushes over the wings it makes a very loud rushing sound. During courtship, the males enter a dive and then pull up sharply, and as the wind rushes over the wings it makes a very loud rushing sound. Call is a loud “peent” when flying. Call is a loud “peent” when flying.

36 Northern Oriole

37 Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds Found throughout Kansas. Found throughout Kansas. Comes to bird baths, feeders with fresh fruit. They will come to gather colorful yarn if put out during breeding season. Comes to bird baths, feeders with fresh fruit. They will come to gather colorful yarn if put out during breeding season. Bright and conspicuous birds—one of our best-known birds. Bright and conspicuous birds—one of our best-known birds. Eats insects, necter and fruit. Eats insects, necter and fruit. Builds a neat, pendulum-shaped nest of woven fibers that hangs down from a branch with a hole in one side. Builds a neat, pendulum-shaped nest of woven fibers that hangs down from a branch with a hole in one side.

38 Brown Thrasher

39

40 Family: Mimidae, the mockingbirds and thrashers. Family: Mimidae, the mockingbirds and thrashers. Notable singers Notable singers Also called the planting bird, because when this bird arrives in April, it is time to plant peas. Also called the planting bird, because when this bird arrives in April, it is time to plant peas. Common in hedgerows, brush, woodland edges, often close to human habitation. Common in hedgerows, brush, woodland edges, often close to human habitation.

41 Eastern Kingbird

42 Family: Tyrannidae, the tyrant flycatchers. Family: Tyrannidae, the tyrant flycatchers. Common throughout Kansas in the summers. Common throughout Kansas in the summers. Seen in woodland clearings, farms, orchards, roadsides. They often sit on exposed perches and fly out after insects. Seen in woodland clearings, farms, orchards, roadsides. They often sit on exposed perches and fly out after insects. Slate-gray back, white belly and a white band across the tip of its black tail. Slate-gray back, white belly and a white band across the tip of its black tail.

43 Western Kingbird

44 Family: Tyrannidae, the tyrant flycatchers. Family: Tyrannidae, the tyrant flycatchers. Common throuhout Kansas in the summers. Common throuhout Kansas in the summers. Often perches on wires, fences or posts in open country such as roadsides. They often sit on exposed perches and fly out after insects. Often perches on wires, fences or posts in open country such as roadsides. They often sit on exposed perches and fly out after insects. Has gray head, yellow belly, and dark wings. Has gray head, yellow belly, and dark wings.

45 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

46 Family: Tyrannidae, the tyrant flycatchers. Family: Tyrannidae, the tyrant flycatchers. Common in southern 2/3 of Kansas in the summers. Common in southern 2/3 of Kansas in the summers. A southern-plains “specialty” bird—one that birders come from all over to see. Range is throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and that is about it. A southern-plains “specialty” bird—one that birders come from all over to see. Range is throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and that is about it. Very long, forked tail that often spreads open when it flies. Very long, forked tail that often spreads open when it flies. Often seen perched on utility poles, fences, posts in open country and roadsides. They often sit on exposed perches and fly out after insects. Often seen perched on utility poles, fences, posts in open country and roadsides. They often sit on exposed perches and fly out after insects.

47 American Kestrel

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49 Family: Falconidae, the falcons Family: Falconidae, the falcons Smallest falcon species. Smallest falcon species. They “wind-hover”: they hover in same place in the sky and watch the ground below them for prey—mostly insects but also snakes, mice, frogs, lizards. They “wind-hover”: they hover in same place in the sky and watch the ground below them for prey—mostly insects but also snakes, mice, frogs, lizards. Also hunts from exposed perches. Typically eats grasshoppers and small rodents. Also hunts from exposed perches. Typically eats grasshoppers and small rodents. Prefers open habitat with scattered trees. Prefers open habitat with scattered trees.

50 Rock Dove

51 Family: Columbidae, the pigeons and doves. Family: Columbidae, the pigeons and doves. This is the highly variable city pigeon. This is the highly variable city pigeon. Non-native. Introduced from Europe, it is now widespread and common, especially in urban settings. Non-native. Introduced from Europe, it is now widespread and common, especially in urban settings. In Kansas, it is often seen on wires and under underpasses. In Kansas, it is often seen on wires and under underpasses. Wide range of color variation, they can be white, reddish, gray and dark with iridescence, or combinations. Wide range of color variation, they can be white, reddish, gray and dark with iridescence, or combinations.

52 Killdeer

53 Killdeer (broken wing display)

54 Killdeer Family: Charadriidae, the lapwings and plovers. Family: Charadriidae, the lapwings and plovers. Most common shorebird in Kansas. Most common shorebird in Kansas. Only shorebird with the black double breast bands. Only shorebird with the black double breast bands. Nests on open, flat ground, flat rooftops, gravel driveways, etc. Nests on open, flat ground, flat rooftops, gravel driveways, etc. They run and stop abruptly when foraging for food. They run and stop abruptly when foraging for food. Parents will pretend to have a broken wing when predators come too close to the nest, and then they will fly off when they draw predator far enough away. Parents will pretend to have a broken wing when predators come too close to the nest, and then they will fly off when they draw predator far enough away.

55 Belted Kingfisher

56 Family: Alcedinidae, the kingfishers Family: Alcedinidae, the kingfishers Only kingfisher species north of Texas and Arizona. Only kingfisher species north of Texas and Arizona. Often sits on branches or power lines over open water watching for small fish or frogs. Often sits on branches or power lines over open water watching for small fish or frogs. It completely dives into the water after its prey, mostly fish, and flies back to perch to eat it. It completely dives into the water after its prey, mostly fish, and flies back to perch to eat it.

57 Wild Turkey

58 Family: Phasianidae, the partridges, grouse and turkeys. Family: Phasianidae, the partridges, grouse and turkeys. Largest game bird in North America, and is slightly smaller than domestic turkeys. Largest game bird in North America, and is slightly smaller than domestic turkeys. Found throughout Kansas in open forest habitat, and has been restocked through much of its former range. Found throughout Kansas in open forest habitat, and has been restocked through much of its former range. Forages on ground for seeds, nuts and insects. Forages on ground for seeds, nuts and insects. Roosts in trees at night. Roosts in trees at night.

59 Yellow Warbler

60 Family: Parulidae, the wood-warblers Family: Parulidae, the wood-warblers The group of birds called Warblers are very colorful, active birds. The group of birds called Warblers are very colorful, active birds. Neotropical migrants. Neotropical migrants. Small, insect-eating birds, usually found near tree tops. Small, insect-eating birds, usually found near tree tops. Most migrate through eastern Kansas from about May 5-May 15. Most migrate through eastern Kansas from about May 5-May 15. Yellow warbler nests here in summer, and is a more common warbler in our area. Yellow warbler nests here in summer, and is a more common warbler in our area.

61 Brown-headed Cowbird

62 Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds. Family: Icteridae, the blackbirds. Common in woodlands, farmlands, suburbs. Found across U.S. Common in woodlands, farmlands, suburbs. Found across U.S. Males song is squeaky and gurgling. Males song is squeaky and gurgling. They are a “brood parasite”, which means they lay their eggs in other birds nests to be raised and fed! They don’t raise their own young. They are a “brood parasite”, which means they lay their eggs in other birds nests to be raised and fed! They don’t raise their own young.

63 House Wren

64 Family: Troglodytidae, the wrens Family: Troglodytidae, the wrens Wrens are chunky birds with slender, slightly curved bills. Tails are often uptilted. Wrens are chunky birds with slender, slightly curved bills. Tails are often uptilted. Will nest in bushes, low trees, brush piles, firewood piles. Can easily be attracted to nest boxes hung in yards. Will nest in bushes, low trees, brush piles, firewood piles. Can easily be attracted to nest boxes hung in yards. Insectivore. Insectivore. Very vocal for such a small bird. Very vocal for such a small bird.

65 Downy Woodpecker

66 Family: Picidae, the woodpeckers Family: Picidae, the woodpeckers Smallest woodpecker in Kansas Smallest woodpecker in Kansas Males have red crown patch. Females don’t have any red on head. Males have red crown patch. Females don’t have any red on head. Eats sunflower seeds from feeders, but prefers suet from suet feeders. Eats sunflower seeds from feeders, but prefers suet from suet feeders. Shy birds, often hide on opposite side of tree trunk Shy birds, often hide on opposite side of tree trunk Use their tail as a brace when they climb up a tree. Use their tail as a brace when they climb up a tree. In winter can be found in mixed flocks of chickadees, kinglets and titmice. In winter can be found in mixed flocks of chickadees, kinglets and titmice.

67 House Finch

68 Family: Fringillidae, the finches Family: Fringillidae, the finches Males have red wash on face, head and chest. Females are brown and white streaked. Males have red wash on face, head and chest. Females are brown and white streaked. Readily eat sunflower seed from feeders. Readily eat sunflower seed from feeders. They occur where humans live. They occur where humans live.

69 Blue Jay

70 Family: Corvidae, the Corvids, crows and jays Family: Corvidae, the Corvids, crows and jays Common resident in Kansas Common resident in Kansas Readily eats seed from feeders and also likes acorns and other nuts. Readily eats seed from feeders and also likes acorns and other nuts. Territorial and very aggressive, especially when nesting. Territorial and very aggressive, especially when nesting. Migrates farther south in the fall, and our winter birds may be northern breeders, or our numbers may simply be augmented by northern birds. Migrates farther south in the fall, and our winter birds may be northern breeders, or our numbers may simply be augmented by northern birds.

71 Black-capped Chickadee

72 Family: Paridae, chickadees and titmice Family: Paridae, chickadees and titmice Small, gregarious birds Small, gregarious birds Year-round residents Year-round residents Readily eats sunflower seeds at feeders Readily eats sunflower seeds at feeders Often found in mixed flocks with downy woodpeckers, kinglets and titmice in winter. Often found in mixed flocks with downy woodpeckers, kinglets and titmice in winter. This species has been hit hard by West Nile Virus, and their numbers have declined in recent years. This species has been hit hard by West Nile Virus, and their numbers have declined in recent years.

73 American Robin

74 American Robin chicks

75 American Robin Family: Turdidae, thrushes Family: Turdidae, thrushes Common transient, and summer resident statewide; size of wintering population varies with food supply and weather conditions. Common transient, and summer resident statewide; size of wintering population varies with food supply and weather conditions. One of best-known and popular species in Kansas. One of best-known and popular species in Kansas. Eats beetles, grasshoppers, cicadas, a large number of earthworms, etc. Eats beetles, grasshoppers, cicadas, a large number of earthworms, etc. Also eats wild cherries, grapes, mulberry fruits, pokeweed, juniper berries, etc. Also eats wild cherries, grapes, mulberry fruits, pokeweed, juniper berries, etc.

76 References National Geographic Field Guide to North American Birds. National Geographic Field Guide to North American Birds. Birds in Kansas, Volumes I and II, by Max Thompson and Charles Ely. Birds in Kansas, Volumes I and II, by Max Thompson and Charles Ely. Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds, Fourth Edition, 1980, by Roger Tory Peterson Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds, Fourth Edition, 1980, by Roger Tory Peterson Peterson Field Guide to Advanced Birding, 1990, by Kenn Kaufman Peterson Field Guide to Advanced Birding, 1990, by Kenn Kaufman “Educators Guide to Bird Study”, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, accessed May 3, 2007, online at “Educators Guide to Bird Study”, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, accessed May 3, 2007, online at Kansas Ornithological Society Checklist of Birds, 10th edition, 2003, accessed May 3, 2007, online at Kansas Ornithological Society Checklist of Birds, 10th edition, 2003, accessed May 3, 2007, online at


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