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Author Topic: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE  (Read 9315 times)

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #105 on: August 30, 2021, 07:11:42 PM »

Eastern Kingbird, ,  continued

Map of Eastern Kingbird eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:

Eastern Kingbirds are notoriously aggressive toward larger birds and potential nest predators. Kingbirds are regularly seen chasing and attaching hawks and crows.
Once a kingbird was observed to knock a Blue Jay out of a tree and cause it to hide under a bush to escape the attack.
During the breeding season, Eastern Kingbirds are highly territorial and mostly eat flying insects. In the winter in South America, they travel in flocks and eat fruits.
The oldest known Eastern Kingbird in the wild was 10 years, 1 month old.
Obsolete English Names: bee martin

Best places to see in Tennessee: Found in every county of the state, especially in more open areas along rivers and in old fields and hedgerows.




Sources:
Murphy, M. T. 1996. Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus). The Birds of North America, No. 253 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:43:14 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #106 on: September 02, 2021, 01:41:48 AM »

White-eyed Vireo,
Vireo griseus



This small and secretive bird of shrubby areas is more likely to be heard than seen. The song of the White-eyed Vireo is a powerful, short, jumble of notes that begins and ends with a sharp chik. It is a persistent singer throughout the spring and into late summer.

The White-eyed Vireo arrives in Tennessee in early April and remains later than most migrants, departing in mid-October and occasionally staying into November. It breeds across most of the eastern United States and winters around the Gulf Coast, northern Central America, and the Caribbean.

Description: This small songbird has white eyes, yellow "spectacles" around the eyes, olive-green upperparts, a white throat, chest, and belly, yellow sides, and two white wingbars. Immature birds have brown and gray eyes (July-February). Sexes are similar in plumage.

Length: 5"
Wingspan: 7.5"
Weight: 0.4 oz

Voice: The song is a quick sharp series of 5 to 7 notes beginning and ending with emphatic chik. Sometimes described as quick with the beer check. Both males and females will sing this song on the wintering grounds.

Similar Species:

Bell's Vireo, a very rare bird in Tennessee, is similar in appearance but lacks the bright yellow spectacles, is grayer overall, and has dark eyes.
Blue-headed Vireos have white spectacles, dark eyes, and a dark gray head.
Habitat: Found in deciduous scrub, overgrown pastures, old fields, wood margins, streamside thickets, and mangroves.

Diet: Insects, some fruit.
Nesting and reproduction: Females apparently choose their mates by wandering from territory to territory before they settle on one.

Clutch Size: Usually 3 to 4 eggs, with a range of 2 to 5.

Incubation: Both adults incubate the eggs for 12 to 15 days.

Fledging: Both parents feed the young, which leave the nest after 9 to 12 days.

Nest: Females choose the nest site, and males and females construct the nest together. It is usually suspended from a twig of a small tree or shrub, usually within 8 feet of the ground. The nest is made of fine materials such as mosses, lichens, leaves, and small sticks, and lined with even finer material such as plant down and spider's silk. It is often pointed or tapered at the bottom.

Status in Tennessee: The White-eyed Vireo is a common summer resident and migrant at lower elevations across the state. It arrives in early April and departs in mid-October, occasionally staying into early November. This species appears to be declining in Tennessee, likely the result of the loss of brushy habitat and hedgerows in and around farmlands.

« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:43:29 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #107 on: September 02, 2021, 01:47:08 AM »

White-eyed Vireo,
continued
Fun Facts:

On the wintering grounds, both the male and the female will sing the quick with the beer check song that the male sings on the breeding grounds.
A wing bone of a White-eyed Vireo from the late Pleistocene, approximately 400,000 years ago, was found in Florida.
The oldest known White-eyed Vireo in the wild was 7 years 11 months old.
Best places to see in Tennessee: The White-eyed Vireo can be found in appropriate habitat in every county of the state.





Sources:

Hopp, S. L., A. Kirby, and C. A. Boone. 1995. White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus). The Birds of North America, No. 168 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists Union, Washington, D.C.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.


Map of White-eyed Vireo eBird observations in Tennessee
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:43:42 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #108 on: September 02, 2021, 01:49:45 AM »

Red-eyed Vireo,
Vireo olivaceus


The Red-eyed Vireo is a very common Eastern songbird and has the reputation for being the most persistent of singers.  This inconspicuous bird of the forest canopy will sing its series of short, variable phrases from dawn until dusk.

A common breeding bird across the state, the Red-eyed Vireo can be found in Tennessee from mid-April until late September.  Rangewide it breeds across most of Canada and the eastern United States and migrates to northern South America and the Amazon basin for the winter.

Description: This small, drab songbird is olive-green above and white below, with a pale yellow wash on the sides of the breast.  It has a bluish-gray crown, and a white eyebrow with a black stripe through the eye.  Adult eyes are dark red, and immature birds during their first fall have brown eyes. The male and female are alike in plumage.

Length: 6"
Wingspan: 10"
Weight: 0.6 oz

Voice: The song is a continuous series of two or three note phrases similar to Here I am, where are you, up here, see me. Red-eyed Vireos also give a catbird-like mew.

Similar Species:

Philadelphia and Warbling Vireos have similar plumage patterns, but unlike the Red-eyed Vireo, these species lack a black edge above the white eyebrow line making the head appear much less strongly patterned. In addition, the Philadelphia Vireo typically has a yellow wash to the underparts, and the back of the Warbling Vireo is more gray than olive.
Habitat: Breeds in deciduous and mixed deciduous forests, more abundant in forest interior. Also in urban areas and parks with large trees.

Diet: Insects, especially caterpillars, found in the tree canopy. Also, small fruits especially on tropical wintering grounds.

Nesting and reproduction: Males arrive first on the breeding grounds and pairs form shortly after the arrival of the females.

Clutch Size: Usually 4 eggs, with a range of 3 to 5.

Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for 11 to 14 days.

Fledging: The female does most of the feeding and the young leave the nest after 10 to 12 days.

Nest: The female builds the open cup-nest, which is suspended from a forked tree branch. The nest is made of twigs, bark strips, grasses, pine needles, and lichen, and held together with spider web. The inner lining of the nest is made of grasses, plant fibers, and hair. Nest heights range from 5 to 35 feet above the ground.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:43:54 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #109 on: September 02, 2021, 01:52:38 AM »

Red-eyed Vireo, continued

Status in Tennessee: The Red-eyed Vireo is one of the most common and widespread forest dwelling species in the state. It is a Neotropical migrant, breeding in deciduous and mixed forests statewide and wintering in South America. It can be found in the state from mid-April through September and October. The population appears be increasing in Tennessee.

Map of Red-eyed Vireo eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:

During the breeding season, Red-eyed Vireos primarily eat insects. During the winter, they travel in flocks with South American residents and other migrants, and eat fruit almost exclusively.
Some ornithologists believe that a non-migratory population of Red-eyed Vireos living in South America may be a separate species.
Red-eyed Vireos are common hosts to the Brown-headed Cowbird, which lays its eggs in the vireo's nest.
The oldest known Red-eyed Vireo in the wild was 10 years 2 months old.
Obsolete English Names: red-eyed greenlet, yellow-green greenlet

Best places to see in Tennessee: They can be found in large deciduous and mixed deciduous forests across the state.




Sources:

Cimprich, D. A., F. R. Moore, and M. P. Guilfoyle. 2000. Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus ). The Birds of North America (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:44:08 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #110 on: September 04, 2021, 07:22:28 PM »

Blue Jay,
Cyanocitta cristata



Blue Jays are among the most handsome of birds and are renowned for their cleverness and raucous voice.  They have unjustly gotten a bad reputation for raiding the nests of other species possibly because John James Audubon illustrated them in the act.

While Blue Jays are not innocent of such an offense, birds and eggs make up a tiny portion of their diet. Blue Jays are, however, very aggressive toward potential predators and frequently mob hawks, large owls, snakes, raccoons, cats, and even humans that venture too close to fledged young.

Blue Jays breed from southern Canada across the eastern United States.  They are partially migratory with some individuals remaining throughout the year, while others migrate to the southern portions of the range. In Tennessee, Blue Jays are year round residents with more northerly nesting jays joining the local population in winter.

Description: The Blue Jay is blue above, grayish-white below, has a prominent blue crest, and a bold black "necklace" across the chest. The male and female look similar; the juvenile (May-August) is duller.

Length: 11"
Wingspan: 16"
Weight: 3 oz

Voice: The Blue Jay makes a large variety of sounds including a shrill descending jaaay, a repeated jay jay jay, a whistled-warble toodali, clicks, and rattles, and is an expert at mimicking the call of the Red-shouldered Hawk.

Similar Species:

No other bird found in North America has a blue back, blue crest, and a black "necklace" across the upper chest.
This is the only jay species found in Tennessee.
Habitat: Found in deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests and woodlands, more along forest edges than in the deep forest. They are also common in urban and suburban areas, especially where large oaks are present.

Diet: Arthropods, acorns and nuts, fruits, seeds, small vertebrates. Blue Jays frequently visit birdfeeders.
Nesting and reproduction: In Tennessee, Blue Jays begin courtship in late winter; peak egg laying is in late April, and pairs will frequently raise two broods in a season.

Clutch Size: 3 to 5 eggs, range to 7 eggs.

Incubation: The female does most of the 16 to 18 days of incubation with the male providing her food.

Fledging: Chicks fledge in 17 to 21 days. Fledglings begin foraging for themselves within 3 weeks but may be fed by the parents for another 2 months.

Nest: The female does most of the nest building, which takes 3 to 5 days.  The nest is an open cup of twigs, grass, and sometimes mud, and lined with rootlets

. It is typically located in the crotch or outer branches of a deciduous or coniferous tree. Nest heights range from 5 to 50 feet above the ground. In Tennessee, the average nest height is 18 feet.

Status in Tennessee: The Blue Jay is a common and conspicuous permanent resident.  Flocks of migrating Blue Jays can often be seen in fall (mid-September to early November) and spring (late March into early May).

Breeding Bird Survey data show a slight, but significant decline in Blue Jay numbers in Tennessee and rangewide. Reasons for the decline are not clear.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:44:22 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #111 on: September 04, 2021, 07:25:55 PM »

Blue Jay,, continued

Map of Blue Jay eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:

Much about Blue Jay migration is still a mystery. Evidence indicates that young jays may be more likely to migrate than adults, and some adults migrate south in one year, stay north the next winter, and then migrate south again the next year.
Blue Jays are especially good mimics of Red-shouldered Hawks. It is not known if they do this to warn other jays of a hawk's presence or to fool other species into believing a hawk is close by.
The blue in a Blue Jay's feather is not from pigments, but is the result of light refraction within the internal structure of the feathers. If a Blue Jay feather is crushed, the blue disappears as the structure is destroyed.
The oldest know Blue Jay in the wild was 17 years 6 months old!
Best places to see in Tennessee: This species can be found in a variety of forested landscapes in every county of the state.







« Last Edit: September 04, 2021, 07:28:02 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #112 on: September 04, 2021, 07:27:46 PM »

Blue Jay,, continued





Sources:

Tarvin, K. A., and G. E. Woolfenden. 1999. Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). The Birds of North America, No. 469 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of TN Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:44:40 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #113 on: September 04, 2021, 07:31:34 PM »

American Crow
Corvus brachyrhynchos



The American Crow is one of the most common and best-known species in Tennessee.  Its harsh caw can be heard in every county in the state and in every month of the year.

It is a clever opportunist and might be seen in flocks in agricultural fields, in suburban neighborhoods scavenging roadkill, or at the city dump.  It is widely distributed, breeding across central Canada and from coast to coast, avoiding only the desert regions of the southwest.

The northernmost breeders migrate to the southern portions of the range in winter.  American Crows form communal roosts during the non-breeding season that can be enormous with many thousands of individuals.

Description: Medium sized all black bird including dark eyes and black legs.

Length: 17.5"

Wingspan: 39"

Weight: 1 lb

Voice: The call is a familiar caw, along with other sounds.

Similar Species:

Fish Crow is very similar in appearance, but has a nasal voice. This species is uncommon and found most often in West Tennessee.
Common Raven is larger with a longer and more curved bill, shaggy throat feathers, a wedge-shaped tail, and a deeper, more guttural voice. Ravens are only found in the eastern mountain regions of East Tennessee.
Habitat: Found in a variety of habitats.  Requires open ground for feeding and scattered trees for roosting and nesting.

Diet: American Crows are omnivorous and will eat waste grain, earthworms, insects, carrion, garbage, seeds, amphibians, reptiles, mice, fruit, bird eggs and nestlings.  They feed primarily on the ground.

Nesting and reproduction: American Crows do not breed until they are at least two years old, and many not until four years old.  Young from previous years are known to help their parents raise the current brood.

Clutch Size: Usually 3 to 6 eggs.

Incubation: Females incubate the eggs for 18 to 19 days, and are fed by their mates.

Fledging: Both adults feed the young, which leave the nest in 28 to 35 days. They remain dependent on the adults for another 2 weeks.  Family groups remain together into the winter.

Nest: Construction of the well-made cup nest begins in March, and takes about 2 weeks.  The outside shell is made of sticks, with mud and grass on the inside.  Nests are usually placed high in a tree, often in cedar trees in Tennessee, and nest heights in the state range from 10 to 70 feet with an average of 32 feet.

Status in Tennessee: The American Crow is a common year-round resident across the state, with numbers generally increasing from west to east. Migrants from northern regions augment the resident population in winter.

"Sport-hunting" is allowed in fall and winter in Tennessee, but there is no estimate of the number of birds killed annually. American Crow populations appear to be stable in the state, however, severe susceptibility to West Nile virus may cause population decreases in the future.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:45:01 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #114 on: September 04, 2021, 07:36:05 PM »

American Crow,  continued




Fun Facts:

American Crows congregate in large numbers in winter to sleep in communal roosts.  These roosts can be of a few hundred, several thousand, or even up to two million crows.  Some roosts have been forming in the same general area for well over 100 years. In the last few decades, some of these roosts have moved into urban areas where the noise and mess cause conflicts with people.
Despite being a common exploiter of roadkill, the American Crow is not specialized to be a scavenger, and carrion is only a very small part of its diet. Its stout bill is not strong enough to break through the skin of even a gray squirrel.  It must wait for something else, like a vulture, to open a carcass or for the carcass to decompose and become tender enough to eat.
The American Crow appears to be the biggest victim of West Nile virus, a disease recently introduced to North America.  Crows die within one week of infection, and few seem able to survive exposure.  No other North American bird is dying at such a high rate from the disease. The population of crows in some areas has been greatly reduced due to mortality from West Nile virus.
The oldest known American Crow in the wild was 14 years 17 months old.
Obsolete English Names: common crow, southern crow

Best places to see in Tennessee: This species can be found in a variety of habitats in every county of the state.

For more information:

Center for Disease Control - West Nile Virus Detection in American Crows







Sources:

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.

Verbeek, N. A. M., and C. Caffrey. 2002. American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). The Birds of North America, No. 647 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:45:13 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #115 on: September 07, 2021, 01:03:47 AM »

Purple Martin,
Progne subis


The Purple Martin is the largest swallow in North America, and in the eastern United States, it is almost completely dependent on human-made birdhouses for nest sites.  This is perhaps the earliest spring migrant in Tennessee arriving by the first of March and can be found nesting in every county in the state.

After the breeding season in July and August, adults and fledglings from large communal roosts, often near large bodies of water, but also in urban and suburban settings where they can find sanctuary from predators.

One roost in downtown Nashville discovered in 2010, contained tens of thousands of individuals (see Fun Facts below).

Most Purple Martins in Tennessee depart by early September for the wintering grounds throughout the lowlands east of the Andes in South America.

Description: This large swallow has a large head, broad, pointed wings, and a short, slightly notched tail.  The male is entirely bluish-black; the female is bluish-black on the back, dingy gray below with a darker chest and a gray collar on the neck.

Juveniles are like the female but are paler on the belly, and dark gray-brown on the back.

Length: 8"

Wingspan: 18"

Weight: 2 oz

Voice: The call is a collection of rich, liquid, gurgle notes, often given in flight.

Similar Species:

Other swallows are smaller and slimmer, and none have a dark belly.
European Starlings have a similar shape in flight, but are not as buoyant, and have a long bill.
Habitat: Breeds near human settlements where birdhouses are provided, especially near water and large open areas (see links below).  In winter, feeds in rainforest clearings and agricultural areas, and may roost in village plazas.

Diet: Flying insects

Nesting and reproduction: In eastern North America, Purple Martins have nested almost exclusively in nest boxes for more than 100 years. Historically they would have used natural cavities, especially old woodpecker holes, but now are found in multi-compartment birdhouses, hollowed-out gourds, and rarely cracks and crevices in buildings.  European Starlings and House Sparrows often compete with Purple Martins for nest sites.

Clutch Size: Usually 3 to 6 eggs, with a range from 1 to 8.

Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for 15 to18 days.

Fledging: Both adults feed the nestlings, which fledge in 28 to 29 days. After fledging, adults and juveniles gather in large communal roosts, sometimes with thousands of individuals.

Nest: Eastern Purple Martins primarily nest in "martin houses" and gourds hung from poles. Both adults build the nest of twigs, plant stems, mud, and grass. Nest Box Instructions here.

Status in Tennessee: The distribution of Purple Martins in Tennessee is dependent on the location of artificial nest sites. They are a fairly common summer resident in towns, suburbs, and farmsteads across the state.

Human management of colonies is often required because European Starlings and House Sparrows can out-compete martins for nest sites. Their population appears to be stable in Tennessee.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:45:26 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #116 on: September 07, 2021, 01:09:17 AM »

Purple Martin,, continued


Fun Facts:

Native Americans started the practice of providing nest structures for martins. The Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians hung hollowed calabash gourds from saplings near their homes to serve as martin houses.
Quote by John James Audubon (1831): "Almost every country tavern has a martin box on the upper part of its sign-board; and I have observed that the handsomer the box, the better does the inn generally prove to be."
The Purple Martin not only gets all its food in flight, it gets all its water that way too. It skims the surface of a pond and scoops up the water with its lower bill.
The oldest known Purple Martin in the wild was 13 years 9 months old.
In mid-August 2010 an enormous Purple Martin roost site was discovered on the slope of Interstate 24 on the east side of Nashville near Oldham Street. Tens of thousands of martins form towering tornadoes of swirling birds and then "rain" into a 200-yard section of bushes. 



https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/twra/images/birds/purple-martin-005.jpg

est places to see in Tennessee: Found in every county in the state.  Starting in late July large numbers of martins can be seen congregating on the east side of downtown Nashville before going to roost at sunset.

For more information:

Tennessee's Woodworking for Wildlife page with nest box instructions

Purple Martin Conservation Association

The Purple Martin Society of North America

Sources:
Brown, C. R. 1997. Purple Martin (Progne subis). The Birds of North America, No. 287 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:45:39 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #117 on: September 07, 2021, 09:57:18 AM »

Northern Rough-winged Swallow,
Stelgidopteryx serripennis



The Northern Rough-winged Swallow's name refers to the tiny serrations on the outermost wing feathers of this swallow, a feature visible only when the bird is in the hand.   The possible adaptive significance of these serrations remains a mystery.

The Northern Rough-winged Swallow is an aerial forager and feeds over water more than most swallows, sometimes plucking food from the water's surface. T his swallow generally does not gather in large flocks like other swallows.

It breeds from southern Canada across the United States, and winters in southern most Florida, and throughout Mexico and Central America.  The Northern Rough-winged Swallow arrives in Tennessee in late March or early April, and the first individuals depart soon after the young fledge in mid-summer, with most leaving by late September.

Description: Adults are uniformly plain brown above, with a white belly, and buffy throat and upper breast. They have square tails and white under-tail coverts. Juveniles are similar in appearance to adults but have reddish-brown wing-bars.

Length: 5.5"

Wingspan: 14"

Weight: 0.56 oz

Voice: The call is a rough, harsh brrrit.

Similar Species:

Bank Swallows are smaller and have a distinct dark brown breast-band separating a clean white throat and white lower breast. The tail and overall body shape is more slender.
Juvenile Tree Swallows have a brownish-gray back, a dull chest with a faint breast-band, and a whitish throat.
Habitat: Breeds in a wide variety of open habitats with potential nesting sites, including banks, gorges, and human-made sites.  They are often found near water.

Diet: Flying insects

Nesting and reproduction: Northern Rough-winged Swallows are cavity nesters and are found in small colonies of a few pairs, or as isolated pairs depending on nest site availability.  The male defends a small territory around the entrance of the nest site.

Clutch Size: From 4 to 8 eggs, with 5 to 7 eggs most common.

Incubation: Female incubates the eggs for 16 days.

Fledging: Both adults feed the young, which leave the nest in about 19 days

Nest: In Tennessee natural nest sites include abandoned Belted Kingfisher burrows, crevices in rock bluffs and cave mouths, and tunnels along streams and lakes formed by rotted tree roots.  Human-made sites include drain holes in bridges and retaining walls, and crevices in road cuts and quarries.

The female builds the loosely constructed nest of weed stems, grass and twigs, and lined with grass. The nest is placed 1.5 to 7 feet from the cavity entrance.

Status in Tennessee: The Northern Rough-winged Swallow is an uncommon summer resident across the state. Its distribution is likely limited by the availability of nest sites. Rangewide numbers appear to be stable.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:45:53 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
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Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #118 on: September 07, 2021, 10:01:15 AM »

Northern Rough-winged Swallow,continued




Fun Facts:

Scientists have been unable to determine the function of the rough wing edge of the Northern Rough-winged Swallow.
When John James Audubon discovered the Northern Rough-winged Swallow in 1819 in Louisiana, he originally thought it was a Bank Swallows. It was only later upon closer inspection that he realized he had actually collected a new species.








Best places to see in Tennessee: Across the state in areas with potential nesting sites from April through August.

Sources:
De Jong, M.J. 1996. Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis), The Birds of North America (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:46:07 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #119 on: September 10, 2021, 02:57:16 AM »

Barn Swallow
Hirundo rustica


The Barn Swallow's habit of nesting in barns makes this the most familiar swallow to Tennesseans.   Originally, the Barn Swallow nested primarily in caves, but now almost exclusively chooses man-made structures.

It is the most widely distributed and abundant swallow species in the world, breeding throughout the northern hemisphere and wintering in most of the southern hemisphere with the exception of Australia and Antarctica.  The Barn Swallow is present in Tennessee from late March through early October.

Description: This long elegant swallow is metallic blue-black above and cinnamon below.  The forehead and throat are chestnut colored, and the tail is deeply forked.

Adults and juveniles are similar in appearance, though females tend to be less vibrantly colored and have shorter outer tail-streamers, and juveniles have shorter and less forked tails, and paler underparts.

Length: 6.75"

Wingspan: 15"

Weight: 0.67 oz

Voice: The call is an excited musical twitter.

Similar Species:

The Barn Swallow is the only North American swallow with a long forked tail.
Cliff Swallows have a square tail, a pale collar around the nape of the neck, a pale rump, and white forehead. They might be confused with short-tailed juvenile Barn Swallows.
Habitat: Barn Swallows are found in many habitats with open areas for foraging and structures for nesting, including agricultural areas, cities, and along highways.  They need mud for nest building.

Diet: Flying insects.
Nesting and reproduction: Barn Swallows nest solitarily or in small colonies.  The size of the colony depends on the size of the structure and the number of entryways.

In Tennessee, egg laying begins in late April with a peak for first clutches from 10 to 15 May.  The same pair may mate together for several years, and the female may have two broods a year.

Clutch Size: 3 to 6 eggs with an average of 5 eggs.

Incubation: Females do most of the incubating, which lasts for about 17 days.

Fledging: Both adults care for the young. They fledge in about 21 days and the parents will continue to feed them for another week.

Nest: Nests are usually placed on a ledge, vertical wall, or in a corner under an overhang in a barn, old building, or bridge.  Both adults build the cup-shaped nest of mud pellets mixed with straw, and lined with grass and feathers.  It takes less than a week to construct the nest, and nests from previous years are often refurbished and used in subsequent years.

« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 02:46:22 PM by Phyl »
'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

'A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.'
Edwin Way Teale
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