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Author Topic: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE  (Read 9516 times)

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #45 on: August 10, 2021, 01:08:20 AM »

Killdeer, continued

Dynamic map of Killdeer eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:

The broken-wing distraction display performed by either parent is used to lure a predator away from nests or chicks. The adult drags its wings and tail acting like it is hurt and unable to fly. The adult moves gradually away from the nest, and once the predator is far enough away, it will fly off and return to a place near the nest.
In order to keep cows and horses from stepping on a nest, an adult Killdeer will fluff itself up, fanning its tail over its head, and rush at the animal.
Obsolete English Names: kill-dee (This name is still commonly used in Tennessee)

Best places to see in Tennessee: Killdeer can be found in a variety of open habitats across the state including pastures, recently plowed fields, lake and pond margins, gravel roads, parking lots, gravel rooftops, airports, and golf courses.




Sources:
Jackson, Bette J. and Jerome A. Jackson. 2000. Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), The Birds of North America, No. 517 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union.

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



'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: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #46 on: August 10, 2021, 06:40:10 PM »

Spotted Sandpiper,
Actitis macularius

The Spotted Sandpiper is the most widespread breeding sandpiper in North America, ranging coast to coast across the northern half of the continent.

It reaches the southern limit of that range in Tennessee, where just a few pairs breed in scattered locations across the state.

It is much more common in Tennessee during spring and fall migration when individuals can be found at the edge of just about any type of water body including lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.

Rather than traveling in large flocks like most shorebirds, the Spotted Sandpiper migrates singly or in small groups on its way between the breeding grounds and the wintering grounds that extend from the extreme southern U.S. to southern South America.

Description: Both the constant tail-bobbing and stiff shallow wing beats make this medium-sized sandpiper easy to identify.

In spring and summer, the white breast and belly have distinct black spots, the back is brown with faint black bars, and the bill is orange with a black tip.

During the non-breeding season, the back is duller and the underparts are plain white with some brown extending down the sides of the breast.

In all plumages, there is a thin white eye-stripe, a faint eye-ring, and a brown rump and tail.

The sexes are alike in plumage, but females are larger.

Length: 7.5"
Wingspan: 15"
Weight: 1.4 oz

Similar Species:

Solitary Sandpipers occasionally bob their tail, but they are slightly larger, have a prominent white eye-ring, but no white eye-stripe. The back is a more grayish brown and has white spots.
Habitat: Breeding territories are in a variety of habitats, but include semi-open upland with dense patches of vegetation and usually contain some shoreline.

During migration Spotted Sandpipers can be found on the shoreline of rivers, lakes, streams, or ponds.

Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.

Nesting and reproduction: Spotted Sandpipers are unusual among birds in that the female is the one that establishes and defends the territory.

She will court and breed with several males, and the males are responsible for incubating and raising the young.

One female may lay eggs for up to four different males in one season.

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

Incubation: The male incubates for about 3 weeks.

Fledging: The young leave the nest soon after hatching, and the male will tend them for another 3 weeks.

Nest: The nest is a shallow depression lined with dead grass and some woody stems, and usually built under shading vegetation on the ground near water.

Status in Tennessee: The Spotted Sandpiper is a fairly common migrant and a rare summer and winter resident in the state.

During migration, it can be found along the banks of streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds from mid-April through late May, and then again from late July through September.

Breeding and wintering birds can be found in scattered locations across the state.
'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 #47 on: August 10, 2021, 06:49:18 PM »

Spotted Sandpiper, continued

Dynamic map of Spotted Sandpipers eBird observations in Tennessee

https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/twra/wildlife/birds/waterbirds/spotted-sandpiper/jcr%3acontent/contentFullWidth/tn_panel/content/tn_columnctrl/column_parsys1/tn_image_389721861.img.gif/1583195848761.gif
Fun Facts:

One female can mate with up to 4 males in one season. She is also able to store sperm for up to one month, so the eggs she lays for one male may have been fathered by a different male from a previous mating.
The function of the bobbing motion typical of this species has not been determined. Chicks start bobbing soon after hatching.
Obsolete English Names: spotted tattler







Best places to see in Tennessee: During spring migration (mid-April to late May) and fall migration (late July through September) Spotted Sandpipers can be found on the shoreline of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams across the state.

Sources:

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of TN Press, Knoxville, TN.
Oring, L. W., E. M. Gray, and J. M. Reed. 1997. Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia). The Birds of North America, No. 289 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Robinson J. C. 1990. An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of TN Press, Knoxville, TN.
Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
'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 #48 on: August 12, 2021, 02:14:18 AM »

Ring-billed Gull,
Larus delawarensis

The Ring-billed Gull is a medium sized, white-headed, primarily inland nesting North American gull that frequents garbage dumps, parking lots, and southern coastal beaches in large numbers during the winter.  It is Tennessee's most common wintering gull arriving in late September and departing by early May.

This species was nearly decimated by human persecution and development from 1850 to 1920, but has since rebounded and the current population is in the millions of birds.  The breeding range extends from British Columbia eastward to Newfoundland, through the northern Great Plains and around the Great Lakes.

Ring-billed Gulls spend the winter on the coasts from British Columbia and Maine to Mexico, around the Great Lakes, and inland across the southern United States where open water and food are available.

Description: Like many gulls, it takes 3 years for a Ring-billed Gull to reach adult plumage.  In adults the head, tail, and underparts are white, the back and upper wings are light gray, and the wingtips are black with white spots.

The adult's legs and eyes are yellow, and the bill is yellow with a black ring near the tip.  During the first winter the back is gray, the head and underparts are speckled with brown, the wings are patterned with brown, white, gray, and black, and the tail has a black band.  Second-winter birds somewhat resemble adults but have a narrow black band on the tail.  Males and females look the same.

Length: 17.5"
Wingspan: 48"
Weight: 1.1 lbs.

Similar Species:

The Herring Gull is larger and the adult has a yellow bill with a red spot on the lower mandible, and has pinkish legs. A sub-adult Herring Gull may have a broad dark ring around bill, but will also have a broader black band on the tail.
Habitat: Large rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.  Also seen in parking lots outside shopping malls and fast food restaurants, and garbage dumps.

Diet: Fish, insects, earthworms, rodents, grain, garbage.

Nesting and reproduction: Ring-billed Gulls do not nest in Tennessee.  Gulls seen in summer are usually non-breeding immature individuals.

Status in Tennessee: The Ringed-bill Gull is a common migrant and winter resident across the state arriving in late September and departing by early May.
'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 #49 on: August 12, 2021, 02:18:44 AM »

Ring-billed Gull,continued



un Facts:

Although not typically thought of as a predator of small, fast-flying birds, a Ring-billed Gull was photographed chasing and catching a Cliff Swallow in flight in California in 2009!
How young birds know where to migrate is still a mystery. Researcher have found that 2 day old Ring-billed Gulls already shows a preference for magnetic bearings that would take them in the appropriate direction for their fall migration.
In the late 19th century, this bird was hunted for its plumage. Its population has since rebounded and it is probably the most common gull in North America.
Best places to see in Tennessee: Ringed-bill Gulls are widely distributed across the state on major rivers, and large bodies of water from late September to early May.






Sources:

Robinson J. C. 1990. An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of TN Press, Knoxville, TN.

Ryder, J. P. 1992. Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis). The Birds of North America, No. 33 (A. Poole, P. Stettenheim, and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
'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 #50 on: August 12, 2021, 02:21:32 AM »

Rock Pigeon,
Columba livia



The Rock Pigeon, formerly known as the Rock Dove, was introduced to North America in the early 17th-century by colonists on the Atlantic coast and is now a common sight in urban areas from southern Alaska across North America to the tip of South America.

Native to Europe, North Africa, and most of Asia this species was domesticated over 5,000 years ago for food and entertainment.

It is the most intensively studied bird in the world. While most Rock Pigeons nest on human-made structures, many can be found on natural cliffs in Tennessee.

Description: Because of their domestic roots, Rock Pigeons have a variety of plumages from pure white to gray to solid brown.

The most common plumage is similar to the ancestral wild Rock Pigeon, which is overall gray with a white rump, two black wing bars, a rounded tail with a dark tip, and iridescent purplish green on the neck and head.

The sexes are similar but males average larger and have more iridescence on the neck.

Length: 12.5"
Wingspan: 28"
Weight: 9 oz
Voice: A soft, series of gurgling coo-roo-coo.

Similar Species:

The Mourning Dove is slimmer and has a long, pointed tail with white outer tail feathers.
Eurasian Collared-Dove is pale sandy gray overall, with a square tail, and a narrow black half-collar on the back of the neck.
Habitat: Urban and suburban areas, parks, agricultural areas, fields, and farms with grain silos, industrial parks, rail yards, and occasionally rocky cliffs.

Diet: Seeds, fruits, rarely invertebrates.

Nesting and reproduction: Usually gregarious, pairs often nest close to each other. In Tennessee, the nesting season extends from at least January through September. Rock Pigeons will produce two or three broods in a season.

Clutch Size: Usually 2 eggs, occasionally one.

Incubation: Both parents incubate the eggs for 16 to 19 days.

Fledging: The young are fed "crop milk," a nutritious fluid produced by both parents. Seeds are added to the diet as the young mature. They leave the nest at 25 to 26 days old.

Nest: The nest is a flimsy stick platform built undercover on building ledges, in barns, under bridges and occasionally on natural rock ledges or quarries. Nest sites are often reused with a new nest being built on top of the old one. Pigeons do not remove the feces of their nestlings and the nest turns into a sturdy mound that gets larger month by month.

Status in Tennessee: Common permanent resident in urban and agricultural areas across the state. The Tennessee population is stable or possibly increasing. Most Rock Pigeons depend on humans for food and nest sites resulting in little competition with native birds. They are not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
'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 #51 on: August 12, 2021, 02:25:19 AM »

Rock Pigeon, continued

Dynamic map of Rock Pigeon eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:

The "crop milk," which both parents produce and feed to the young, contains more fat and protein than human or cow's milk.
Homing pigeons are domestic Rock Pigeons and their ability to find their way home from long distances is well known. They can even navigate their way home from a distant location blindfolded by sensing the earth's magnetic fields! Interesting, wild Rock Pigeons are non-migratory and rarely travel far from their breeding areas.
In both World War I and II, Rock Pigeons, also known as carrier pigeons, carried vital messages for the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
Charles Darwin kept pigeons and it was his observations on the creation of different pigeon breeds that helped lead him to some aspects of his theory of evolution.
Obsolete English Names: dove, rock dove, common pigeon, feral pigeon, homing pigeon, carrier pigeons

Best places to see in Tennessee: Rock Pigeons can be found statewide at urban and industrial centers, and agricultural areas.





Sources:

Johnston, Richard F. 1992. Rock Pigeon (Columba livia), 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. Tennessee Press, Knoxville.
Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.

'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 #52 on: August 15, 2021, 05:36:54 PM »

Eurasian Collared-Dove,
Streptopelia decaocto



he Eurasian Collared-Dove was inadvertently introduced into the Bahamas in the mid-1970s. It naturally spread to Florida and is now established throughout the southeastern United States. Its breeding range in North America continues to expand north and west.

The first nesting record in Tennessee occurred in May 1994 in Shelby County, and as of 2008 Eurasian Collared-Doves have been recorded in 80 of the 95 Tennessee counties. The success of the Eurasian Collared-Dove can be attributed to the wide availability of seed offered by backyard bird feeders, grain in agricultural areas, and tolerance of human activities.

Description: Larger than a Mourning Dove, the Eurasian Collared-Dove is pale sandy gray with a pinkish hue on the head and breast when observed in good light. There is a narrow black half-collar on the back of the neck (not always visible). The wings are mottled gray with dark primaries, and the tail is long and square. The under-tail pattern is black near the base with a broad white terminal edge. Both sexes look alike.

Length: 13"
Wingspan: 22"
Weight: 7 oz

Voice: The song is a three-notes coo-coo-coo, with the first note quickly followed by a second, longer note, then a short pause before the final short note. They also give a musical growl in flight.

Similar Species:

Mourning Doves have a long pointed tail with white outer tail feathers, and only a spot, rather than a collar, on the neck.
Habitat: Found in urban, suburban, and agricultural areas where grain is available.

Diet: Seeds and cereal grain, some insects.

Nesting and reproduction: The Eurasian Collared-Dove primarily nests from February through May, but may nest at any time of year.

Clutch Size: 2 eggs

Incubation: Both parents incubate the eggs for 14 to 16 days.

Fledging: The young are fed "crop milk," a nutritious fluid produced by both parents, and seeds as the young mature. The young leave the nest at about 18 days old.

Nest: The female usually builds the nest with the male gathering nest material. The nest is made of twigs, stems, roots, and grasses and usually placed in trees, often near human habitation.

Status in Tennessee: Eurasian Collared-Doves are currently uncommon statewide in metropolitan areas, small towns, and agricultural areas. They only recently arrived in the state and as of December 2008, had been observed in 80 of the 95 Tennessee counties. The 15 counties where the species has not been reported are: Campbell, Cheatham, Cocke, Hancock, Jackson, Johnson, Morgan, Scott, Sevier, Smith, Sullivan, Trousdale, Unicoi, Union, and Van Buren.

Eurasian Collared-Doves are usually found in small groups, but on occasion, in large concentrations where food is abundant. In 2007, 3,000 were observed from one location in Memphis, but numbers over a dozen are uncommon. The 2007-2008 the Tennessee Christmas Bird Count reported 526 individuals on 12 counts statewide. In August 2008, 169 were seen flying from a roost in Smyrna, Rutherford Co.
'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 #53 on: August 15, 2021, 05:39:50 PM »

Eurasian Collared-Dove, continued

Dynamic map of Eurasian Collared-Dove eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:

Introduced into the Bahamas in the mid-1970s, the Eurasian Collared-Dove is now established throughout the southeastern United States and has been seen across the continent. Its spread across North America is still an evolving story, and the extent of its final range and the impact it will have on other bird species remains to be seen.
Best places to see in Tennessee: Farms with grain silos, cemeteries, and residential areas, especially in West Tennessee.





Sources:

Knight, R. L. 2008. The Birds of Northeast Tennessee. Universal Printing,
Bristol, VA.

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

Robinson J. C. 1990. An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Tennessee. Univ.
of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
'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 #54 on: August 15, 2021, 05:41:38 PM »

Mourning Dove
Zenaida macroura



The Mourning Dove is an abundant and widespread terrestrial bird breeding from southern Canada, across the United States to Central America and the Caribbean.  It utilizes a variety of habitats across Tennessee.

It can be found in both rural and urban landscapes, nests readily around yards and farmsteads, and is a frequent visitor to bird feeders.  The distinctive mournful song gives this species its name, however, some people mistaken this call for an owl.

Description: The head of this medium-sized bird is small with a black comma-shaped spot below and behind the eye, the body is light brown, the tail is long and pointed and has white outer edges.  The wings have black spots and whistle in flight. The male and female are similar in appearance, but the male is slightly larger and slightly more colorful with a bluish crown and pink chest.

Length: 12"
Wingspan: 18"
Weight: 4.2 oz

Voice: The song is a melancholy cooing of 5 notes, the second higher pitched, followed by three repeated notes: ooAH cooo oo oo This mournful song is often mistaken for an owl. When alarmed the wings produce a whistle upon takeoff.

Similar Species:

Rock Pigeons are larger and chunkier, the wings are broader, and the tail is square.
Eurasian Collared-Doves are also slender, but are larger and heavier, the tail is long but square with white corners, and they have a black collar across the back of the neck.
Habitat: Breeds in variety of open habitats, including agricultural areas, open woods, deserts, forest edges, cities and suburbs.

Diet: Primarily seeds.

Nesting and reproduction: Peak nesting is from April to August, but Mourning Doves have been found nesting in Tennessee in every month of the year and they can produce multiple broods. As with other pigeons and doves, both parents feed newly hatched young on "crop milk," a unique secretion of the cells of the crop wall.

Clutch Size: 2 eggs.

Incubation: Incubation of the eggs is by both parents and lasts for 13 to 14 days.

Fledging: The young are fed "crop milk," a nutritious fluid produced by both parents. Young leave the nest in 12 to 15 days and are tended by the male for an additional week.

Nest: The female builds the nest with the male bringing her sticks. It is a flimsy platform of twigs, often sparse enough to see the eggs from below. The nest is placed in deciduous or coniferous trees, tangles of shrubs, or vines, occasionally on the deserted nest of another species, and sometimes on a rock ledge or other structure. Nests are frequently reused.

Status in Tennessee: The Mourning Dove is a familiar, abundant, resident across the state. Birds migrating here from more northerly latitudes augment the winter population. The Mourning Dove is the most popular game species in Tennessee. From 1981 to 1990, an average of 141,000 hunters harvested an average of almost 3 million doves per year in the state. The population in Tennessee is generally stable.
'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 #55 on: August 15, 2021, 05:45:07 PM »

Mourning Dove, continued

Dynamic map of Mourning Dove eBird observations in Tennessee

https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/twra/wildlife/birds/mourning-dove/jcr%3acontent/contentFullWidth/tn_panel/content/tn_columnctrl/column_parsys1/tn_image_1649573820.img.gif/1582128974026.gif

Fun Facts:

In Tennessee, Mourning Doves have been found nesting in every month of the year.
Mourning Doves, like most doves, lay no more than two eggs, but may have up to 5 or 6 clutches in a single year.
The Mourning Dove is a popular game species. Despite being hunted throughout most of its range, it remains among the 10 most abundant birds in the United States, with a population estimated at 350 million individuals.
Obsolete English Names: Carolina dove, common dove

Best places to see in Tennessee: Backyards, farms, forests, and grasslands statewide.






Sources:

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

Otis, David L., John H. Schulz, David Miller, R. E. Mirarchi and T. S. Baskett. 2008. Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), 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.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
'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 #56 on: August 15, 2021, 05:47:51 PM »

Yellow-billed Cuckoo,
Coccyzus americanus



While common in Tennessee during the breeding season, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo is not easily seen because of its habit of waiting motionless for long periods watching for an insect or caterpillar.

Its loud call is given throughout the day, and the term "rain crow" is sometimes used because of its tendency to call more on cloudy days.  However, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo's ability to predict rain has never been documented.

This bird breeds from the Great Plains eastward across the U.S., and in scattered locations west to California; it winters in South America.  Unique among Tennessee's breeding birds, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo's local distribution and the onset of breeding appear to be correlated with local food abundance.  Once nesting is initiated, the breeding cycle is extremely rapid and requires only 17 days from egg-laying to fledging of young!

Its call is familiar to many because it is loud and given throughout the day during the summer. "Raincrow" is a common alternate name for its tendency to call more on cloudy days, but its ability to predict rain has never been documented.

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo breeds across the eastern U.S. westward to the Great Plains, and in scattered locations west to California, and winters in South America.  This species has several characteristics that make it unique among Tennessee's breeding birds.

Their local distribution and the onset of breeding appear to be correlated with local food abundance. Once nesting is initiated, the breeding cycle is extremely rapid and requires only 17 days from egg-laying to fledging of young.

Description: This slender, medium-sized bird is dull brown above and whitish below. It has long wings with rusty primaries, a long tail with large white spots along edges visible in flight from above, and from below when perching.  The graduated tail shape makes the spots appear in three patches up the tail. The bill is black with a yellow lower mandible. The sexes are similar in plumage, but the female averages slightly larger.

Length: 12"
Wingspan: 18"
Weight: 2.3 oz

Voice: The song is a slow, deep, guttural series of monotonous low notes, ending with a hollow-sounding klop klop klop.

Similar Species:

Black-billed Cuckoo has an all-black bill, a red ring around the eye, much smaller white spots under the paler tail, and lacks the rusty patch in the wing. Easily distinguished by voice. The Black-billed Cuckoo is an uncommon migrant and is known to breed at only a few locations in eastern Tennessee.
Habitat: Open woodlands with clearings and dense scrubby vegetation, often along the water.

Diet: Caterpillars (especially hairy ones), large insects, some fruits and seeds.

Nesting and reproduction: Breeding often coincides with outbreaks of cicadas and tent caterpillars. Egg-to-fledge time is especially short.

Clutch Size: Usually 2 to 4 eggs, occasionally 1 to 8.

Incubation: Both adults incubate the eggs for 9 to 11 days.

Fledging: Both parents feed the young, which leave the nest in 7 to 10 days. They can fly in a couple of weeks.

Nest: The male and female build the flimsy shallow platform of twigs, lined sparingly with dried leaves or strips of bark. Placed on a branch of a small tree or large shrub.

Status in Tennessee: Fairly common migrant and summer resident of woodlands across the state, arriving in late April or May and departing by mid-October. Numbers are apparently influenced by insect abundance.
'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 #57 on: August 15, 2021, 05:52:30 PM »

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, continued

Dynamic map of Yellow-billed Cuckoo eBird observations in Tennessee
https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/twra/wildlife/birds/forest-birds/yellow-billed-cuckoo/jcr%3acontent/contentFullWidth/tn_panel/content/tn_columnctrl/column_parsys1/tn_image_1649573820.img.gif/1583271588652.gif

Fun Facts:

Both Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoo young develop incredibly fast. It takes a mere 17 days from egg-laying until the young fledge from the nest.
Worldwide, most species of cuckoos are "nest parasites," laying their eggs in the nests of other species. Yellow-billed Cuckoos only occasionally parasitize other species, but their eggs have been found in the nests of 11 different birds, most commonly Black-billed Cuckoo, American Robin, Gray Catbird, and Wood Thrush.
Obsolete English Names: rain crow

Best places to see in Tennessee: Always a difficult bird to see, but found in woodlands and woodland edges across the state.





Sources:

Hughes, J. M. 1999. Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus ). The Birds of North America, No. 418 (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.
'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 #58 on: August 16, 2021, 02:09:50 AM »

Eastern Screech-Owl
Megascops asio



The Eastern Screech-Owl is a small, nocturnal woodland owl with ear-tufts.  Its song is a distinctive trill and descending whinny that does not sound like the typical hooting of an owl.

his owl has two color-morphs, reddish-brown and gray.  In Tennessee the red morph outnumbers the gray by almost two to one. No other North American owl has such distinctive plumage differences.

The Eastern Screech-Owl is non-migratory and occurs east of the Rocky Mountains from the Canadian border to northeastern Mexico.  It is found in urban as well as rural areas and readily nests in nest boxes.  Like most owls, it is more often heard than seen.

Description: The Eastern Screech-Owl is a small owl, with feathered ear-tufts, and has both a reddish-brown and a gray color-morph.  The toes are feathered, the eyes are yellow, and the bill is greenish.  Male and female plumage is similar, the female is larger, but the male's voice is lower-pitched.

Length: 8.5" (height)
Wingspan: 20"
Weight: 6 oz

Voice: Eastern Screech-Owls give both a trill on one note, lasting up to 3 seconds, and a descending wavering whinny-like song. These songs are usually uttered separately.

Similar Species:

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is smaller, with a black bill, white streaking on light brown crown. This owl nests locally in east Tennessee, and (nocturnally) migrates across the state, although rarely detected.
Habitat: Found in most habitats with trees, including urban and suburban areas. Prefers deciduous to coniferous forest and riparian woodlands.

Diet: Insects, crayfish, earthworms, songbirds, rodents.

Nesting and reproduction: Egg laying peaks in late March and early April.

Clutch Size: Usually 3 to 4 eggs, range from 2 to 6.

Incubation: The female does most of the incubating, which lasts 26 days.

Fledging: Both adults feed the young. They leave the nest at about 31 days and are dependent on the parents for up to 3 more months.

Nest: Nests and roosts in cavities that are either natural, excavated by a woodpecker, or human-made nest boxes, including Wood Duck boxes. They add no nesting material to nest cavity. Next Box Instructions here.

Status in Tennessee: The Eastern Screech-Owl is the most numerous owl in the state. It is found at lower elevations and considered fairly common throughout
'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 #59 on: August 16, 2021, 02:16:06 AM »

Eastern Screech-Owl, continued
Fun Facts:

Eastern Screech-Owls are usually monogamous and pairs remain together for life. On occasion, males will mate with a second female, who may evict the first female, add her own eggs in the clutch, and incubate both sets of eggs.
The trill and descending whinny-like song of the Eastern Screech-Owl is sometimes used for ambience in television and movie night scenes. The whinny is used in territory defense and the songs are usually uttered separately.
Even though Eastern Screech-Owls are known to eat European Starlings, starlings regularly evict screech-owls from their cavities and nest there themselves.
Obsolete English Names: common screech-owl, mottled owl

Best places to see in Tennessee: Like most owls, they are rarely seen, but can be found in most second growth forest statewide.

For more information:

Tennessee's Woodworking for Wildlife page with nest box instructions



Dynamic map of Eastern Screech-Owl eBird observations in Tennessee





Sources:

Gehlbach, F. R. 1995. Eastern Screech-Owl (Otus asio). The Birds of North America, No. 165 (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.

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'Which is more beautiful — feline movement or feline stillness?' Elizabeth Hamilton

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