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Author Topic: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE  (Read 7249 times)

Phyl

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Re: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #180 on: October 13, 2021, 02:15:58 AM »

Summer Tanager,
Piranga rubra



Also known in Tennessee as the "summer redbird," the Summer Tanager is one of the most striking birds that nests in the state. It is a bit difficult to see, however, because it prefers to forage high in the tree canopy. The song of the Summer Tanager can be confused with the song of the Scarlet Tanager, but their picky-tucky-tuck call is unique. Summer Tanagers breed across the southern United States to northern Mexico, and northward to southern Iowa and New Jersey; they spend the winter in Central and northern South America. They arrive in Tennessee in late April and migrate south by early October.

Description: The male and female look completely different. The male is entirely red and the female is a entirely dull yellow, but both have a stout pale bill. Males do not attain their fully red plumage until their second fall, so first-year breeding birds may be patterned yellow-orange and red. Males retain their red plumage throughout the year.
Length: 7.75"
Wingspan: 12"
Weight: 1 oz

Voice: The song is a series of robin-like musical phrases, some with a slightly buzzy quality. The call is a unique picky-tucky-tuck or pick it up pick it up.

Similar Species:

Male Northern Cardinals are overall red, but have a black face, conical red bill, and an obvious crest.
Scarlet Tanager males are overall scarlet-red, but have black wings; the female is overall greenish-yellow with darker wings and a thinner bill. These two tanagers can have overlapping territories in Tennessee.
The song of the Scarlet Tanager tends to be more hoarse, but similar to the Summer Tanager's song, however, their chik-burrr call, is distinctive.
Female orioles have white wing-bars and more pointed bills.
Habitat: Summer Tanagers breed in deciduous forests, and occasionally in pine-oak forests.

Diet: Summer Tanagers eat insects, especially bees and wasps, and some fruit outside of breeding season.

Nesting and reproduction: In Tennessee egg laying peaks in the second half of May.

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

Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days, and is frequently fed by the male.

Fledging: Both adults feed the young, which fledge in about 10 days. Fledglings remain in the parent's territory for another 3 weeks.

Nest: The female builds the shallow cup-nest of dried or fresh grasses, weed stems, and lines it with fine grasses and rootlets. The nest is usually placed in a fork on a horizontal branch far from the trunk. Nest heights in Tennessee range from 4 feet to 30 feet, with an average of 13 feet.
'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 #181 on: October 13, 2021, 02:18:20 AM »

Summer Tanager,, continued

Status in Tennessee: The Summer Tanager is a fairly common summer resident of low elevation forests across the state. It arrives in Tennessee in late April and departs by early October. The population appears to be stable.

Map of Summer Tanager eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:

The Summer Tanager is a bee and wasp specialist. They capture bees and wasps in flight, killing them by beating them against a branch, and removing the stinger before consuming the insect.
Where Summer and Scarlet tanagers occur together, the Summer Tanager prefers to breed in shorter and more open woodlands.
Based on genetic studies, in 2009 taxonomists took Piranga tanagers from their own family (Thraupidae) and placed them in Cardinalidae with buntings, cardinals, and grosbeaks.
Older female Summer Tanagers may have some red feathers.
Obsolete English Names: summer redbird, Cooper's tanager
'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 #182 on: October 16, 2021, 06:33:30 AM »

Summer Tanager,, continued


Best places to see in Tennessee: Summer Tanagers are most easily seen in the spring, before the trees leaf out, in mature forests in Middle and West Tennessee.







Sources:

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

Robinson, W. Douglas. 1996. Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra), 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: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #183 on: October 16, 2021, 06:39:44 AM »

Scarlet Tanager,
Piranga olivacea



The male Scarlet Tanager is one of the most brilliantly colored birds nesting in Tennessee.  Nevertheless, he can be overlooked because of his unobtrusive behavior and preference for the forest canopy.

The song of the Scarlet Tanager is reminiscent of a hoarse American Robin and is similar to the song of the Summer Tanager, but the chik-burr call-note is distinctive.

This tanager is a long distance migrant, flying from its breeding grounds across the east-central United States to northwestern South America where it spends the winter. Scarlet Tanagers arrive in Tennessee by mid-April and usually departing by mid-October.

Description: Male and female Scarlet Tanagers look completely different. The breeding plumage of the male is a brilliant scarlet-red with black wings and a black tail. The female is overall greenish-yellow with darker wings. At the end of the breeding season, males undergo a complete molt and look like the female, but with black wings and tail.

Length: 7"
Wingspan: 11.5"
Weight: 0.98 oz

Voice: The song is a series of hoarse robin-like musical phrases. Sometimes described as sounding like a robin with a sore throat. The call is a unique chik-burr.

Similar Species:

Summer Tanager males are a duller red with red wings and tail; the female is overall dull yellow. Summer Tanagers have a stouter bill.
The song of the Summer Tanager tends to be less hoarse, but similar to the Scarlet Tanager's song, however, their picky-tucky-tuck call is distinctive.
Female orioles have white wing-bars.
Habitat: Scarlet Tanagers require large continuous mature forest blocks for successful breeding. They winter in montane evergreen forests.

Diet: Primarily insects, with some worms, snails, fruits, and berries.

Nesting and reproduction: Scarlet Tanagers are monogamous, and raise one brood in a season.

Clutch Size: Usually 4 eggs, with a range of 1 to 6 eggs.

Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for 13 to 14 days, and is frequently fed by the male.

Fledging: Both parents feed the nestlings insects and fruit, and the young fledge in about 15 days.

Nest: The female builds the shallow nest of twigs and weed stems, and lines it with fine grasses. The nest is placed on a horizontal branch, often far from the tree trunk, often among a cluster of leaves. Nest heights in Tennessee range from 7 feet to 40 feet, with an average of 23 feet.
'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 #184 on: October 16, 2021, 06:41:42 AM »

Scarlet Tanager, continued

Status in Tennessee: This summer resident can be found across the state in mature hardwood and mixed hardwood-pine forests. It is rare in the western and middle parts of the state, but fairly common in the east. Scarlet Tanagers can be found in the state from mid-April until mid-October, and their numbers have been increasing in Tennessee since the beginning of the Breeding Bird Survey in 1966.

Map of Scarlet Tanager eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:

Scarlet Tanagers join mixed-species flocks with flycatchers, antbirds, woodcreepers, and resident tropical tanagers when on the wintering grounds in South America.
Female Scarlet Tanagers also sing. Their song is softer and less harsh and sung in response to her mate or when she is gathering nest material.
Obsolete English Names: black-winged redbird

Best places to see in Tennessee: Scarlet Tanagers are most easily seen in the spring before the trees leaf out.
'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 #185 on: October 16, 2021, 06:43:21 AM »

Scarlet Tanager, continued







Sources:

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

Mowbray, Thomas B. 1999. Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea), 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: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #186 on: October 18, 2021, 07:41:35 PM »

Eastern Towhee
Pipilo erythrophthalmus



The familiar drink-your-tea song of the Eastern Towhee is one of the first birdsongs that a beginning birdwatcher learns. This rather secretive bird can often be located by the noise it makes while foraging in dead leaves. It will also sometimes announce itself by calling tow-ee from the thick shrubbery where it spends much of its time.  Fortunately, it will also forage on suburban lawns near shrubs and under birdfeeders.

The Eastern Towhee is a year round resident in Tennessee, and is joined in winter by more northerly breeding individuals. The breeding range extends across the eastern United States from southern Canada to southern Florida and the Gulf Coast. In winter, it occupies the southeastern portion of the breeding range and into south Texas.

Description: The male and female Eastern Towhee look different. The male has a black hood and upperparts and the female is rich brown where the male is black. Both are white below, rusty (rufous) sides, have a white patch on the wing, and a long tail with conspicuous white spots on the outer corners of the feathers. The eyes are red (white in Florida birds). Juvenile birds (May-August) are overall brown with heavy streaking.

Length: 8.5"
Wingspan: 10.5"
Weight: 1.4 oz

Voice: The song is a short, three-note drink-your-tea-ee-ee, ending in a higher pitched trill. The call is a sharp, loud che-wink or tow-whee.

Similar Species:

There is no other similarly pattern bird found in Tennessee.
Habitat: Eastern Towhees are found in a variety of shrubby habitats including old fields, forest edges, and residential areas. Males occasionally sing from high perches, but generally they stay low in brush.

Diet: Seeds, fruits, spiders, insects, and other invertebrates.

Nesting and reproduction: Towhees have a long breeding season in Tennessee, lasting from late March through August, and will usually produce two broods in a season. Eastern Towhees are monogamous, and males display for their mate by flashing the white spots on his wings and tail.

Clutch Size: 2 to 6 eggs, with 3 to 5 eggs most common.

Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 13 days.

Fledging: The nestlings are tended by both parents and leave the nest in 10 to 12 days. The female starts the second clutch 8 to 12 days after the young from the first nest have fledged.

Nest: The nest, built by the female, is usually concealed on the ground (early nests) or in low shrubs (later nests). It is built of twigs, leaves, and bark, and is lined with fine grasses and rootlets. More Tennessee nests have been reported in red cedar trees than any other tree or shrub species.
'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 #187 on: October 18, 2021, 07:43:21 PM »

Eastern Towhee,   continued

Status in Tennessee: The Eastern Towhee is a common permanent resident across the state. Migrants from more northerly populations join Tennessee's residents during the winter. The Tennessee towhee population is declining, as it is elsewhere in its range. The decline is thought to be a result of natural forest succession, "cleaner" farming techniques and urban development. Eastern Towhees are frequent hosts to Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Map of Eastern Towhee eBird observations in Tennessee

Fun Facts:

Eastern Towhee was known as the Rufous-sided Towhee until 1995 when genetic studies determined that is was a separate species from the Spotted Towhee of the western United States.
Eastern Towhees have increased locally in the Smoky Mountains at higher elevations with the recent death of mature fir trees from the balsam woolly adelgid infestation. This insect was introduced from Europe around 1900 and is considered a serious pest.
Painter-cartographer John White made the first written description of the Eastern Towhee in 1582 on a visit to the failed settlement on Roanoke Island, North Carolina.
Eastern Towhee's have red eyes across the majority of their range, but in Florida and extreme southern Georgia they have white eyes. In the region between south Alabama to southeast North Carolina eye-color is variable. This region of intergradation is an indication that these two populations have only recently come together. During the Pleistocene era, Florida was an island and now that sea levels are lower, these two populations are again contacted.
The oldest known Eastern Towhee in the wild was 9 years, 10 months old.
Obsolete English Names: towhee bunting, rufous-sided towhee

Best places to see in Tennessee: overgrown fields and forest edges statewide.
'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 #188 on: October 18, 2021, 07:44:55 PM »

Eastern Towhee,   continued





Sources:
Greenlaw, J. S. 1996. Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), 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: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #189 on: October 19, 2021, 03:38:30 AM »

Chipping Sparrow
Spizella passerina



Chipping Sparrows are easier to see than many sparrows because they are relatively tame and often feed on the ground. They are fairly common in Tennessee in the summer, and rarely spend the winter in the state.

Chipping Sparrows are among our earliest spring migrants, when their mechanical trill-song can be heard from trees or shrubs in wooded suburbs or along rural roadsides. The contact call is a sharp chip-note and may be the origin of their common name.

This sparrow breeds from very eastern Alaska through Canada, southward to the southern United States, Mexico and Central America; they are absent from the southern Great Plains and Florida. The winter range extends across the southern tier of the United States south to Central America. Chipping Sparrows are found throughout Tennessee from early March to mid-October, with a few birds spending the winter.

Description: The Chipping Sparrow is one of the smallest sparrows. It is easily identified during the breeding season by the reddish-brown cap, white line over the eye, black line through the eye, and pale gray unstreaked chest.

In the non-breeding season (August-March), the cap is brownish, the stripe over the eye is dusky, and the line through the eye is dark, but not obviously black, and the breast remains unstreaked. The juvenile (May-September) has a prominently streaked chest and head. Males and females look the same.

Length: 5.5"
Wingspan: 8.5"
Weight: 0.42 oz

Voice: The song is a low even-pitched mechanical trill lasting about four seconds. The call is a high, thin chip.

Similar Species:

American Tree Sparrows, an irregular winter visitor to Tennessee, are larger, and have a dark central chest-spot, a rusty crown and a rusty (not black) stripe through the eye. In winter, the Chipping Sparrow crown would be brown and the eye stripe dark in color.
Field Sparrows have a plain face, a thin white eye-ring, and a bright pink bill.
Dark-eyed Juncos have a very similar song, but their trill tends to be more musical.
Habitat: Found year round in wooded suburbs, cemeteries, golf courses, orchards, pastures with scattered trees, and rural roadsides.

Diet: Grass and other small seeds, small fruits, and insects.

Nesting and reproduction: Chipping Sparrows may form loose flocks when they return in March, and males begin defending individual territories in early April. They nest at middle to low elevations throughout most of the state, and peak egg laying is from late April to early May. Chipping Sparrows frequently raise two broods.

Clutch Size: Usually 3 to 5 eggs, with 4 eggs most common.

Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for 11 to 12 days.

Fledging: Both adults feed the nestlings, which fledge in about 9 days.

Nest: It takes the female 3 to 4 days to build the loosely woven cup-nest constructed from rootlets, and dried grasses, and lined with animal hair or fine plant fibers. It is placed in a dense shrub, vine tangle, or on a low horizontal branch. Nest heights in Tennessee range from 1.5 to 40 feet, with an average of 7 feet above the ground.
'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 #190 on: October 19, 2021, 03:40:21 AM »

Chipping Sparrow, continued


Status in Tennessee: The Chipping Sparrow is a fairly common summer, and a rare winter resident throughout Tennessee. It generally arrives in March or early April, and departs by late October. The population appears to be stable or slightly increasing.

Map of Chipping Sparrow eBird observations in Tennessee

Fun Facts:

Most species of birds molt all of their feathers after the nesting season, and some or all of their feathers again before the beginning of the next nesting season. Curiously, Chipping Sparrows may molt the feathers of their face and throat up to six times in one year. The rest of the body feathers are only replaced once or twice like other species.
The oldest known Chipping Sparrow in the wild was 11 years, 10 months old.
Best places to see in Tennessee: Yards, feeders, and open grassy areas with woody shrubs and/or forest edges statewide.
'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 #191 on: October 19, 2021, 03:42:44 AM »

Chipping Sparrow, continued









Sources:

Middleton, A. L. 1998. Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina), 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: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #192 on: October 20, 2021, 12:41:55 AM »

Field Sparrow,
Spizella pusilla



The Field Sparrow is distinctive among sparrows for having a bright pink bill. It breeds across the eastern United States and southern Canada, and can be found in Tennessee throughout the year. It inhabits brushy pastures and second growth scrub, and is considered a partial migrant, because some individuals remain on or near the breeding grounds in winter, while others move farther south. During the non-breeding season, this sparrows usually forages in small flocks and feeds primarily on grass seeds.

Description: This sparrow has a plain gray face with a rusty-brown streak behind the eye, a reddish cap, a thin white eye-ring, and a pink bill; the chest is pale gray and unstreaked, the back is rusty-brown, the wings have two thin white wing-bars, and the legs are pink. Juveniles (May-October) are duller in color, with narrow dusky streaking on chest, sides, and crown. As with most sparrows, the male and female look alike.

Length: 5.75"
Wingspan: 8"
Weight: 0.44 oz

Voice: The song is a series of plaintive whistles accelerating into a trill. The call is a rather weak chip.

Similar Species:

American Tree Sparrows, irregular winter visitors to Tennessee, have a dark upper bill, a distinct reddish eye-stripe, and a spot in the middle of its chest.
Chipping Sparrows have a dark line through the eye, and a white or dusky line over the eye.
Habitat: Found year round in brushy fields and forest edges.

Diet: Insects and small seeds.

Nesting and reproduction: In Tennessee, males start singing and defending territories in late March, and egg laying begins in mid-April. Nest success is low, with young fledging from only about a third of nests. Predation by snakes is a major cause of nest loss. Pairs re-nest rapidly after the loss of a nest and may raise as many as 3 broods in one season.

Clutch Size: Ranges from 2 to 5 eggs, with 3 to 5 most common.

Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for 11 to 12 days.

Fledging: Both parents feed the young, which leave the nest in 7 or 8 days, and remain with the adults for about 3 weeks.

Nest: The female builds the open cup-nest, which is constructed almost exclusively of grasses. Nests built early in the season, before the leafing out of many trees, tend to be close to the ground. Later nests are usually located higher up in shrubs or young trees. The first nest of the season is built in 4 to 5 days, later nests take only 2 to 3 days.
'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 #193 on: October 20, 2021, 12:45:48 AM »

Field Sparrow,, continued
Status in Tennessee: The Field Sparrow is a common permanent resident across the state; numbers increase during the winter when more northerly breeding birds join the resident population. Field Sparrows are declining in Tennessee, as well as rangewide. This may be due to changes in their breeding habitat as shrubby old fields grow to forest or are cleared for agriculture or suburban growth.

Map of Field Sparrow eBird observations in Tennessee




'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 #194 on: October 20, 2021, 12:49:23 AM »

Field Sparrow,, continued
Fun Facts:

Male Field Sparrows usually return to breed in the same territory each year. The female is less likely to return to the same territory, and young sparrows, unlike many birds, only rarely return the next year to the area where they were raised.
Field Sparrows often feed directly on fallen seeds. Sometimes they fly to the top of a grass stalk, letting their weight carry the stem to the ground, and begin removing the seeds.
The male Field Sparrow starts singing as soon as he obtains a territory in spring. He sing constantly until he attracts a mate, and then only sings infrequently.
Obsolete English Names: field chipping sparrow

Best places to see in Tennessee: old fields, scrubby open lands statewide.







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

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