July brings about the backside of most bird species nesting season. However, the bluebirds in my neighborhood are searching for their second nesting site to raise another brood. Hopefully they’ll choose one of my nest boxes. Eastern Bluebird numbers have been on the re-bound for several years and appear to have made a reasonable comeback thanks to many land/homeowners that have provided nesting boxes. This double brooding is not uncommon with some early nesters. However, the barn swallows beneath my porch seem to be content with just one brood this year.
A species who has yet to find a nesting site are the American Goldfinches. These bright yellow bodied and black winged gems are the latest nesters in our area. They generally begin searching for nesting sites and materials in mid-late July.
If you’re looking for a short roadtrip in hopes of seeing local wildlife I would recommend a visit to Horicon Marsh near Horicon, Wisconsin. There are numerous roads, trails, boardwalks and other waterous vantage points surrounding this large national wildlife refuge. Some fantastic species that are easily spotted within the refuge are: Great and Cattle Egrets, White Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, Sandhill Cranes, Black-crowned and Green Herons, Black and Foresters Terns, Double-crested Cormorants, Common Moorhens, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, American Bitterns, Marsh and Sedge Wrens, as well as numerous wood warblers. All in all it makes for a fun and exciting day.
Because this special area is a national wildlife refuge check with the refuge’s headquarters (920-387-7860) before you decide to slip that canoe or kayak into the water. It’s a vital nesting site for all of the species mentioned and they have rangers who’s job it is to see that they’re protected from disturbances.
For a closer trip from Madison here’s a recent report from the Brooklyn Wildlife Area: Yellow-Breasted Chats are still present and singing. Other birds of note seen or heard that day were a Dickcissel, a White-Eyed Vireo and a Bell’s Vireo. Rutabaga offers many different field guides.
Illinois Raptor Center