Fall Migration Notes

Fall Migration is underway and while your birdfeeders will slow down as we approach October birdwatching will only get more interesting.  Have your binoculars with you and ready because warblers are pouring through middle Tennessee stopping to feed in the early mornings on insects and berries.  Mornings are the best time to see lots of different species of warblers.  And mornings after a storm tend to be even better.  Make time to visit one of the many great local birdwatching areas this fall to see some of them.  For information about great places to birdwatch click on the links below…

  • Tennessee Birding Trails is a great website for locating trails for specific types of birding.

  • Tennessee Birding Facebook group has an active community of birders who post often.

  • Tennessee Ornithological Society (TOS) Nashville Chapter is having their Radnor Lake Wed morning bird walks September 19th and continue each Wednesday through October 10th. Please meet in the west Parking lot outside the Visitor’s Center at 7:30am. Come rain or shine. With the exception of ongoing downpours or thunderstorms.

  • TN-BIRD email list is a free list that allows you to get updates of bird sighting from other birders in the area. to receive emails simply click on “find and join” at the top right of the tn-bird page, search for list name tn-bird, and follow the instructions on signing up your email.


One of the more interesting, easy, and fun things to see in the fall is the migration of Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks. In the evenings, particularly in areas where there is outdoor lighting, like high school football games and shopping malls, Common Nighthawks gather and feed on insects. Downtown areas tend to be very productive areas to see both.

The Common Nighthawk, a member of the Goatsuckers family, measures around 9 1/2 “in length. They are gray-brown with slim, long wings that have a distinctive white bar near the tips. They are most active at night but can be seen midday as well. They fly with long easy strokes but can quickly change direction and appear erratic as they catch flying insects. Male Nighthawks have a white throat and white band across a notched tail. Listen for the unusual “peent” call of the Nighthawk.

The Chimney Swift is a short swallowlike bird with long, slightly curved wings. Peterson’s field guide to Eastern Birds describes it as a “cigar with wings”. Always in motion, Swifts appear to continually fly never landing to rest and constantly “twitter”. They measure about 5 ½” in length and are uniformly grayish to brown. During migration Swifts have been known to roost together by the thousands in a single chimney. On more than a few occasions I have witnessed a “funnel” of swifts descending into the chimney of a downtown building while on my way to a Predators game. It is a fascinating sight.


And About Hummingbirds

We may see Ruby-throated hummingbirds well into October so keep your feeders out with fresh nectar as there may be several waves of hummingbirds still coming through TN on their return to Central and South America. The belief that feeders should be taken down to cause the birds to migrate is incorrect.  They will leave when they are ready whether there is a feeder present or not.  

Campania Cast Stone Special Order Sale

birdbaths, fountains, statuary, and planters make great gifts

Between now and saturday October 6th

 
We invite you to place a “special order” for Campania products and receive 20% off your order of $150 or more.

Feel free to look through Campania’s website for a full listing of products they offer. Or look through the catalog at our store. The address is www.campaniainternational.com 

The ordering and shipping process usually takes about 3 weeks from order to delivery. This is because Campania makes their cast-stone pieces to order.

Please call, email, or come by the shop with any questions you may have and for item pricing.
Phone: 615-356-7640
e-mail: thewoodthrushshop@gmail.com

All special order sales are final unless the product arrives damaged or defective.
We require a 50% down payment of your full purchase price.
Special delivery on large items from our store to your home is available for an additional fee.

Fall slow down at feeders

Many of you have already noticed a slow down at your feeders.  Sometimes it can be abrupt and dramatic.  You may even notice some species become practically non-existent.  Bird feeders in September and October are typically very quiet. This is surprising to some but actually normal and understandable.  With the conclusion of the breeding season birds are now in less need of a quick, easy food source... your feeders.  While raising their young during the months of March through July birds expend tremendous amounts of energy and will take great advantage of backyard feeders.  We sell more seed and suet during those months than we do in winter. 

Now young birds are independent and the lives of adult birds are at a much more leisurely pace.  On top of that nature is producing an abundance of food at this time.  Not only are insects still plentiful but every tree, shrub, weed, and wildflower has produced seeds, nuts, and fruit.  There is literally food for birds everywhere.  It is a great example of the fact that birds do not rely on our feeders but simply take advantage of them in times of more demand for food.  So, don’t worry that you are not seeing many birds around the feeders right now.  It is totally normal. About the time we get the first frost or two, you will begin to see a return of your favorite birds to feeders.  I don’t know about you but a good frost sounds good right about now. 

And you will begin to see our winter visitors, like Junco’s, White-throated sparrows, Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, Kinglets, and hopefully, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Keep this in mind while you are buying your seed next time.  It’s advisable to buy smaller quantities until birds begin visiting with more frequency in November.  Remember, the more seed you end up storing in a container over the next two months the more chance there is of having a bug hatch.   

And while birds take a break from your feeders take time to give your feeders a thorough cleaning.  Warm soapy water, a brush, and a little effort are well worth the effort to provide a clean, healthy feeding environment for the birds. 

 Disassemble your feeder if possible and soak it warm soapy water. Use brushes to clean caked on debris.

Disassemble your feeder if possible and soak it warm soapy water. Use brushes to clean caked on debris.

Store update: Item are still available on our 50% off table. Also all remaining mailbox covers, flags, and door mats are 50% off to make room for new fall and winter designs.

Happy Labor Day weekend!

We hope everyone has a fun and safe Labor Day weekend. If you need bird feeding supplies don’t forget to stop by on Friday or Saturday. The Wood Thrush Shop will be closed Monday September 3rd. We will re-open on the 4th at normal hours.

Things are starting to slow down a bit at seed feeders, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit some old blog posts that are still very relevant for this time of year with the upcoming fall migration.  Click on the linked title of each blog post to see the entire post.

Peak time for Hummingbirds: As many of you are aware the Hummingbird activity has geared up quite a bit since mid-August. Click here to read our blog post detailing all the reasons we see so many of these little birds this time of year.

Hummingbird Happy Hour: Don’t forget there is still time to purchase tickets to the Hummingbird Happy Hour at The Warner Park Nature Center on September 7th. Proceeds from ticket and art sales will support the Bird Information, Research and Data (B.I.R.D) programs. Click Here for more info.

Drippers, Misters and Moving Water: This time of year water can be scarce. Having a clean fresh birdbath is a great way to attract birds. Click here to check out this blog post all about adding moving water to your birdbath or backyard water source.

Bird Bio: Chimney Swifts & Common Nighthawks: Soon if not already we will start seeing signs of fall migration and what better blog post to revisit than the bird bio on Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks. Click here to read our bird bio

Differences in Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

The differences in male, female, and juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are subtle but if you know what to look for you can identify between the three fairly easily. Keep in mind that from the beginning to the middle of the hummingbird season (mid April to mid July) you won’t be seeing any juvenile birds. After the young leave the nest in July they will be considered an adult bird but with juvenile plumage.

Adult male hummingbirds of course have the ruby throat but it is not always apparently red. In certain lighting or at certain angles it can appear black. Adult and juvenile females have a white throat that is sometimes marked with faint grey or buffy streaking. Juvenile males may also have a white throat like a female, but more often it is streaked to a greater or lesser degree with black or green.

Tails are also a good way to tell birds apart. Adult males have a more forked tail with pointed outer feathers that are solid black. Females and juvenile males have a blunt rounded tail that is mostly black with white tips to the outer feathers.

Both sexes, adult and juvenile can vary slightly in size and weight depending on the time of season however it is not uncommon for birds to almost double their weight in August and September in preparation of the fall migration.

Adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Notice the difference in the male and female tails. The male is forked where the female is blunt with white tipped feathers.

Adult female Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Notice the light spotted throat compared to the male on the right.

This adult female is showing off her more blunt tail with white tipped feathers. The male is more forked and lacks the white.

In some lights the throat of the adult male can appear black.

Juvenile male with his ruby throat beginning to come in.


 Visit the Warner Park Nature Center Saturday August 25th for their Hummingbird Celebration.

Visit the Warner Park Nature Center Saturday August 25th for their Hummingbird Celebration.

  Click here  for more info on the Warner Parks Nature Center's Hummingbird Celebration.

Click here for more info on the Warner Parks Nature Center's Hummingbird Celebration.

Celebrate Hummingbirds at the Warner Park Nature Center August 25th from 9:30 am to 2 pm.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are migrating South. Celebrate our smallest bird with local nurseries and other groups dedicated to conserving hummingbirds. Nashville Natives, Kona Ice, The Wood Thrush Shop and the Bellevue Branch of the Nashville Public Library will also join us to celebrate. All ages are welcome, and no registration is required.