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Photos from readers show summer is coming

June 7, 2008
Dick Miga
As I continue to receive article ideas, photographs and requests for information from many of you, it becomes a positive challenge to group them into a common topic. During the past week, I have obtained some excellent photos of some warblers, juvenile Flying Squirrels, and a Brown Thrasher.

Starting with the warblers, the team of David Neveu and Andy Morrison has again contributed pictures for use in this column. The pictures were taken by Andy and submitted to Dave, who in turn e-mailed them to me. The warbler pictures are of a Common Yellowthroat Warbler and a Yellow Warbler that Andy photographed in Ohio, while the Thrasher was sent by Tom Boris from Dunkirk, along with several other pictures that I plan to use in the future, due to space limitation in the paper. Frank and Sherri Giambra from Forestville sent the young Flying Squirrels pictures.

Starting with the warblers, the Common Yellowthroat is a migratory bird observed here in our county, usually arriving during the last week of April and normally departing by the fourth week of October. It is one of our smaller nesting birds and begins breeding around the last week of May in low, wet thickets, producing four to five eggs. This bird has been recorded as a breeder from Alaska to Florida, and due to this extensive breeding range, has produced a number of sub-races across this expanse.

They can be found in a variety of habitats, which include streams, ponds, marshes, and along roads, and is probably one of our most common little warblers during the summer. It is one of the only members of the warbler family that tries to stay out of sight, but usually gives its presence known by its familiar witchity-wichity-wichity call.

Chapman, in his early publications, reports three subspecies of this bird that have since been joined into the one we know today. The “Yellow Canary,” when it was reported to him, was one of the most common warblers in our country. First appearing around the fourth week of April, it begins nesting around the end of May, building a nest of fibers in a brushy wet area anywhere from two to 60 feet above the ground. This bird is very common in open woods, streamsides, orchards and willow habitats.

The young Flying Squirrels are members of one of the two Flying Squirrel families found in our area. There are two types of these squirrels found locally — the Northern and the Southern. Not having had the opportunity to personally examine them, I would assume from the photos that they are of the southern race. However, I always stand to be corrected, and I am willing to receive comments and suggestions from readers.

The final picture is the Brown Thrasher. The thrasher is one of the larger feeder visitors in our county. The bird is usually observed all year in our area, with sporadic absences at times for various reasons. The thrasher prefers thickets for nesting, which usually starts around early May. It usually uses small twigs in the construction of its nest, and both parents share in the incubation of the young. Chapman describes the life of this bird as one that shuns observation, but will look for an exposed perch to sing, repeating this behavior many times. Calling the bird an accomplished musician, he describes it as rivaling the Mockingbird in song.

If you have photographs, article ideas, topic suggestions, etc., please contact me at 38 Elm St., Fredonia, NY 14063 or e-mail me at Thank you.



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