Birding Interest Group notice

The Purple Martin

The Purple Martin

Over 40 people at the Ranch are on the email list for the birding interest group. They are receiving periodic information on the birds that are being seen on the Ranch. In the last week or so several birds in the “flycatcher” group have arrived for the summer. The purple martin has been around for a while, are now deciding which house they will use and seem to be starting their nesting. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers can be seen almost every day along the fences on Robson Ranch Road between the Ranch and I-35. Just this week a Western kingbird was seen by the gas well on Michelle Drive. And under the bridge on I-35 the cliff swallows are building their enclosed jug-shaped nests. Around the west end of Southerland, a pair of Eastern phoebes have been seen and heard. All of these birds are catching insects on the fly, and they may include some mosquitoes.

Another “flycatcher” is here that may be causing some Ranchers grief. These are the barn swallows that persist in making their cup-shaped nests under the porches of the house entries. These birds are very helpful on insect control; however, they do make a big mess under their nests. No one measure seems to be effective in getting them to move over to your neighbor’s house. I had good luck by hanging two shiny Christmas ornaments near the ledge where they want to build their nest. I had no results with rubber snakes or old CDs. I’d love to hear from anyone who has had success in driving these birds away.

Down at the garden plots the killdeers have successfully hatched out four babies. These little birds were only about three inches tall when first seen running along with the noisy parents. It is amazing to see how quickly they grow to almost two-thirds the size of their parents in about a week. More little ones have been seen along Michelle Drive.

Anyone with interest in the birds on the Ranch can join our group by emailing to John Kirk, [email protected] The email list will not overflow your box; however, it may provide you with some interesting and timely information about our birds.