Many of the birds that arrived to Vermont in April and May have found a mate, built nests, laid eggs, and many of those eggs have already hatched. And a nest full of hungry, baby birds can keep attentive parents extremely busy. When not in nesting-mode, birds will immediately eat most of their food, or cache it somewhere for consumption later. Now, however, they are busy gathering food for their hungry offspring. In fact, this behavior of carrying food is a strong indicator that somewhere nearby, there is a nest full of fledglings. Some birds will fill their beaks with multiple insects before returning to the nest.
Seeing this behavior is a special gift for any summer birdwatcher. A bird with a mouth-full is a sure sign that the circle of life is completing itself once again. When you see a bird carrying food, try to observe it and watch where it goes. If it detects your presence, it may well wait for you to depart before returning to its nest… after all, no parent wants to lead a predator to its helpless young. But, if you are lucky, you just might get to witness that devoted parent caring for its brood.
So dust off those binoculars and head out to see who may be nesting in your backyard. There is still plenty of great birding to be done!
All photos were taken in the greater-Burlington area on June 17, 2012