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Tuesday, May 31, 2016
 
 
About the Photographer

 

Marty Jones has been interested in bird photography ever since his first visit in 2004 to see the magnificent flocks of Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.  Marty enjoys the challenges and rewards of taking a good bird photograph and meeting other people who share an interest in birding and bird photography.

Marty is a Regulatory Compliance Consultant for the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and lives near Terre Haute with his daughter Addison. Visit Marty L. Jone's Bird Photography Website. You'll see over 260 different Indiana bird species represented in the site including several rarities.

Bird of the Month Archives

Past Featured Birds of the Month

Yellow Warbler, April 2016

Tree Swallow, March 2016

Steller's Jay, February 2016

Brown Pelican, January 2016

Acorn Woodpecker, December 2015

Dusky Grouse, November 2015

American Crow, October 2015

Ruddy Turnstone, September 2015

Scarlet Tanager, August 2015

House Sparrow, July 16, 2015

Tufted Titmouse, July 15, 2015

White-Throated Sparrow, July 14, 2015

Red-Bellied Woodpecker, July 13, 2015

Red-Winged Blackbird, July 12, 2015

Pine Siskin, July 11, 2015

Mourning Dove, July 10, 2015

Hairy Woodpecker, July 8, 2015

Eastern Bluebird, July 7, 2015

Downy Woodpecker, July 6, 2015

Dark-Eyed Junco, July 5, 2015 

Chipping Sparrow, July 4, 2015

Purple Finch, July 3, 2015

House Finch, July 2, 2015

Black-Capped and Carolina Chickadees, June 29, 2015

Baltimore Oriole, June 26, 2015

American Goldfinch, June 24, 2015

American Tree Sparrow, June 22, 2015

Bird of the Month? Week? Day?

Peregrine Falcon, June 2015

Chestnut-Sided Warbler, May 2015

Kirtland's Warbler, April 2015

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, March 2015

Pied-Billed Grebe, February 2015

Snow Bunting, January 2015

Northern Cardinal, December 2014

Winter Wren, November 2014

Northern Saw-Whet Owl, October 2014

American Bittern, September 2014

Chimney Swift, August 2014

Summer Tanager, July 2014

Canada Warbler, June 2014

Magnolia Warbler, May 2014

American Woodcock, April 2014

American Robin, March 2014

Great-horned Owl, October 2012

Bald Eagle, September, 2012

American Kestrel, June, 2012

American Robin, February, 2012

American Crow, January, 2012

Calliope Hummingbird, December, 2011

White-tailed Hawk, November, 2011

Long-tailed Jaeger, October, 2011

Warbling VIreo, August, 2011

Black-billed Cuckoo, June, 2011

Summer Tanager, May, 2011

Fox Sparrow, April, 2011

American White Pelican, March, 2011

Hooded Merganser, February, 2011

Backyard Birds of Indiana

Common Feeder Birds

Feeding backyard birds is often a lot of fun, but have you ever wondered what kind of bird is at your feeder? We're here to help! Thanks to the photographic efforts of Marty Jones, this page will help you learn the most common birds that visit our Indiana feeders.

Thanks for visiting and THANK YOU for feeding our feathered friends!

 Northern Cardinal  White-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Cardinal 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
White-breasted Nuthatch
 Dark-eyed Junko  Brown-headed Cowbird Carolina Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco
Brown-headed Cowbird
Carolina Chickadee
 American Robin  Downie Woodpecker European Starling
American Robin
Downy Woodpecker
European Starling
Mourning Dove Song Sparrow
House Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Song Sparrow

Bird of the Month

Prairie Warbler

by Alex Forsythe


Despite its name, Prairie Warblers are not typically found in prairies or in back yards. As an early successional species, they prefer large brushy areas and young trees. They are not widespread in Indiana, and even the earliest records of sightings are few. Prairie Warblers were first recorded in the northern half of Indiana in 1892, with one recorded in Wabash on May 2, 1892 and two in Lebanon on April 29, 1892. In that year, the Prairie Warbler had only been reported in four locations across Indiana. (Amos Butler, Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, Volume 3, 1893).

This tail-wagging little bird has been featured on several postage stamps, including stamps in Grenada, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, and most recently in St. Kitts. In 1951 the National Wildlife Federation offered Peterson's illustration of a Prairie Warbler in the form of a collectible conservation stamp, and American Bird magazine offered slides of male, female and nestling Prairie Warblers for $0.50 in 1903. For the more gruesome, barbaric collector, you could buy a Prairie Warbler skin for the low price of just $0.15 in 1895. That was a bargain compared to the cost of a Bald Eagle at $6.00. (Natural Science News, Volume 1, October 5, 1985).

Thankfully we no longer shoot songbirds and sell the skins as collectibles. Nevertheless populations of many birds remain in decline largely due to human activity, loss of habitat, predation, and parasitism. The USGS North American BBS (Breeding Bird Survey) Population Trend Map for 1966-2013 shows an unmistakable decline in breeding Prairie Warblers in several states including Indiana. Between 1966 and 1993, the Midwest had an alarming 44% decline in breeding Prairie Warblers, and an overall 66% decline from 1966 to 2014. By the way, I confess I have a bit of an obsession with these BBS Trend Maps. I am in charge of the BBS for Adams County, and I assist with the BBS in Wabash and Huntington Counties, so I look at the Trend Maps often. Even if you are not helping with the BBS, I would encourage you to take a look at the Trend Maps for your favorite birds. You might be surprised. Incidentally, when the map indicates a percentage decline, that's not the total decline. It's a yearly decline. A "-1.5" indicates that the population dropped 1.5% each year from 1966 to 2013. Those declines add up!

Indiana University professor Val Nolan, Jr. studied the Prairie Warbler populations extensively and wrote a book in 1978 about his findings: "Ecology and Behavior of the Prairie Warbler". His findings were troubling. The nests he studied suffered 24% parasitism by cowbirds, only 69% of the warbler nestlings survived to adulthood, and the annual female mortality was 35%. Using those numbers, he calculated that the population would barely replace itself. The U.S. Forest Service has conducted a more recent study of the Prairie Warbler and found that the biggest cause of the decline is no longer the cowbird, but habitat loss. (Conservation Assessment for Prairie Warbler, U.S. Forest Service 2001).

Fortunately, several Prairie Warbler habitats are being preserved. I found the bird in this photo happily residing at the Indiana Dunes last spring. New Jersey has set up a 1200-acre preserve specifically for Prairie Warblers: the Michael Huber Prairie Warbler Preserve.

If you decide to go in search of a Prairie Warbler, and if you bird by ear, take note: Prairie Warblers have two distinct songs. One song is used for courtship while the second song is used to mark territory. An excellent video of a Prairie Warbler singing his heart out can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLKLCqN8WS0

Common Indiana Birds

50 Most Common Backyard Birds of Indiana

1.   Eastern Bluebird 
2.   Indigo Bunting
3.   Northern Cardinal 
4.   Carolina Chickadee
5.   Black-Capped Chickadee
6.   Brown-Headed Cowbird
7.   American Crow
8.   Mourning Dove
9.   House Finch
10. Purple Finch
11. Northern Flicker
12. American Goldfinch
13. Common Grackle
14. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
15. Cooper’S Hawk
16. Sharp-Shinned Hawk
17. Blue Jay
18. Dark-Eyed Junco
19. Northern Mockingbird
20. Red-Breasted Nuthatch
21. White-Breasted Nuthatch
22. Baltimore Oriole
23. Barred Owl
24. Eastern Screech Owl
25. Great Horned Owl
26. Eastern Phoebe
27. American Robin
28. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
29. Pine Siskin
30. American Tree Sparrow
31. Chipping Sparrow
32. Fox Sparrow
33. House Sparrow
34. Song Sparrow
35. White-Crowned Sparrow
36. White-Throated Sparrow
37. Eupopean Starling
38. Brown Thrasher
39. Tufted Titmouse
40. Eastern Towhee
41. Cedar Waxwing
42. Downey Woodpecker
43. Hairy Woodpecker
44. Pileated Woodpecker
45. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
46. Red-Headed Woodpecker
47. Carolina Wren
48. House Wren
49. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
50. Summer Tanager