During August along the Towpath Trail, we are blessed with our summertime resident birds such as Indigo Buntings, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Goldfinch, Gray Catbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Song Sparrows and more. Those of you with keen ears will start noticing the distinctive "movement" calls of our many Yellow Warblers, mostly young birds that are already thinking about migration.
It's August and the Dog Days of Summer are Upon Us
By Chuck Slusarczyk, Jr.
It's August and the dog days of summer are upon us. No one needs to remind you about the heat and humidity, the two or three showers a day or the need to stay hydrated...we are all living it and our local wildlife and plants are also enduring the same conditions. "It's summertime, and the living is easy..." memorable words by the immortal Ella Fitzgerald but in reality, summer can be harsh especially in periods of drought. We are lucky in Tremont by having the Cuyahoga River so close at hand where birds can always go to get a drink and a bath, but rain always makes this easier.
The term "Dog Days" comes from the star Sirius (Canis Major), the "Dog Star" which is the brightest star in the summer skies of the Northern Hemisphere and coincides with the hottest days of the year. If you are so inclined, you can see this star by following Orion's belt down and to the left just above the horizon.
During August along the Towpath Trail, we are blessed with our summertime resident birds such as Indigo Buntings, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Goldfinch, Gray Catbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Song Sparrows and more. Those of you with keen ears will start noticing the distinctive "movement" calls of our many Yellow Warblers, mostly young birds that are already thinking about migration. The majority of our resident birds have pretty much finished up with their second broods by now and only some will be thinking about a third, and now is the time to regenerate and finish up with molting into new feathers and preparing for autumn.
Overall, birds tend to lay low during these hot days and this is why many birders look towards other creatures during these times. Summer is the time for insects! Many birders have learned how to trade their birding skills into insect identification skills, especially when it comes to butterflies, moths or dragonflies and there are many online and Facebook resources to help with this endeavour. The trail below West 7th Street is particularly good for butterflies, especially where Mary Avenue intersects with the trail. The hillside there is full of Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susans and Monarda, all good plants for butterflies and even some moths. Keep your eyes open for Great Spangled Fritillaries, Monarchs, Viceroys, Clouded and Orange Sulphurs, Eastern tailed-Blues, Summer Azures, Cabbage Whites, Black Swallowtails and Pearl Crescents to name just a few of the butterflies possible. When it comes to moths, the ones you want to look for are the so-called "hummingbird moths". These moths look for all the world like a tiny hummingbird as they fly from flower to flower to sip on nectar. The Snowberry Clearwing is one and the aptly named Hummingbird Moth is another and they can sometimes be found together.
Dragonflies such as Wandering Gliders and more can often be found a long ways from water and often patrol the edges of the trail, so keep your eyes open for them as well!
So, while our birds may be a little hard to find during August there is always something beautiful for us to keep our eyes open for, but don't worry...autumn migration arrives long before the season is officially declared!
Happy Trails to you! :-)
Make A Donation to Western Cuyahoga Audubon. Your gifts guarantee chapter activities, programs and research continues to reach members and connect birding conservationists around the world. Use our safe and secure PayPal payment button below to make a donation of any amount you choose. All donations are gratefully received.
The Feathered Flyer blog publishes human interest stories about birding and habitat conservation.
After watching, ‘My Painted Trillium Quest' by Tom Fishburn, Kim Langley, WCAS Member said, “Wonderful! It was a lift just knowing that such a site exists and is being protected!”
WCAS is a proud member of The Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) and promotes chapter development by sharing the best practices, brainstorming solutions to common problems, and building relationships in workshops and retreats. Subscribe
Bird Walk Reports
Christmas Bird Count-Lakewood Circle
Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society
4310 Bush Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44109
Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible. The tax ID number is: 34-1522665. If you prefer to mail your donation, please send your check to: Nancy Howell, Western Cuyahoga Audubon Treasurer, 19340 Fowles Rd, Middleburg Hts, OH 44130. © 2020 Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society. All rights reserved.