Birds of the Week # 5
Their breeding habitat of the Black-bellied Plovers is Arctic islands and coastal areas across the northern coasts of Alaska, Canada, and Russia. They nest on the ground in a dry open tundra with good visibility; the nest is a shallow gravel scrape. Four eggs (sometimes only three) are laid in early June, with an incubation period of 26–27 days; the chicks fledge when 35–45 days old.
The breeding habitat of the Sanderling is coastal tundra north of 5 °C (41 °F) July isotherm. The species typically chooses nesting sites on dry stony areas near wet areas, from 60 m (200 ft) above sea level to 800 m (2,600 ft). During the winter and its migration, it is most commonly found on coastal sandy beaches, but also occurs on tidal sand flats, mud flats and the shores of lakes and rivers. More infrequently, it may occur on rocky shores.
Purple Martins’ breeding range is throughout temperate North America. Their breeding habitat is open areas across eastern North America, and also some locations on the west coast from British Columbia to Mexico. Martins make their nests in cavities, either natural or artificial. In many places, humans put up real or artificial hollow gourds, or houses for martins, especially in the east, where purple martins are almost entirely dependent on such structures. As a result, this subspecies typically breeds in colonies located in proximity to people, even within cities and towns. This makes their distribution patchy, as they are usually absent from areas where no nest sites are provided. Western birds often make use of natural cavities such as old woodpecker holes in trees or saguaro cacti.
The Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is a common species of wren that is a resident in the eastern half of the United States of America, the extreme south of Ontario, Canada, and the extreme northeast of Mexico. Severe winters restrict the northern limits of their range while favorable weather conditions lead to a northward extension of their breeding range. Their preferred habitat is in dense cover in forest, farm edges and suburban areas. This wren is the state bird of South Carolina.
Though it is primarily a full-time resident of northern and subalpine conifer forests, the Red-breasted Nuthatch regularly migrates irruptively, with both the number migrating and the wintering locations varying from year to year. They sometimes reach northern Mexico, where they are rare winter visitors to Nuevo León, Baja California Norte and south along the Pacific slope as far as Sinaloa. In the eastern United States, its range is expanding southwards. Though formerly resident on Isla Guadalupe, an island off the western coast of Mexico, it appears to have been extirpated there, with the last known record of the species on the island dating from 1971. There is a single vagrant record for Mexico’s Isla Socorro. It is an extremely rare vagrant to Europe, with two records in the western Palearctic; one bird successfully overwintered in eastern England.
© HJ Ruiz – Avian101