Saddle up, folks, it’s roundup time! Join Oakridge Ranch Wildlife Management Association (ORWMA) in a hummingbird survey. Your participation will help us to determine more about range, distribution, favored sites and feeding habits of hummingbirds. The survey is also a way to share information about their natural history.
Brenda LaVergne, our Birding Chairperson, requests your participation in our Hummingbird Census September 1 – 15, 2014. Please see the list below and begin your daily count. This month’s focus will be hummingbirds.
Thank you, Larry Petter President-ORWMA
Hummingbird Species 9/1-15 (Please use tick marks in count column)
This beautiful bird posed for a photo while visiting my south feeder. The Oakridge Ranch habitat is very supportive of Rio Grand turkeys and we’ve had numerous sightings this year. Please share your recent photos of turkey or quail that you have seen within the ranch.
Here is a picture of some Mexican Whistling Ducks, also known as a Black Bellied Tree Ducks, that started frequenting one of my feeders close to Deer Trail recently. I had not seen these in the past. Best regards, Mark Baudoin
Over the last few hours and into later this evening, you may see all our wildlife here at Oakridge Ranch, including the birds in these pictures, preparing for the colder weather that’s coming. Thanks to the Mitchems for providing the above pictures. The birds have been extremely active today and are still even now as our precipitation begins here at the South end of the ranch. Stay warm and keep food out for your animals. Don’t forget to check on your pipes, pets, plants and your neighbors! And as always, live life outdoors!
Albinos occur in all species of life. Most are due to some mutated chromosome or gene that tells the body to produce melanin. Usually most albino animals, birds or humans also have different colored eyes. The lack of melanin may cause difficulty with focusing and depth perception. Above is a picture of an albino Northern Cardinal taken near Cedar Creek Reservoir, Texas. This bird has been coming to the feeder for around 3 months. Has anyone seen any albino birds here at Oakridge Ranch? Please let us know if you have and send in pictures to ORWMA at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
A wise man once said…….”Just pay close attention to the birds & animals to know what the weather is going to do and how we humans should prepare”, quoted from Jack Rachal.The Eastern Phoebe arrived in Oakridge near the first of November, possibly heralding an early winter season.
This pretty little songbird winters in our area spending it’s time ridding our woodlands and fields of pesky insects. This fly-catcher is an amazing bird to watch, although it is a shy bird. It’s song is nice to hear at this time of year when many of our songbirds have fled to warmer climates.
Eastern Phoebes often perch on lower branches, making short flights to capture insects and often returns to the same or nearby perch. They have a beautiful plumage at this time of year, showing a butter-soft yellow on the abdomen, with grays, whites & brown over most of their body. Watch & listen for them as they spread their fall/winter song of joy! And, as always, live life outdoors!
A member of the Verbena family, American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), also called “French Mulberry” by some, is a deciduous, perennial native shrub growing up to 6 feet wide and almost as tall. One of the most eye-catching plants at this time of year, it’s the purple berries that draw people’s attention rather than the palest of pink flowers in spring & early summer. The flowers are approximately ¼ inch wide, and the berries are not much bigger than that when formed in late summer. The berries hold their bright color for many weeks, even after the leaves are gone, usually until a good frost has occurred.
American Beautyberry is one of the favorite forage plants for whitetail deer in the Oak Prairie Region of Texas. Check out the link on the ORWMA “Groups” tab above, and click on Deer, then “Links for Managing Whitetails”, click on “Favorite Forage Plants of Whitetail Deer” to learn about other favorite plants for deer in this area.While the deer enjoy the leaves, several species of birds enjoy the berries in the fall & winter, such as Bobwhite Quail, Robins and even domestic chickens.
What beauty is added to our landscapes when most others have stopped blooming in late summer and fall while adding to beneficial food sources for both deer and birds! The berries on their long stems also make beautiful dried fall decorations in our homes (but please take care to keep them away from children). Click on the following link to find out more on this wonderful plant: http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CAAM2.
We have noticed both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles here at Oakridge Ranch for the last 2 years. The Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) is slightly smaller and darker than the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula). The males of both birds are brightly colored and all are somewhat skittish. Both enjoy nectar offered at Oriole feeders, Hummingbird feeders, grape jelly in Oriole feeders or sliced oranges & grapefruit hung in the Yaupon. Although some references show our area of Texas only as a migration area for the Baltimore Oriole, other books & researchers show that both these birds spend summers here in our part of Texas. Both enjoy a deciduous wooded habitat with large trees. We have also noticed they enjoy bird baths as well as water sprinklers here at Oakridge Ranch.
Please consider adding an Oriole feeder at your home. Let’s invite more of these gorgeous birds to the Ranch before they migrate south for the winter. Keep us posted on your birds via email at email@example.com.