Top Photo: Acadian flycatcher nest on Dinosaur Trail.
Acadian flycatchers are common enough in our area. Walk a mile or two along a local watercourse in spring and early summer and you’re likely to hear their emphatic PEE-chip call at several locations along the way. They prefer rather undisturbed forest habitat and typically choose riparian sites for nesting.
They nest here at the museum. From below, the nest looks a mess, too flimsy to hold the maker let alone a whole brood of acadians. It appears as if it’s been through a hurricane, or at least a severe thunderstorm. Yet, the nest shown here is occupied and in service. You can see the tail of one of the occupants sticking out over the nest’s rim (towards viewer). The nest’s apparent shabbiness is typical of acadian flycatcher nests.
There’s a nest very close to the Alamosaurus on the Dino Trail.
I look forward to the acadian flycatchers’ arrival each spring. Both here and along the Eno River, which runs through Durham on its way to Falls Lake. The first PEE-chip in spring is a clear indicator that spring has arrived.
It’s the end of July, and though the birds are still here, the calls of the flycatcher have faded in the summer heat, becoming weaker and farther apart. I haven’t heard one call in the past week or more.
The birds are becoming less obvious in the trees along the trail. They can sit very still among the leaves while hunting for prey which consists of both aerial and other insects and invertebrates. Without their signature call notes they can be tough to locate. By September they’ll be even more difficult to find. By October, they’ll be gone.