Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Monday, August 27, 2007


About five o’clock this afternoon a beautiful small thunderstorm passed through, leaving much-needed rain. It started to fall in big fat drops that soon became a steady downpour, and I stood and watched it for a long time, soaking up the sound and smell of the rain and the cooling feel of damp air. It rained for about 45 minutes, I think, not nearly enough to make up for the long hot, dry spell that has lasted most of August, but enough to provide some relief and a good soaking for our parched trees and landscape. And it looks likely that more rain will come in the next few days, so maybe the heat wave has finally broken.

August is almost always hot in Georgia, but this year, beginning August 5 and continuing for almost three weeks, we’ve had one of the worst heat waves I can remember. Every day temperatures reached near 100 or above, with only one brief, fierce thunderstorm on August 9, which blew down a lot of branches, leaves and pine needles, and the top half of a large dead pine that fell right in the middle of the rough clearing that passes for our back yard.

I've tried to keep out fresh water in the bird baths during this time. The creeks aren't far away, and there are plenty of trees and shrubs for cover. But I've still wondered what effect this extended hot, dry period has had on our birds, especially the songbirds, and whether some might have more trouble than others surviving the unusual heat. They're always quiet at this time of year, so it's hard to tell.


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