It’s Like an Oven(bird) Outside!

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator

A male Ovenbird keeps cool in the shade of the forest canopy at Middle Run. Image by Derek Stoner.

As the first day of summer arrived last week, the weather seemed to respond to the calendar: bring on the heat!  Wilting plants, parched soil, and flagging enthusiasm for outdoor activites are all symptoms of this heat wave. 

While we may not like the hot weather, wildlife copes with warmer temperatures just fine.  With thermometers pegged in the mid-90’s last week, I watched birds gathering food for their babies, groundhogs feasting on lawn grass, and deer grazing soybeans at mid-day.  These fellow warm-blooded animals kept right on with their daily feeding routine, but I will bet they all needed a bit more hydration to keep their metabolism running smoothly.

Perhaps we can nominate the Ovenbird as the official bird of summer: a woodland warbler with a hot name that plays it cool in the forest.  You’ll never see one of these guys out on a sunny lawn or open area.  They have got it made in the shade!

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