Another reason for the avian silence now is that July and August are prime months for molting, when most songbirds replace all their old feathers with new ones. Molting requires a lot of energy, and temporarily limits a bird’s flying ability — which makes it more vulnerable to predators. Therefore, during this time, birds tend to lie low and not draw attention to themselves.
Many birds, though, won’t be heard again until next spring simply because they won’t be here. They’re the migratory species that fly to Latin America for the winter. A few migrants, such as orchard orioles, Louisiana water thrushes and prothonotary warblers, already are heading south.
Winter, however, won’t be entirely without birdsong. You may hear snatches of cheery song from mockingbirds, Carolina wrens, chickadees and a few other species during the cold season. Some of Georgia’s “winter only” residents, such as the white-throated sparrow, also may sing while they’re here.
IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The moon will be last quarter on Thursday. The best meteor shower of the year, the Perseid, will peak at about 50 meteors per hour this weekend but will continue into next week in the northeastern sky. Mercury is very low in the west at dusk. Rising in the east are Venus an hour before sunrise; Mars, just after midnight; Jupiter, a few hours after midnight; and Saturn, around sunset.
Charles Seabrook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.