I was in St. Louis to visit family this weekend, so I headed up to August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles County from about 6am-9am this morning to fish and listen to the early morning chorus.

Shortly after 6am an adult BALD EAGLE flew over Pool 5. While there I also saw or heard several GREAT BLUE and GREEN HERONS plus BLACK-BILLED and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS. DICKCISSELS, INDIGO BUNTINGS, EASTERN KINGBIRDS and at least two HENSLOW'S SPARROWS were singing from many points along the main auto loop. Lots of NORTHERN PARULAS, SONG SPARROWS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, etc. were also singing. 

A few KILLDEER and BLUE GROSBEAKS flew over the loop as I was driving, and one COMMON NIGHTHAWK was vocalizing (but remained invisible to the naked eye) above Pool 21.  I was also surprised to find an ORCHARD ORIOLE pair tending three chicks on the ground at Pool 21. The chicks barely had any feathers and clearly were not ready to have left the nest by their own choosing. My best guess is that they fell out of the tree that was above them and survived the fall (at least 15 feet). Both parents fed the chicks regularly, carried away the fecal sacs, and were clearly unhappy when I walked past the "nest," but I would be shocked if the chicks made it to adulthood. 

Good birding,
Columbia, Boone County

Ryan Douglas
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