Friday, January 18, 2013

Pleasant Days (and Birds) Return

After a week of cold, wet and windy days, better weather returned to our area on Wednesday. It has still been cold but it has been dry and we have had blue skies. In other words, it has been the kind of weather that brings birds to feeders.

The Brown-headed Nuthatch that surprised us when it arrived last week has been turning up again - and I still get excited whenever it swoops in to grab a seed.

Its Red-breasted cousins are even more regular visitors to our feeders. We have at least two of these Nuthatches and I suspect we actually have more.

Pine Warblers haven't reappeared yet but Yellow-rumped Warblers come every afternoon. Orange-crowned Warblers (below) fly in to our suet feeders first thing every morning and keep visiting until dusk each day.

Our one Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a frequent visitor, too. He seems to have gotten used to our presence but usually waits until there are no other birds around before he comes to get some suet.

On most days we see one or two Chipping Sparrows, and the male Rufous Hummingbird that I featured in my Wednesday posting turns up sporadically throughout the day.

American Goldfinches are rarely absent from our seed feeders. Sometimes they come in flocks and sometimes in smaller groups of 2-4 birds.

The Goldfinches are sometimes accompanied by a Pine Siskin or two.

Our year-round residents have been comparatively infrequent visitors to our yards, perhaps because they are discouraged by the presence of so many migrants. Carolina Chickadees are an exception, though. 

So, too, are Carolina Wrens and, of course, House Sparrows.

Our Downy Woodpeckers are also an exception, The female tends to hunt for food in our mulberry tree while the male (identifiable by the red dot on the back of the head) prefers to spend large parts of each day munching on suet. 

One species that has been noticeably - and regrettably! - absent from our neighborhood so far this winter has been Cedar Waxwings. I'm hoping some appear soon. I'm also hoping that Waxwings will move onto the CyFair campus. This year I have seen only a handful there, whereas in other winters we have always had flocks of 300-600 of these beautiful birds.

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