Friday, January 22, 2016

Other Winter Birds in Our Yards

In my previous post, I looked at the warblers and kinglets that are currently visiting our yards in Cypress, Texas. In this post I want to show you some of the other winter residents that we get.

Our area gets a large number of different sparrow species each winter. Unfortunately, though, there is only one sparrow species that normally turns up in our yards and that is the Chipping Sparrow. 


Chipping Sparrows are very small, with a proportionally longish tail. In winter plumage they have a brown crown below which is a gray supercilium. In breeding plumage the crown becomes rufous and the supercilium turns white.

Another small bird that we're seeing at our feeders is the American Goldfinch. It seems that every time I look out of our windows, there is at least one American Goldfinch in sight.

Most of our Goldfinches look rather drab because they are in their winter plumage. However, at least one bird is already starting to molt into its breeding plumage.

Significantly larger than either Chipping Sparrows or American Goldfinches are Tufted Titmice.

These lovely birds are year-round residents in our area of Texas but they only ever turn up in our yards during the winter.  Their normal modus operandi is to swoop onto our feeders, grab a seed and fly off into the trees with it.

Sometimes, though, they pose on our fence or visit our birdbath. 

Our final winter resident is a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. This medium-sized woodpecker never visits our feeders but it turns up now and then in the oak tree in our front yard or on one of our neighbors' trees.

The white stripe on the wing edge is very distinctive and makes the bird easy to spot from the side. However, when viewed from the back, the bird is superbly well camouflaged.


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