Fall migration is a special time at my house. We always keep every feeder stocked to help them along. And the trees are shedding their leaves so that it's easier to see who's come around.
Ever since 2004 (the 17-year cicada invasion) though the birding has been especially satisfying. Every year another kind finds out that our neighborhood is a good place to find a meal (seed or beetles) and a safe bush or tree to roost in. My secret goal is to slowly make my parents yard more forest than grass...
Reminding them how many birds and butterflies keep coming around is helpful.
Only two of the birds I've seen have names because I'm quite certain these particular individuals have flown through our yard every year for the past five years or so, unless they led nest mates and offspring through too.
They are Cooper Peddy and Little Guy, a cooper hawk and a white-breasted nuthatch respectively. There has been another nuthatch coming around with the first for two years so I think Little Guy (or girl of course
)has found a mate.
Most of the woodies come around Fall too and hang around the same swamp maples and poplars as Little Guy.
We've had Downies, red-heads, flickers, and a Pilated. I was especially happy to get my first view of the pilated. I thought it was a crow until I saw the red head.
I ran out the back door to spot him hopping around the poplars for a second before he/she flew off. That woody's been back at least once and I think it has a mate and is nesting because my cat caught a flying squirrel once. I'd never seen one around before but they're supposed to like Pilated's holes so there must be more of both around.
You start seeing the chickadees, blue jays, titmice, and juncos most frequently during migration. The blue jays, chickadees, cardinals and juncos (and crows) make up the brunt of my nieghborhood's winter population.
I've been loving the springs since the cicadas came around though and this spring migration was especially satisfying.
About five years ago I found a cedar waxwing with a broken foot sitting on the track at school. I had never seen them around this area before--so sad to see my first one in such a predicament.
I took it to the vets so they could send it to the wildlife rescue center. I can only hope they were able to do something for it besides put it down. Anyway I haven't seen the like of him since then... until late this March.
I was driving up into the lot behind school when I noticed a flock of birds eating at a berry bush on the corner. Were they sparrows? No, too big. Were they doves... too small. Then while I was slowing I finally spotted the waxy yellow color on the tail and was able to take a good look at the crest and profile of one that flew up into the bush.
It was a whole flock of waxwings, 40-50 of them. Next year I will make sure to get berries from that bush before the birds get all of them because that's what they did. I went back the next morning and the berries were gone and the birds had flown elsewhere.
Also, this year I might have my first bluebird sighting in the backyard.
He was the bluest bird I'd ever seen besides a jay and I didn't see a crest or the typical darker markings. Oddly this first sighting also comes after a poor baby got checked into a rehab center.
Think that fell out of the nest. I'm checking up on the little one next week.
Why did the cicadas make birding better?
I was very small when I saw my first goldfinches. I rounded a corner on my bike and before I knew what I was looking at there was just a splash of gold moving in front of my eyes.
Five birds--I didn't see their like again until late in 2004's summer. They've come back every spring now that Dad's been keeping thistle in the feeders to keep them around.
The first new birds I saw come in during the invasion though were the mockingbirds.
I was so happy when I got a good look at the white spots on the wings and started to hear them calling every day.
The past two years we've had a pair of wrens trying to nest around the house. The first attempt was in a... high traffic part of the porch and it was very funny. One of them would be perched overhead of the nearest intruder squaking a warning and the other would be doing the same on the nest.
They would come as near as three feet away to try and tell you off. I'm watching the feeder hoping they come back and pick a better spot away in some bushes. They're certainly more welcome than we apparently are.
Recent Ellicott City Bird List:
Wrens (Carolina pair?)
Eastern Bluebird (?)
Lesser Goldfinch (possible but difficult to differentiate)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird and other brownish hummers
Other Maryland Birds sighted:
Juvenile Bald Eagle (Susquehanna River trip)
North Carolina Bird Sightings:
Two kinds of terns- one nesting pair that looked strongly like Arctic terns, maybe lessers? Also several individuals with strong eye cresting and marks
Bald Eagle nest (no birds)
Ibis (Bald? White?)
UK- Jackdaw, Ravens, first Black-headed gull sighting
Sulphur crested cockatoos
A crested dove of sorts
Chickadee of some sort...