‘Tis the season to be birding

Posted 12/13/22

If you go outside on a cold winter morning, you might not hear too much in the way of bird life.

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‘Tis the season to be birding


If you go outside on a cold winter morning, you might not hear too much in the way of bird life. 

But if you listen quietly for a minute, you might hear various species of woodpeckers tapping on trees, trying to find insects hidden under the bark or in the wood. You might hear the gentle wingbeats of chickadees or nuthatches as they move through the woodlands from bush to bush in their quest for food.  

There are also crows and ravens that are good at making noise—calling to each other or discouraging a stray hawk from perching in their territory. 

There are a fair number of birds around in the winter, but they don’t call as much when it is not breeding time.

A lot of spring and summer birds are down south for the winter, but there are some birds that come from the north to winter in our region, escaping the brutal Arctic weather now present in their spring and summer breeding habitat. 

A noteworthy winter visitor is the golden eagle. Golden eagles only appear here during the winter months when they migrate down from Canada, and there are only a small fraction of them compared to the many bald eagles present. At times, they can be spotted at bald eagle viewing sites. 

Another, smaller example of visitors is the snow bunting. These birds have a lot of white plumage in the summer, during their breeding season in their Arctic habitat, but in the winter, they are in non-breeding plumage—pale breasts with brown markings and dark, patterned wings.

Bird feeders are popular during winter, as food is scarcer. More birds will be attracted, and there are no bears to get the food first! 

If you want to get outdoors, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count is just kicking off. If you want to find out more, go on the Audubon site and follow the instructions here.: www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count.

winter species, woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, birds


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