My Backyard Winter Wonderland

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I’ve had lots of time to enjoy the birds in my own backyard lately.  It’s a backyard winter wonderland! All the winter migrants are here and the backyard is full of activity.  It’s great!  This weekend I had all these different kinds of birds:

  • American Goldfinch
  • Pine Siskin
  • Painted Bunting
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • American Robin
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Palm Warbler
  • House Finch
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Boat-tailed Grackle
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Sandhill Crane
  • White Ibis
  • Mourning Dove
  • Common Ground Dove

Did you notice that I said Pine Siskin?  That’s right, I’m pretty sure we had a couple of Pine Siskins mixed in with our flock of American Goldfinches.  They are colored a little bit like female House Finches, but smaller, and with pinkish beaks.  I noticed the difference in their calls and I ran to get the binoculars.  Now I just have to get a picture!

Our Painted Buntings are such fun visitors.  We have at least two males and three greenies this year.  I often see two males feeding together, so I suspect we actually have more lurking in the bushes.  They love my tall viburnum bushes that form a “green fence” around the backyard.  I see them and hear them as they flit between the branches.  Painted Buntings like to eat millet, so make sure you put out a tube feeder with millet if you are trying to attract them to your own backyard.  Also consider a cage like the one pictured below.  It lets the little birds in while keeping the bigger piggy birds out.

Bow Tie is our little Yellow-throated Warbler that visits every year.  Each year I have to re-acclimate my ear to his call, which sounds a little like a cardinal.  He comes and eats from my suet feeder every afternoon.  He also has this cute little habit of coming to poke at our front window with his beak.  The cats love it!

There are lots of birds visiting in our neighborhood, too.  We walked by our retention ponds and found our regular Mallards, plus Hooded Mergansers, Blue-Winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Wood Storks, Great Blue Herons, a Belted Kingfisher, our nesting Bald Eagles and Osprey, Loggerhead Shrikes, and a lone American Coot.  He was outnumbered by diving Double-Crested Cormorants!

Why can’t our winter guests stay all year round?  :)

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