Monday, October 27, 2008

Migrating Birds Return

This week has been filled with migrating bird arrivals. I thought I heard the hermit thrush early in the morning on Thursday the 16th. Then, to my delight, I spotted my traveling friend two days later. The hermit thrush returned one day later this year than in 2007. I’m a bit concerned because much of the fruit that the thrush would usually be eating has either already ripened and gone or never developed this summer.

The first white-crowned sparrow of the winter season arrived on Wednesday, Oct. 22. It’s the latest they’ve arrived in five years. In 2004 they arrived September 22nd. Each year since they have arrived a week later. Unfortunately, the little traveler was startled by a morning dove acting unusually territorial and she hasn’t been back.

The two male Oregon juncos returned on Friday, Oct. 24. These two males have been winter residents in our yard for the past three years. A few females join them on occasion, but these two males are regulars. It would be fascinating to know if they spend the rest of the year together or just come south together for the off-breeding season. They are two-weeks later than last year, but nearly the same date as 2006 and earlier than 2005.

This morning, Monday, Oct. 27, the first yellow-rumped warbler rested on the bird bath and tried to grab a deer fly hovering above the water. The yellow-rumps usually arrive in October, but this is later than usual. I’ve been keeping an eye open for other warblers passing through, but haven’t seen any as yet in the yard.

There is one other bird that has yet to arrive, the ruby-crowned kinglet. This tiny bird with a big personality is one of my favorite winter visitors. I'll be keeping an eye out for him.

How do I know when all of my migrating visitors returned in previous years. I've developed a book for tracking the bird activity in my yard. The Backyard Bird Journal allows you to track the day-to-day bird happenings in your yard and to keep track on a monthly basis which species are present. More on that next week.

If you'd like to attract migrating wild birds to your yard - Bird Feeder Basics.

October has been unusually warm. As I sit on the patio and watch Teeny squirrel running circles on the tree trunk, I know that these warm days have given her the opportunity to survive. She is completely on her own, chasing through the treetops with the other fox squirrels. It is hard to get back to the work I should be doing when I can watch Teeny frolicking in the autumn sunlight. (See photos of Teeny)

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